bay area/san diego and imperial regional nutrition network vending machine toolkit

below are tools to help you begin the process of adopting a healthy vending machine policy. these tools will help you to assess, strategize, and implement a healthier way of eating in your organization and community.

healthy vending machines in schools! posted 01.03.12
in order to combat the childhood obesity epidemic, the food that children have access to in vending machines at schools and other public venues has been under heavy scrutiny. this has led to the creation of a number of positive enterprises that give school children organic, low fat, low sugar, fresh and nutritious snack items;

background information
the bay area (banpac) and san diego/imperial regional nutrition networks have successfully empowered individuals to advocate for healthier vending machines.  in the bay area, three counties (contra costa, marin, and santa clara) and two cities (berkeley and san jose) have passed vending machine policies, and two others are in process.  in spring 2006, the county of san diego department of parks and recreation passed a 100% healthy vending machine policy for all sites. below are tools to help you give background information to key stakeholders in changing vending machine policies. policy development
the following are tools to help you strategize as you begin to develop your policy. key steps and lessons learned assessment
in order to develop a sound policy, the following should be assessed:
  1. current status of vending machines in the organization/community
  2. opinions and receptivity of key players to healthy vending, including vending machine users.
these assessments help to determine what needs to change and where the change can happen.  a set of realistic, achievable goals can then be developed to meet the health needs of the organization/community.  the list below consists of a combination of assessment tools that have been useful in past successful healthy vending initiatives.
  1. vending machine assessment tool - english
  2. vending machine assessment tool - spanish
  3. focus groups: focus groups are valuable in helping gauge the kind of changes that the community is ready for. they also bring to light issues about vending that may not be identified through the vending machine assessment tool.  finally, focus groups are a good means of publicizing the movement for healthy vending.
  4. key informant interviews with successful policy developers, another tool to explore challenges and successes.
  5. electricity use document: this document demonstrates the cost of operating vending machines so you may factor in electrical costs when calculating profits.
policy implementation
effective communication with vendors and customers is crucial for successfully implementing a healthy vending policy. customers can also be encouraged to make the healthier choice through various methods of outreach and education. surveys and taste tests serve the dual purpose of educating the public on healthier vending and providing feedback on the selection of healthy options. the list of vendors and their healthy options below is intended as a useful resource but is certainly not exhaustive.
  1. vendors and healthy food selection
  2. getting customers to make the healthier choice
process evaluation and process monitoring provide valuable feedback that aid in refining and sustaining implementation of the policy.  outcome evaluation will help determine the efficacy of the implemented policy.
  • educational survey: can be used to track changes in people’s knowledge and attitude towards healthier vending choices.
  • vending machine assessment tool (english or spanish): periodic reassessment of the vending machines provides both accountability and a way to measure efficacy of implementation.
additional resources