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Subsidizing The Salad Bar

This article is more than 7 years old.

I spent $8.10 on a skimpy "make your own" salad at my employer's cafe today.

If I had made the same salad in the Tufts Health Plan cafeteria it would have been at least 25% cheaper. Tufts "subsidizes" the fruit and salad bar prices for employees. Hello, are other employers listening?

Tufts isn't out to compete with other employers. It's trying to encourage employees to buy salad instead of pizza. In short, to eat healthy. (Warning: Bacon bits don't count as healthy.)

Tufts says the subsidies are working. The cafeteria sold 661 pounds of salad each week in May 2010. Last week, those Tufts employees ate 915 pounds of salad. But pizza consumption is not down. Hmmm...Are more Tufts employees eating out or are Tufts employees just eating more?

I've been thinking about these salad subsidies as I read about renewing the farm bill. Yes, Congress is talking about moving from subsidies to insurance against losses for corn, wheat and other crops that critics say contribute to obesity, but price supports for sugar are still in. And subsidizing salad? Nope - not there - not yet.

This program aired on June 20, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.

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