Organic Vending Machines: Healthy Trend or Marketing Scam?

Organic vending machines are the new trend in schools and businesses, according to an article on MSNBC, but are they really providing healthier snacks? According to the article, more companies are popping up that offer organic, natural, and healthy alternatives to vending machine snacks, in response to consumer demand. Demand is particularly strong in schools, where officials are now required to set nutritional standards for all food in schools (even vending machine fare), thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 passed in congress last month. Instead of Twinkies and Oreos, companies are starting to stock their machines with organic fruit snacks, organic chips, and all-natural fruit juice.

The fact that consumer demand for healthy food is reaching critical mass is undoubtedly great, but we’re skeptical that vending machines can really play an everyday role in an optimally nutritious diet. The products advertised on one organic vending company’s website, Fresh Healthy Vending, include vegan pudding, natural granola bars, Pop Chips, and yogurt. While yogurt is definitely a healthy alternative to Twinkies, the majority of organic non-perishable snacks can hardly replace the fresh fruits and vegetables that most of us need more of. And even if it’s organic, a chocolate-cherry granola bar is still packed with sugar, fat, and empty calories void of the nutritional requirements in a growing child (or grown adult).

Have you seen an organic vending machine yet? Do you think their contents are really healthy? Tell us what you think in the comments section, below.


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    • Natural Choice

      We like the “idea” of organic vending machines, but ultimately shouldn’t we be teaching kids to seek out fresh foods, and not to just mindlessly reach for a box or bag anytime they’re hungry? We prefer to support local grocery stores and farmers that are committed to growing high quality foods. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, these natural food retailers could get you started:

    • Mike

      Are you kidding me? How can you even argue the merits of organic versus processed? Its not a calorie debate here… its a what is better for you no brainer! If you cant pronounce the ingredients you shouldnt eat it! These vending machines are awesome and I hope I start seeing them in my area.

    • Sam (the neurotic yogini)

      While ultimately we “should” be teaching our kids to find fresh, healthy foods.. these organic vending machines are a million times better than the crap they put in the regular machines. I work in a call center, and sometimes I forget to bring my wholesome snacks from home. I wish that the vending machines offered healthier foods like real fruit juice, pop chips, or vegan ANYTHING (instead of Hersheys and Cheetos)! Until America stops being so lazy and relying on prepackaged, “convenient” foods.. I think these machines are a big step in the right direction.

    • Alicia

      Great article! Very true that kids shouldn’t be taught to put money into machine whenever they are hungry. Also true healthy vending machines wont even come close to replacing the nutrients we need in our diet.

      When it comes down to it, being heathy is about making healthy choices. And having a healthy snack machine versus non, is definetly a healthier choice.


    • angel

      Fresh Healthy Vending Scam, I think NOT! This vending concept is amazing. What a great new business idea. This healthy vending company is reducing the risk of more kids becoming obese eating twinkles and drinking coke. Lets focus on endorsing Healthy Vending companies not labeling them a SCAM.