Vending machine technology has evolved since their early days. No more inserting wrinkly dollar bills into bulky cubes, and hoping your selection would fall into the dispenser tray. Smart Vend ensures customers get their product or money back, guaranteed. Machines can accept credit and debit cards. Vending machines are equipped with energy-saving technology. And, the food and beverage choices consumers have to choose from have been upgraded, too. The answer is YES! Healthy vending machines exist.
Where There are People, There Must be Food
Shaking off its “junk food” label, vending machines have become a lot smarter. Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home. A large quantity of that consumption is from vending machines, which annually tops more than $7 billion in sales. America is becoming more health conscious, and people are demanding healthy vending machine snacks more often. By providing healthier food and beverages, vending machines become a source of nutrition, rather than a last-ditch effort to manage cravings.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized a rule that requires owners or operators of 20 or more vending machines to provide calorie declarations for food products available for purchase. The sales of healthier snacks outpace traditional snack foods by three times.
Healthy Vending Machines
Another huge change that's impacted the vending business is the emergence of micro markets. Micro markets are unattended, self-checkout kiosks made for offices and corporate environments. Customers can grab any food and beverage items they want and easily check out. The convenience and options? Huge! Micro markets, as well as traditional vending, can be stocked with “Better for You” snacks that Bernick’s can supply, and are classified as snacks that have less than:
- 200 calories
- 200mg sodium
- 10% of calories in saturated fat
- 35% of calories or weight in total sugars
Some vending machines can offer perishable meal-type items that differ from the standard packaged snack fare. Items like canned fruit, fresh vegetables, wraps, salads, and yogurt or string cheese. An article from BodyBuilding.com lists the seven healthiest vending machine snacks as:
- Nuts – contain healthy fats and fiber
- Granola bars – usually under 200 calories and made with whole grains
- Popcorn – filling, fibrous, and contain antioxidants
- Sunflower kernels – a crunch to satisfy that craving, and high in vitamin E
- Fig Newtons – made with real fruit and whole grains
- Pretzels – plain are low in fat, and don’t contain sugar
- Crackers – plain varieties are made with whole wheat and also have fiber
Bernick's Healthy Communities
Bernick’s has a proud tradition of supporting the communities in which we serve by supporting organizations that reflect our family’s core values while providing leadership in responding to emerging community needs. Healthy options for vending and micro markets are just a fraction of the causes we support to keep people their best versions of themselves. The Bernick Family Foundation supports two key areas – youth and education and health and fitness. Both areas center activities on educating, promoting, and sustaining healthy people in healthy communities.
We love the communities we serve. Naturally, we want to keep them healthy and strong. We’re always basing our decisions on how people will be impacted. Our innovation and commitment to healthy vending can impact you and the people you serve. We’d love to partner with you to support this ongoing mission, one vending machine at a time!