Well Being

Organic Vending Machines: Healthy Trend or Marketing Scam?

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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.