October 23, 2014

Vending Machines in Schools Are Losing Money

Stacks of Coins

No Small Change

Another day and another set back for healthy snacks. A reporter in Kansas wrote a story on healthy snacks in vending machines are leading to a loss in revenue.  For a state that has required a ban of all sugary drinks and foods by the fall of 2011 this is an unfortunate side affect of choosing health over instant gratification.

But what are the upsides of healthy vending machines in schools? Better focus leading to better grades? Kids with more self-confidence because they are fit and not obese? An education on what is an actual healthy choice? To me it does not seem that the cons outweigh the pros.

If loss of revenue is a problem then lets make technology a solution.  How about another stream of income from these machines? Flat screens are now being installed on to vending machines that advertise for the companies that create healthy snacks and beverages. With advertising there is revenue for the schools that may offset or possibly exceed the losses of revenue by not offering sugary food and drinks.

Healthy Vending Machines with Flat Screen TV

Healthy Vending Machine with Flat Screen T.V. On Top

But hold on, you are probably thinking I do not want to bring advertising into the school. That is unethical. Yet we have been advertising for Coca-Cola, Pepsi and any other vending machine that have their logos plastered all over the front for over fifty years. So is it unethical to receive revenue from companies that creates food or beverages in an ethical healthy way? No.

I think we need to keep the goal of offering healthy food to schools kids in mind. Challenges will come up and only innovative thinking will get us through. We have seen that some states are pushing ahead, such as Kansas, with the idea that they will no longer offer unhealthy foods. So take advantage of the system and find a way to create revenue from healthy snacks and beverages.

Will Congress Ban Vending Machines in Schools?

Vending-Machines-In-Schools

Vending Machines In Schools

Yesterday President Barrack Obama announced that he was going to restrict the use of vending machines in schools. The president specifically spoke of the sugary high calorie low nutrition snacks and beverages.

Now for most of you out there this may look like a complete ban on vending machines in all schools. But wait! Why would we ban a source of income for the schools when funding is getting harder and harder to obtain. So, first we took away the snacks children use to fill their little bellies and source of income for after school programs. This is no solution. Instead of taking away, why don’t we give? Utilizing healthy vending machines in schools is just one step of giving.

Everyone knows that people eat on different schedules and have different nutritional needs. Vending machines allow children to access food when they are hungry, and having this access is essential to keeping children focused and on task.

For schools it means they do not need employees to serve the food and they can use the profits for afterschool programs. Studies show that children that participate in afterschool programs do better in school, learn how to make friends, and are generally happier. Schools have reported profits within a year of placing the healthy vending machines. With the extra funding these schools were able to provide uniforms, computers, and other activities.

Can we deny this from children? I may get violent if someone says no…

So where do we go from here. We see a problem and we see that there are solutions, but where to start.

First it starts with education (seems pretty easy being that the healthy vending machines would be in educational institutions). Educating minds and taste buds are vital for success. Once they learn the power of the eating well the machines will be emptied faster than the ones that were filled with junk.