While watching Sarah and Alaina's thesis presentation about healthy eating initiatives in hospitals, they showed an image of a vending machine that reminded me of an article I had read recently: "Social Snacking: Three Companies Add Impact to Your Empty Calories." Sarah and Alaina's photo showed one of the vending machines in the hospital that displayed a small educational sticker recommending a snack lower than 250 calories and color indicators on the foods that qualified as healthy options. Unsure of exactly how impactful this initiative has been for the hospital, it still had me questioning what it would take to motivate vending machine users to eat healthier?
The article about "Social Snacking," refers to three companies that are trying to make these purchases of snacks and other everyday items like gum and mints more meaningful. Each company approaches each purchase with a different way to give back–from locally sourced meals for hungry children to fighting childhood obesity with energy-efficient vending machines. If there is a charitable benefit to purchasing healthy snacks versus a self-motivated, calorie conscious choice, would people be motivated to eat healthier out of the vending machine?