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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Healthy vending machine snacks could get labeled

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Daily Wildcat Of the many vending machines on campus, some boast their selling of healthier options relative to the other snacks for sale. These machines are designated by a Fit Pick sticker and the Fit Pick Snacks meet the 35-10-35 criteria for what is considerd to be a more body conscious choice in snacks.

Students may re-think buying a candy bar for their on-the-go snack, as a new program could inform them about healthy choices for foods in vending machines.

The Student Health Advocacy Committee started a campaign in January to offer students healthier snacks from vending machines.

Stickers would show vending machine users which food options are more health-friendly, and committee members are also trying to identify healthy foods that students want in vending machines. Committee members hope to complete the initiative by the end of this year.

In order to do so, the Student Health Advocacy Committee partnered with Tomdra Vending to introduce the Fit Pick program on campus.

The program places stickers in front of snacks that meet certain health requirements, according to the Fit Pick standards, which dictate that less than 35 percent of an item’s total calories be from fat, less than 10 percent of its total calories from saturated fat and less than 35 percent of its total calories by weight from sugar.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association developed the program in response to some of the nation’s health issues, said Todd Elliott, vice president of Tomdra Vending and Coffee Services. The vending machine industry wanted to be a partner in helping identify ways to curb these issues, he said.

“Fit Pick helps to indicate healthy options within vending machines according to the organization’s standard,” said Meghann Miller, chair for the Student Nutrition Coalition and a nutritional science junior.

Miller contacted Tomdra directly, and also spoke with other schools that had used the program before. Everything was ready within a month and stickers were placed in front of healthy snacks on some of the campus vending machines, she said.

“Feedback from students so far has been very positive,” Miller said. “Now that we know there’s an interest in the Fit Pick program, making the investment to spread this program campus-wide makes sense.”

The committee initially distributed a survey in order to gauge student response for snack choices in the vending machines, Miller said. A lot of students said they wanted to see more granola and dried fruit products.

“Students are always on the go, which is why vending machines are so popular on campus. With the Fit Pick stickers, people can easily see which snacks are healthier options,” Miller said. “We hope that when the information is right in front of you, people will be more driven to make healthier choices.”

Some students agree the stickers will help them choose healthier snacks.

“I think I saw the sticker once and it was actually kind of cool. A lot of times you’re in a rush and you don’t have a lot of time to decide, ‘Is this healthy or not?’” said anthropology sophomore Gabby Miller. “It’s nice to have that done for you.”

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