The debate over whether schools should have vending machines has been lengthy and ongoing. Vending machines are a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to grab a bite to eat or something to drink to sustain students in between meals. With vending machines found in 43 percent of elementary schools, 74 percent of middle schools, and 98 percent of high schools across the U.S., it’s a safe bet to say vending in schools is here to stay.
What are the benefits of vending machines in schools?
Many schools benefit financially from having a vending machine on premises. According to Distrinct Administration, the way schools make money from vending machines is through commission sales and digital advertising. For example, vending machines with media displays can sell ad space to local companies. In turn, schools get a piece of the ad revenue. Other schools prohibit advertising and rely solely on machine commissions or contract with vending companies for donations toward expenses for school supplies, computer labs and arts programs.
Smart Snacks in Schools
In July 2014, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) set new standards for snacks and drinks sold during school hours. These new nutritional guidelines, known as Smart Snacks in Schools, required schools to find ways to adhere to the new standards while maintaining profitability.
To meet Smart Snacks nutrition standards, snack foods sold in schools are required to have:
• less than 200 calories
• less than 35% saturated fat
• 0 grams of trans fat
• nutritional value instead of “empty calories”
A study from the University of Illinois found that banning vending machines in schools to meet the new USDA standards doesn’t necessarily lead to healthier eating. In fact, research indicates that banning vending machines just encourages kids to find food elsewhere. The study, which involved 8,200 high school students from 27 states, found that 23 percent of students with vending machines at their schools drank at least on soda each day, compared to 28 percent of students without access to school vending machines. Jamie Chriqi, a senior research scientist and co-author of the study, reports that policy changes need to more comprehensive, rather than focus on just one aspect of the problem.
The Solution? Healthy Vending.
Switching to healthy vending machines stocked with snacks and drinks that meet USDA standards is a viable way of keeping vending machine revenue in schools while keeping kids satiated.
HealthyYOU Vending machines hold up to 21 different snack selections and eight drink selections. With more than 1,100 healthy snack and beverage options, schools and healthy vending operators are able to offer plenty of healthy vending machine snacks that appeal to students. HealthyYOU Vending machines are locally owned and operated, which means schools and students can give feedback on which products they like best.
Good nutrition at schools is more important than ever, leading to improved focus and sustained energy, both of which kids need to stay focused. With HealthyYOU Vending on site, kids also learn an important life lesson: healthy eating can be convenient, affordable, and taste good.
HealthyYOU Vending is committed to excellence when it comes to bettering nutrition in schools. Learn how to bring HealthyYOU Vending to your school at NO COST.