More than 5 million vending machines in the United States will soon begin offering substantially more healthy options for consumers starting on January 1st.
The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), which represents the $25 billion dollar vending machine industry, has just announced that they have adopted a public health commitment to substantially increase the percentage of “better for you” options across all of the nation’s vending machines.
One-third of all snacks in the vending machines will meet at least two recognized public health standards, under the commitment, to be implemented over the next three years.
NAMA—which represents nearly 1,000 member companies, including many of the world’s most recognized brands—is launching the initiative in collaboration with Partnership for a Healthier America and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation—two nonprofits dedicated to curbing obesity rates in the US.
“There are nearly four million vending machines serving snacks and beverages every day, 24/7, across this country,” said NAMA CEO Carla Balakgie. “Vending is everywhere consumers work, play, and live and NAMA regards this initiative as a bold, ambitious, and meaningful step to meet the growing consumer demand for healthier choices.”
Balakgie made the announcement this week in New York City at a special briefing where she was accompanied by leaders from the convenience services industry, as well as representatives from the two health organizations.
“Our fundamental goal is to make healthier choices accessible to all,” added Nancy E. Roman, CEO of the Partnership for a Healthier America. “We applaud NAMA and its members for their efforts with this commitment and we look forward to helping to make it a success.”
The commitment is the latest and most comprehensive effort by the industry directed at public health. Beginning in 2005 with the launch of FitPick, a “better for you” labelling program, the industry has worked collaboratively with industry members and national public health organizations to be part of the solution.
“In the months and years ahead, we will continue to work with our members to measure the results of this commitment to deliver a meaningful increase in the number of ‘better for you’ options in the marketplace. We’ll also continue to work collaboratively with public health partners, and to engage with food manufacturers to encourage them to support this important initiative through new products that meet the commitment,” said Greg Sidwell, NAMA Chair.
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