Frequently Asked Questions
How would healthy vending affect our profits from the machines?
How your profits will be affected by introducing healthy vending options is dependent on the level of outreach being done to your target audience (i.e. nutrition education, surveying, taste tests, and marketing) and how the healthy items have been priced and placed in comparison to the other items. The Financial Implications of Healthy Vending gives examples of organizations that have seen an increase in sales.
Our organization has limited capacity. How important is outreach and marketing?
People may not be as familiar with new healthy options compared to the traditional vending items. Taste tests are a fun and engaging way to encourage people to try the healthy products before having to buy them. In addition, outreach and marketing increases people’s awareness of their vending choices while drawing in new customers that are drawn to the healthy choices.
You should ask your vendor what role they can play in marketing. Many vendors provide labels that show which items are healthy and signage promoting healthy options to put on the machine. Other vendors go so far as to offer free vending coupons, on-site marketing campaigns, and sampling events.
What should I tell my co-workers who are upset that their favorite items will be removed?
You can gently let them know that they can still bring in their favorite snacks and beverages from home. Also, if you are only doing a certain percentage of healthy vending, share with your colleagues that the healthy options being introduced typically replace the unhealthy items that are not selling well.
What do I need to do to get healthy vending at our organization?
The first steps would be to talk to your decision-makers, your contracted vendor, and your target audience to make sure they are all on board and to gather information from them (i.e. what healthy products the vendor carries, what items your staff want in the machines, etc). You can use the
Healthy Vending Checklist, based off of the King County – Healthy Vending Implementation Tool-kit.
What challenges might I encounter?
There may be resistance from current vending users who want the vending machines to remain the same. Initial surveying can demonstrate majority support for healthy choices and taste tests can demonstrate that healthy items can be tasty.
You may get push back from your vendor on implementing healthy vending at a specific percentage. You should reassure the vendor that you want to work with them on marketing and outreach to make sure that healthy vending is a success and that there profits are maintained. It is important to build a relationship with your vendor from the very beginning.
Once healthy vending is implemented, those stocking the machine might not always put in the requested percentage of healthy vending correctly. Plan to monitor and enforce the healthy vending in the machines to ensure compliance. You would also want to get to know the individuals stocking the machine. If you continue to have issues with compliance, you may want to look for another more supportive vendor once your contract ends.
What are other ways that I can create a healthy food and beverage environment at our organization?
If possible, your organization can provide alternatives to vending machines, such as providing free water and refrigerators where people can store healthy prepared meals and snacks from home. Your organization can be a role model in promoting healthier beverages through our campaign, HYDRATE FOR HEALTH.