Vending Machines in Tucson are now Subject to Posting Caloric Contents of Foods

For decades there have been health crazes that have shaped the nation: the Atkins Diet, master cleanses and even starvation diets said to help people shed pounds each day. And while these crazes have come and gone—some to great effect, others largely disregarded—there are still new health and wellness trends appearing every day. The newest, a provision of ObamaCare, will impact vending machines in Tucson, as well as the people who buy from them.

Starting in 2014, vending machines will have to post the caloric contents of each item contain within them—meaning every single candy bar, bagged snack or soft drink will have the caloric content listed on the vending machine somewhere for people to peruse before they make their purchase.

Implications

As per usual, because this is a political provision, there are advocates on both sides of the coin: those who oppose this seemingly frivolous idea of posting caloric counts, and those who believe that this will prompt people to think before they snack.

Those who oppose the movement state that posting caloric content on vending machines will cost the vending industry up to $25.8 million up front and $24 million annually, subsequently. This hefty cost isn’t worth the implied effects, according to many who feel that this is simply a repetition of information that is already largely known by people and already posted on the food products themselves.

Those in favor of presenting caloric information before a consumer makes a purchase feel as though this will prompt people to better monitor their daily consumption and make better choices about the things that they’re eating. The implied effect that this will have will serve to help improve national wellness.

While both sides have valid arguments both for and against this next step in consumer health awareness, the impact of this decision falls largely on the shoulders of vending machine companies, who will be tasked with updating and outfitting their machines.

Offsets

According to a government study regarding obesity in American adults, if about 0.02% of overweight people consume 100 fewer calories each week, it could potentially safe the government about $24 million annually in healthcare costs. While this number perfectly juxtaposes alongside the cost to implement caloric counts on vending machines, it still doesn’t address the penalty to vending machine providers. Now, not only are these companies tasked with retrofitting their machines for a cost, their customers are also expected to consume fewer of these snacks on a regular basis.

Are you an avid vending machine buyer? How about an institution that uses vending machines to generate another small revenue stream? Where do you ring in on this debate and what do you think should be done about posting caloric content on vending machines? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!

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