Schools are cracking down on unhealthy snacks, but that doesn’t mean school vending machines are out of the picture.
As of July 1st, 2014, schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program are required to adhere to the USDA standard called “Smart Snacks In School (SSIS)”.
The SSIS program aims to improve the health of school children across the nation. Founded on evidence-based research and practicality, it encourages schools to sell healthy foods that are aligned with the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines suggest the consumption of more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy options—while limiting calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.
In short, healthier foods are in, junk food is out.
43 Percent of elementary schools, 74 percent of middle schools, and 98 percent of high schools offer vending machines to their students.
In the past, most school vending machines have been loaded up with sugary candy, salty snacks, and beverages that completely lack any nutritional value—adding fuel to the fire of the obesity epidemic that affects children (and adults) across the country. As a result of this, and the new legislation, many schools have decided to completely ban junk food everywhere, while others have decided to focus their attention on the contents of their vending machines.
Thanks to these regulations the vending machine industry has become more creative with their offerings, and more healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, smart snacks, and healthy beverage options are offered.
Instead of stocking school with apple pies, cheese crackers, and nacho chips, options like sunflower seeds, baked chips, and low-fat popcorn are now seen as far better ways to fulfill those midday munchies. Soda is also a big no-no in schools, as the sugar and calories are seen as prime targets in anti-obesity efforts. Smarter beverage options can include bottled water, seltzer and flavored water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, fat-free milk, or other low-calorie drinks.
Healthy snacking options are now available from almost every distributor and allow your vending machines to be a source of nutritious snack and beverage options, instead of an endless stream of empty calories. If you’re looking to change your vending machine business over from junk food to smart snacking there are tons of options out there; just take a look! And if you’re looking to start your own vending machine business give A&M Equipment Sales a call, we’re here to help!