Last year we challenged you to improve vending options in your schools, workplace, or community. How did it go? Share your success stories or take a look at the resources below and commit to making 2014 the year for healthy vending machines in your town.
People Want Healthier Options
UPDATE: A Northwest University study, released August 2014, says that Chicago park-goers overwhelmingly liked healthier vending options and showed it with their wallets. See the Chicago Tribune article.
In a State of the Snack Food Industry report given at SNAXPO 2012, Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive, client strategy & insights, of SymphonyIRI Group said that “Nearly 90 percent of consumers are trying to eat healthier, and many view snacks as part of their overall dietary plan.”
The industry also recognizes that consumers want more whole-grains, antioxidants, and fewer calories and trans-fats. Yet an informal look at vending machines will show that the majority still contain mostly junk-food.
Vending Machine Resources
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has compiled an impressive number of resources on their Healthier Food Choices in Public Spaces page. This includes:
- Fact Sheet: Financial Implications of Healthy Vending
- Model Bill: Healthy Vending on Government Property
- King County Healthy Vending Guidelines
- Healthy Vending Promotional Posters
Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and Katherine Bishop, nutrition policy associate at the CSPI, co-wrote Tired of the Same Old Vending Machine Junk? for Community Commons which highlights their tools for transforming vending machines to help people reach their healthy eating goals. You can also read our original Healthy Vending Machines post form 2013 and we encourage you to visit ChangeLab Solutions, which features training and advice when it comes to drafting vending machine policy language and starting a healthy vending campaign.
Traffic Light Labeling
A study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital cafeteria showed that color-coded visual cues have proven effective for making healthy choices. Resources to apply this to your efforts include the Nutrition Environment Measurement Survey-Vending (NEMS-V) tool Criteria for Coding Foods that uses a stop-light model to rate foods and drinks based on their nutritional profiles. Many of the CSPI Healthy Vending posters use red and green coloring to stress stop or go choices. The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) offers Fit Pick stickers and clings that can be placed on vending machines to help consumers make good choices.
The business community is also embracing the healthy vending movement. In June 2013, Forbes magazine called healthy vending machines the future of snack food. The Marriott Hotel chain is looking to improve the traveler experience by developing Healthy on the Go vending options. MarketWatch recently announced that Fresh Healthy Vending is ramping up efforts to educate schools in preparation for the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards that takes effect in July.
Making the Case
Community Commons offers a variety of tools that can help you make the case for vending machine changes. A Community Health Needs Assessment report identifies assets and potential disparities in your county/region related to community health and well-being. This includes food access data, fruit/vegetable consumption, heart disease prevalence, and obesity numbers.
The Map Room allows you to visually explore thousands of data layers, like this one highlighting snack consumption in comparison with fruits and vegetables consumed.
What’s your first step to bringing healthy vending to your community? Share your ideas and experiences with us by using our story form tool.