Background: Vending machines can be a source of unhealthy food and beverages, potentially contributing to obesity and obesity-related diseases. However, vending machines are often a source of revenue for schools and hospitals. As such, interventions that improve the healthfulness of the snacks and beverages purchased may be a more acceptable solution than simply banning them from host institutions.
Methods: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the impact of a healthy vending policy to improve the quality of snacks and beverages purchased from vending machines. During the pilot, the usual snacks contained in the vending machines at a hospital and a university were adjusted so that 65% of products in the selected vending machines met the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) Model Beverage and Food Vending Machine Standards. Sales data was compared and interviews were conducted to evaluate the impact of the healthy vending policy.
Results: Overall, sales increased by an average of $70.71 at both sites after implementing a healthy vending policy. A total of 25 interviews were conducted with individuals making vending purchases. Forty-eight percent chose a vending item that met the NANA guidelines and 27% of those who did not select healthier snacks said they would consider choosing the product if there was a price discount. Primary reasons for purchase choice were taste, health and product familiarity.
Discussion: The results of this healthy vending policy pilot demonstrate that increased availability of healthy snacks led to increased sales. Incorporating healthy vending guidelines is a public health win; the foodservice contractors stand to maintain or increase sales while consumers have access to snack options to improve health.
"Healthy Vending Policy Increases Sales and Healthy Food Choices,"
Florida Public Health Review: Vol. 17, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/fphr/vol17/iss1/12