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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.

On this page:
Healthy School Vending Machines | 2009 Update  |  Background Information  |  Policy Development 
Assessment  |  Policy Implementation  |  Evaluation  |  Additional Resources  |  For More Information

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;

2009 Update to our Healthy Vending Policy
The National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), a project of Public Health Law & Policy (PHLP) has developed several products to promote healthy vending in schools and school districts and to restrict food and beverage advertising in schools.  These and other resources are available on the NPLAN Website,  Downloads are available to all without registration.

Healthy Vending > updated 12.10.10

Restricting Food and Beverage Advertising in Schools

Below are fact sheets (in PDF format) to facilitate the school vending contract negotiation process are available at

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.

• Chula Vista Healthy Vending Article (Elected Official Handout)
• North Carolina Healthy Vending Policy Fact Sheet
• Healthy Vending Machine Literature Review

Policy Development
The following are tools to help you strategize as you begin to develop your policy.

• Logic model: A schematic overview of the entire process.
• Strategies: 5 key strategies for developing your policy
• Potential Challenges (coming soon) / Lessons Learned

Key Steps and Lessons Learned

• Contra Costa County
• Marin County
• San Diego County
• San Francisco Unified School District
• Santa Clara County

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.
     • Focus Group Script for community members
     • Focus Group Script for decision makers
     • Focus Group Results

4. Key Informant interviews with successful policy developers, another tool to explore challenges and
     • Interview Script (successful policy developers)

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
     • Sample lists of food
     • Vending companies with healthy options

2. Getting customers to make the healthier choice
     • Customer Survey and Customer Survey Results
     • Taste tests and on-site education
     • Vendor Nutrition Education Explanation
     • Smart Snacks Poster

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

1. Sample policies
     • City of Berkeley policy
     • Contra Costa County policy
     • San Jose policy

1. Healthy Vending Machine Resource List: A list of contacts who offer help in specific areas.

3. What are SB 12 and SB 965?

4. Link to CA Center of Public Health Advocacy

Contact Susan Karlins, MPH, at Gina.Vittori@PHD.SCCGOV.ORG for more information.



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