By RON NIXON Published: February 20, 2012, The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The government’s attempt to reduce childhood obesity is moving from the school cafeteria to the vending machines.
The Obama administration is working on setting nutritional standards for foods that children can buy outside the cafeteria. With students eating 19 percent to 50 percent of their daily food at school, the administration says it wants to ensure that what they eat contributes to good health and smaller waistlines. The proposed rules are expected within the next few weeks.
Efforts to restrict the food that schoolchildren eat outside the lunchroom have long been controversial.
Representatives of the food and beverage industries argue that many of their products contribute to good nutrition and should not be banned. Schools say that overly restrictive rules, which could include banning the candy sold for school fund-raisers, risk the loss of substantial revenue that helps pay for sports, music and arts programs. A study by the National Academy of Sciences estimates that about $2.3 billion worth of snack foods and beverages are sold annually in schools nationwide.
Nutritionists say that school vending machines stocked with potato chips, cookies and sugary soft drinks contribute to childhood obesity, which has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about one in every five children are obese.
No details of the proposed guidelines have been released, but health advocates and snack food and soft drink industry representatives predict that the rules will be similar to those for the government’s school lunch program, which reduced amounts of sugar, salt and fat.
Those rules set off a fight between parents and health advocates on one side, who praised the standards, and the food industry, which argued that some of the proposals went too far. Members of Congress stepped in to block the administration from limiting the amount of potatoes children could be served and to allow schools to continue to count tomato paste on a pizza as a serving of vegetables.
Nancy Huehnergarth, executive director of the New York State Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Alliance in Millwood, N.Y., said she expected a similar fight over the vending machine rules.
“I think the food and beverage industry is going to fight tooth and nail over these rules,” Ms. Huehnergarth said.
But representatives of the food and beverage industry say they generally support selling healthier snacks and drinks in schools.
“But we are a little concerned that they might make the rules too stringent,” said James A. McCarthy, president of the Snack Food Association, a trade group in Washington.
Mr. McCarthy said the industry supported nutritional snacks and was working with the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, headed by the former president, in an initiative called the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to establish voluntary guidelines for healthier foods in schools.
The foods include baked rather than fried potato chips, dry-roasted nuts and low-sodium pretzels, Mr. McCarthy said.
Christopher Gindlesperger, director of communications for the American Beverage Association, whose members include Coca-Cola and Pepsi, said his industry had also worked with schools to reduce or eliminate sugary drinks and replace them with healthier alternatives.
“Our members have voluntarily reduced the calories in drinks shipped to schools by 88 percent and stopped offering full-calorie soft drinks in school vending machines,” Mr. Gindlesperger said.
But a study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine released this month shows that despite industry efforts and those of others, snacking behavior among children remains largely unchanged. One reason is that healthier snacks were being offered alongside less nutritious offerings.
Between 2006 and 2010, the study found, about half of the schools had vending machines, stores and cafeterias that offered unhealthy foods.
The availability of high-fat foods in schools followed regional patterns. In the South, where rates of childhood obesity are the highest, less nutritious food was more prevalent. In the West, where childhood obesity rates are lower, high-fat food was not as common, the study found.
Health advocates say the study points to the need for national standards.
Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, gave the food industry credit for trying to reduce sugary drinks and fatty snacks, but said the voluntary guidelines did not go far enough.
“What we have is a fragmented system where some schools do a good job of limiting access to junk food and others don’t,” she said. “We need a national standard that ensures that all schools meet some minimum guidelines.”
Still, some school districts question whether students would buy healthy foods offered in vending machines and school stores. Frequently vending machines with healthy alternative snacks are ignored, and children bring snacks from home or buy them at local stores off-campus during lunch periods. Roger Kipp, food service director for the Norwood school district in Ohio, said children could be persuaded to eat healthy foods and schools could still make a profit.
Two years ago, Mr. Kipp eliminated vending machines and school stores in his district and replaced them with an area in the lunchroom where they could buy wraps, fruit or yogurt. Children ate better, and the schools made some money.
“It took a while, but it caught on,” Mr. Kipp said. “You have to give the kids time. You can’t replace 16 years of bad eating habits overnight.”
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Michelle Obama busted out a few new moves Thursday to mark the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity with a few new friends, 14,000 or so, it turns out.
The first lady rocked out with thousands of sixth- to ninth-graders at a Des Moines arena on the first stop of a three-day trip to highlight her “Let’s Move” campaign. It was a giant pep rally for eating right and exercising, complete with confetti, balloons and a towering birthday cake made of fruit.
The first lady and crowd revved up by doing the Interlude, a dance that started in a dorm room at the University of Northern Iowa and went viral from there. Mrs. Obama chose Iowa for her first stop because the state is working to become the nation’s healthiest state by 2016, as measured by the Gallup organization. It ranked 19th in 2010, the most recent rankings.
She sold healthy eating to the kids as something fun, but also dangled the bait that it could help them “pass your tests and get good grades in school.” There were plenty of sports celebrities on hand to help pump up the crowd, including gymnast Shawn Johnson, figure skater Michelle Kwan, NASCAR champion Carl Edwards, Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg and former WNBA star Tamika Catchings.
The first lady took on the issue of childhood obesity because almost a third of U.S. children are at least overweight, and about 17 percent are obese.
In the two years since Mrs. Obama launched her campaign, she has brought substantial new visibility to the childhood obesity issue and has prodded schools, families, restaurants, grocery stores, doctors, local communities and others to do more to tackle the problem and to eat healthier.
Robert Blendon, a Harvard professor who tracks public opinion on health care, said Mrs. Obama has helped bring about a shift in attitude, with childhood obesity increasingly being viewed as a societal problem rather than a personal matter.
She’s given schools tangible ideas on how to feed students better by adapting healthier options for the lunch programs and vending machines and more exercise rather than talking in broad concepts that don’t hit home with parents, he said.
The nation’s 175,000 schools and their vending/lunch programs have become fertile ground for companies such as franchisor Fresh Healthy Vending and Revolution Foods since Mrs. Obama started her campaign.
“It’s getting into people’s conversations in ways that it would not have been if someone had not taken it on,” Blendon said.
“YMCAs, Boys and Girl’s Clubs and virtually every other “after school” program have also gotten into the act as the parental pressure has been on them to adopt healthy snack and drink options” said Jolly Backer, CEO of Fresh Healthy Vending. “Also, the market for healthy vending is just not for kids as companies are adapting new health and wellness standards and we’ve been inundated with requests from offices for our Fresh Healthy Vending machines as adult obesity has also reached epidemic proportions in the U.S.” added Backer.
Beyond the policy and health implications, the effort has contributed to an engaging image of the first lady and, by association, has been an asset for the president’s re-election effort. Marion Nestle, a food and nutrition professor at New York University, gives the first lady high marks for going up against powerful forces in the food and beverage industry, and getting some push-back along the way.
“Let’s give her credit,” Nestle said. “She has no real power. She has no legal authority. She’s a wife, and yet she has managed to take this issue and bring it to national prominence.”
The Lets Move Campaign has made Americans aware that they must eat healthier and its not just a fad but a “wake up” call for Americans of all ages.
School lunches are in the headlines quite a bit, these days. Most people are calling for the school lunch program to clean up its act and start feeding the nation’s children healthier fare. Truth be told, many people who brown bag it could stand to make their lunch healthier, as well. Whether packing lunches for school or work, there are ways to make them healthier.
“Sure, it’s easy to grab some junk food, throw it in a bag and call it lunch,” explains Jolly Backer, the chief executive officer of Fresh Healthy Vending (freshvending.com). “Problem is, if you do that repeatedly, there will likely be some negative health consequences, over time. Making healthier lunches may require a tad more time and thought, but in the end it will keep you feeling better.”
Here are five tips for helping to make lunch-on-the-go healthier:
1. Plan ahead. It is essential that planning be done ahead of time, so that healthy food items are in the house when it is time to pack lunches. Make a list on the weekend of some healthy lunch options, then be sure to stock up on the necessary ingredients to put it all together.
2. Spring for supplies. Having the right containers and supplies makes a world of difference. For example, there are special salad and drink containers which make it easier for some people to transport healthier lunches. Purchasing these supplies will be worth the investment.
3. Forget rushing. Those who are short of time tend to grab “whatever” and throw it in a bag. Take your time and think the lunch through, so that healthy options are considered and chosen. Many people make their lunch the night before, storing it properly overnight, to help avoid the morning rush.
4. Think beverages. Many people put together a healthy lunch only to blow it by adding a not-so-healthy beverage. A beverage with a lot of sugar, for example, would be better replaced with healthier options, such as water, unsweetened tea, or soy milk. Focus on variety. Many people tend to get bored if they eat the same lunch over and over, which is understandable. Brainstorm a list of possible healthy lunch possibilities and focus on variety each week. This will keep things interesting and will ensure that a variety of nutritional needs are being met.
5. Even those who take healthy lunches may often want a snack, between their meals. Snacking can be a part of a healthy diet, depending on the snacks being chosen. It is important for people to have easy access to a variety of healthy snack options, whether they take them along or buy them on the go.
“Healthy lunches will help you get through the rest of the afternoon without feeling sluggish,” adds Backer. “Consistently packing healthier lunches is easy. You just need to make it a priority and take the necessary steps to make it happen. Your health will benefit as a result of your efforts.”
Fresh Healthy Vending provides healthy snack options in all of their machines, including drinks, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and granola bars, yogurt, and baked chips and crackers. Their machines are located in hospitals, office buildings, military bases, and workout facilities. Fresh Healthy Vending machines are now located in over 1100 locations, including many school campuses, throughout the country and in Canada. Each dual-climate-controlled machine offers only healthy food and beverage options.
February is known as Heart Month in American, and for good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America. Each day, across the country, roughly 2,200 people that die from the disease. It’s also the leading cause of disability across the country, preventing people from working and living their lives as they would like to. With this in mind, it’s a good time to pay attention even to the little things that can either help or hurt the heart.
“Snacks may seem like trivial things, overall,” explains Jolly Backer, the chief executive officer of Fresh Healthy Vending (freshvending.com). “But if you think about it in terms of a year, you will end up eating around 400 to 750 snacks per year, if you have one or two per day. That really adds up and can make a big difference in your heart health.”
Snacks, for most people, are a reality of life. Not many people will go day in and day out without ever having a snack. Many people actually have one to two snacks per day, in between their meal times, making it important to choose heart healthy options. Here are some tips for choosing snacks that will help your heart health, rather than harm it:
Fresh fruits and veggies. Mom was right when she said to eat your veggies! They are loaded with antioxidants, phyto-nutrients, fiber, and other helpful nutritive sources that will help protect your heart. Great fresh fruit and veggie snacks include carrots, berries, oranges, red pepper slices and grapes, among others.
Keep it low-sodium. Consuming too much sodium can increase your blood pressure, which in turn can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Keep sodium content in mind when choosing snacks, and opt for those lower in salt. Pass on trans fats. Trans fats are those fat sources where the oils that are liquid are turned into solid fats. They do this by adding hydrogen atoms. While it helps to increase the shelf life of the foods, it also helps to contribute to clogged arteries. Trans fats can be found in many crackers, cookies, cakes, pies and breads. Trans fats, like saturated fats, raise bad cholesterol levels.
Skip the saturated fats. Saturated fats are those that come from animal sources. They contribute to clogged arteries and can raise bad cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are those that are solid when at room temperature. They are found in meats, cheese, dairy products, and many baked goods. Watch the drinks. Many people opt for a beverage for their snack, but some options will prove to be better than others, just as when reaching for other types of snacks. Those high in sugar, for example, should be avoided. Besides water, the best beverage options include unsweetened tea or coffee, and soy milk. Many convenient, heart-healthy snacks are available today, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts. By being more aware of heart-healthy snack choices, people can make selections that will help them reach their health and wellness goals, rather than hinder them.
“One of our missions has been to provide heart-healthy snack options,” adds Backer. “People can feel confident, walking up to one of our machines, knowing they will find a variety of healthy snacks to choose from. We give people the options they need to live healthier lives and help protect their hearts.”
Each Fresh Healthy Vending machine is filled with healthy snack options, such as drinks, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and granola bars, yogurt, and baked chips and crackers. Their machines are also located in hospitals, office buildings, military bases, and workout facilities. Fresh Healthy Vending machines are now located in over 1100 locations, including many school campuses, throughout the country and in Canada. Each dual-climate-controlled machine offers only healthy food and beverage options.
Traditional vending machines have taken a back seat to those stocked with healthy food options. As the war on obesity rages on, companies like Fresh Healthy Vending are helping people around the nation take matters into their own hands. As of the end of 2011, they have become one of the fastest growing and most successful franchise systems in the U.S., having sold 95 franchises representing over 1,200 locations throughout 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico which was massive growth for the company that started in May 2010.
“Fresh expects to double sales in 2012, with machine sales slated to top over 2,000 machines,” said Jolly Backer, CEO of Fresh Healthy Vending. “Fresh Healthy Vending has been at the forefront of virtually every innovation in the healthy vending industry over the past two years and has already come out of the gate ‘flying’ in 2012.”
Given the success the company has had outside of the U.S., throughout Canada and Puerto Rico, and given the tremendous response from other international markets interested in Fresh franchising, the company will be pushing marketing efforts overseas.
“Fresh intends on being not only the U.S., but the worldwide leader in healthy vending by the end of 2012,” added Backer.
For this year, Fresh Healthy Vending has also implemented new social networking campaigns, website improvements, and a new franchisee communications platform. All of these initiatives reflect their commitment to making the Fresh Franchisee experience collaborative and mutually beneficial for both the franchisor and franchisees.
As part of Fresh’s never-ceasing effort to improve all aspects of company service, Fresh has also appointed Destiny Olmstead to the position of Franchise Business Consultant. In this role, Destiny will work with all Fresh Franchisees on a daily basis to ensure that issues such as food deliveries, customer service, new product introductions and location development are being handled in the most efficient and timely manner.
Fresh Healthy Vending plans to be operating 50 of its own Fresh machines in the San Diego area by March, with plans to have up to 300 machines in operation by the end of 2012. This operation provides Fresh with a perfect “testing” ground for all new products, allowing them to recommend “best-selling” products to our franchisees, based on location type. The Fresh operation includes middle schools, high schools, offices, hospitals, military bases, health clubs and a variety of other locations. The operation also provides the technical department with a great testing environment for new machine innovations and testing of new machines that are in development at Fresh Healthy Vending.
Through a careful selection of the “best-selling” healthy drinks and snacks, a comprehensive franchise program and superior location development, Fresh Healthy Vending has developed a world-class brand – a brand that has earned national acclaim in the media and which successfully conveys our brand promise and commitment to quality and service to consumers, locations and our franchisee partners.
There has never been a more exciting time to become a Fresh franchisee and to be a part of one of the most dynamic and innovative franchise companies to come along in years.
After all the warnings about junk food causing childhood obesity and all the changes to school cafeteria menus, this news may come as a complete surprise.
“Decisions about vending in our schools are made based on financial gains rather than nutrition,” said Pamela Santucci.
Santucci recently purchased a franchise from Fresh Healthy Vending and is placing her machines in schools and other locations in South Florida. The machines only serve healthy snacks and drinks. So far, they’ve been a huge hit at places like Temple Sinai and North Dade School amongst others.
Santucci recently purchased a franchise from Fresh Healthy Vending and is placing their healthy vending machines in locations in South Florida. The machines only serve healthy snacks and drinks. So far, they’ve been a huge hit at places like Temple Sinai and North Dade School amongst others.
“The food is amazing,” said student athlete Alexandra Behar. “I don’t taste the difference between regular junk food and the vending machine food.”
Keeping kids healthy is a mission Rabbi David N. Young is passionate about. He’s lost 75 pounds over the last 12 months. And he wants his students to learn how to eat healthy too.
“When they’re in our walls, we are responsible for what they put in their bodies,” Young said.
Join the Fresh Healthy Vending Machine Franchise Today
Fresh Healthy Vending is the largest healthy vending machine company in the world. We pioneered the healthy vending concept and capitalize on a growing market of health conscious consumer. Healthy Vending is now the most exciting category in vending and Fresh Healthy Vending is looking to partner with like-minded entrepreneurs who share our vision.
If you can see yourself managing Healthy Vending Machines placed in profitable locations within your community, then this franchise opportunity is for you.
Fresh Healthy Vending machines provide a convenient and healthy snack for people on the go. Our machines provide delicious organic food choices such as dried fruit, yogurt, and smoothies. Investing in our franchise is a highly profitable opportunity. Our healthy vending machines do well in populated areas such as schools, retail stores, and gyms.
You can choose from over 500 healthy foods to stock your vending machine, and our product development specialists work with you to create a customized menu best for the location. For example, we meet school nutrition guidelines and also provide a convenient way for people to eat inexpensive, healthy foods.
Healthy Vending Machine Snack Options
Our machines feature chilled and room temperature healthy snacks alike. Top sellers are items like fresh fruit juices, protein shakes, protein bars, soy milk, organic yogurt, granola bars, cereal bars, baked chips, baked crackers and more. As the owner of a healthy vending franchise, you can decide what to place inside the vending machine.
As a partner and franchisee of Fresh Healthy Vending, we will provide you with all the tools and expertise that you need to be successful.