Monday, January 16th, 2017

Wayne County gets on the vending machine bandwagon

The Wayne County Board of Supervisors adopted a new vending machine policy for all county buildings containing the food and drink dispensers. At last Tuesday’s Board meeting, the resolution to “Provide employees and visitors healthy food and beverage options within vending machines’ passed unanimously.

According to County Administrator James Marquette, discussions at committee meetings led to the Resolution based upon Wayne County Public Health Director Diane Devlin’s recommendations. The Resolution was presented to “increase the awareness of the benefits of healthy eating…to ensure that County employees and the general public who visit or have business to conduct in county buildings have healthy choices in the vending machines placed within those buildings.”

The purpose behind the Resolution was spelled out: Sugar sweetened beverages have been found to be one of the leading causes of childhood and adult obesity. 71.7% of adults in Wayne County are overweight or obese. Sugary beverages such as sports drinks, sodas, and sweetened teas provide extra calories throughout the day while providing little to no nutritional benefit. Providing changes to the drinks that are available in vending machines can reduce the intake of these unnecessary calories. The maximum recommended daily intake of sugar for adults is 40 grams (or approximately 10 teaspoons).

Vending machines are popular places in the working environment to get a quick snack or drink during the work day. A small mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack can actually be very beneficial for a proper diet. However, vending machines are all too often full of empty calorie foods and drinks that do more harm than good. Bags of chips, candy bars, non-diet sodas and sugary drinks are regular offenders in the vending machine world.

Limiting or even eliminating these options can help aid the reduction of obesity within the workplace environment. By adding healthy choices for both food and beverage, and reducing unhealthy options, you can easily promote healthy diets every single day. Studies show that, when given the option, a majority of people will make the healthier choice for food or drink from a vending machine.
What the new policy will feature in vending machines.

Beverage Specific Vending Machines

  • Beverage specific vending machines must offer options that contain 25 calories or less per 8 oz serving with exception to skim or 1% milk.
  • Only two options of sugar sweetened beverages (for example: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Gatorade) will be allowed in a beverage machine. These options must be placed in the bottom two selections of the machine.
  • Healthy options must be priced less than or equal to the sugar sweetened beverage options.

Food Specific Vending Machines

  • When placing a food specific vending machine within Wayne County Departments, 70% of the contents must be foods to encourage healthier nutrition choices.
  • Food options must be 100 calories or less per package.
  • Only the bottom row of the vending machine can consist of food options greater than 100 calories per package.
  • Healthy options must be priced less than or equal to options containing 100 calories or more.

The Resolution came as a shock to some County employees. Debbie Jane who handles the vending machines for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Benevolent Association, located within the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office was unaware of the coming change. “Sales will drop off. Nobody is going to want it. ” She added that the staff often needs the snacks to give them an energy pick up.
The Benevolent Association deals with Next Generation Vending and Food Service out of Rochester.