With the consumer media focusing more and more attention on the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, organic foods, and overall nutrition and health, vending operators have sought to accommodate these trends by offering an increasing selection of nutritional products in vending machines. In fact, several leading snack manufacturers have announced a commitment to healthier product options.
In recent years, popular diets have become more prevalent among vending machine customers. With the increase of vending machine locations, vending machines are a key source of meals for many consumers. Offering healthier vending options will drive sales from consumers who are nutrition conscious and requesting more meal replacement and energy bar options.
According to The Institute for Food Technology, the top five trends for the shift in attention to healthier vending products is as follows:
Eating better: Many consumers are making necessary changes in their diet to promote a healthier lifestyle and longer life.
Carb counting: Due to the increasing popularity of a number of diet trends, many consumers are seeking vending products that are low-carb, low-calorie, or high in protein.
Healthier children: Families, school officials, and legislators are looking for healthy vending options in schools to help fight against child obesity.
Eating for change: Consumers are seeking to make a change in their life through food; looking for vending products that will help reduce the risk of certain health-related problems.
"Must have" ingredients: Nearly half of Americans recognize that functional foods are beneficial to overall health and wellbeing.
Vending In Schools
Vending operators who have vending machines in school locations have found that children are the least nutrition conscious. With the widespread concern about child obesity, news reports about school districts and legislators pushing for the regulation of school vending machines are becoming more prevalent. Many states and school districts are proposing that there be a limit on the number of junk food and sugar products in school vending machines. Some states are banning the sales of sugar products and junk food altogether in school vending machines. Other states are simply focusing on soda vending machines and are objecting to the sales of soda in schools, though it has been argued that certain juice drinks contain the same amount of sugar as soda. Yet other states are shifting their focus away from regulating vending machines to implementing more physical fitness programs. Those against the regulation of vending machines in schools argue that it is an exercise of personal responsibility and taking the time to educate children on the nutritional value of various products offered in school vending machines. In fact, NAMA (National Automatic Merchandising Association) is launching a national education campaign to teach youth about how to maintain a healthy diet, make healthy decisions, and the importance of physical activity. To learn more about NAMA's campaign, please visit www.balancedforlife.net.
With the concentration on vending machine products in schools, it should be noted that there has been an increase in milk vending machines. In fact, there has been an overall increase in sales in milk in the entire vending industry. Many advances have been made to improve milk containers, refrigeration, and product selection. Schools that are pushing for healthy vending machine options are considering offering traditional dairy milk, soymilk, flavored milk, and rice milk in vending machines.
For more information on trends in milk vending machines, please click here.
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