Study: Healthy vending machine options can bring in more money

Health experts fight perception that healthy snacks will cost vendors in sales

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The American Heart Association is pushing for healthier vending machine options in all city-owned buildings in Jacksonville. 

The nonprofit said the hurdle it faces is the perception sales will decrease with more healthy options. 

To assess the impact, the American Heart Association teamed up with Brooks Rehabilitation and the University of North Florida to conduct a study on healthy vending options and revenue. 

The study was conducted at Brooks Rehabilitation and Nova Southeastern University. For two months, 65% of the products in the vending machines met the American Heart Association's "heart-healthy" standards. 

Some of those guidelines include less than 200 calories per serving and zero grams trans fat. The results found sales increased for vendors by roughly $1,000. 

"It really is a win-win," explained UNF's Dr. Lauri Wright, who conducted the study. "We have healthier snacks available for consumers, and then we have the vending machines making more money."

Wright said healthier options can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Following the study, Brooks Rehabilitation chose to add healthier options to its vending machines at several of its locations. 

"We are hoping more people will pick healthier choices and just get people excited about healthier food," said Sara Falk, wellness coordinator at Brooks Rehabilitation. 

Researchers hope the results of this study will encourage more vendors, government buildings, hospitals and universities to incorporate more healthy options in their vending machines.

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