FMGC giant, Unilever has announced the winner of the first-ever Unilever “Agents of Change” Award. Launched in June this year, the “Agents of Change” Award aims to honour healthcare professionals who are driving initiatives which assist South Africans to eat better and lead healthier lives.

Dietitian and Director at Chow Nutritional Solutions, Stefan van der Merwe emerged as the overall winner for the work done with the “Choose Healthy Options Wisely” (CHOW) initiative. Designed to change the way people reward themselves with food when eating away from home, CHOW serves as a nutritional solution to help government and the private sector promote health in canteens and restaurants.

“I believe that now more than ever, it is vitally important that we innovate and come up with new and exciting ways to help people eat healthily,” says Van der Merwe. “This is why we developed CHOW, which makes healthy food choices more attractive and in turn changes consumer behaviour over time.”

The CHOW app helps users identify healthy restaurants within a certain radius. Then, using behaviour modification by rewarding people to “choose healthy options wisely”, through incentivising the better choice, the program promotes healthy habits and behaviours.

“Our initiative is growing rapidly with CHOW meal options now available in over 300 popular restaurant outlets nationwide including Spur and Jimmy’s Killer Fish & Prawn restaurants. Users can also earn CHOW bucks for making healthier choices, which they can trade in for discounts and vouchers,” explains van der Merwe.

“We are extremely proud of this year’s ‘Agents of Change’ winner and the overall quality of entries which we received. This innovative work will go a long way to help South Africans lead healthier lifestyles,” says Duduzile Mthuli, nutrition manager at Unilever South Africa.