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Guidelines for Food & Beverage Sales: Stock Vending Machines and Stores with Healthy Food and Beverages

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To help stock your vending machine or store with healthy food and beverage options, follow the three S's:

  • Stock: Take stock and make a list of the products currently found in each of your vending machines and school stores. Use the Scorecard feature of the Brand Name Food List.
  • Score: To score the food and beverage products as Sell Most, Sell Sometimes and Do Not Sell, use the Nutrient Criteria in the Guidelines or the Brand Name Food List. Score vending machine and school store products for each machine and each school store. Separate food scoring from beverage scoring.
  • Strategize: At least 50% of food and beverages sold should come from the Sell Most and up to 50% from the Sell Sometimes categories. Develop an implementation plan to apply the Guidelines to your vending machine and school store sales.

Your actions can support healthy eating:

  • Consult with students to select vending machine and school store food and beverages. Choose items that they enjoy and that meet the nutrition standards in the Guidelines.
  • Ask for samples from vendors and hold a tasting event for students, parents and teachers.
  • Offer Sell Most food and beverage items at a lower price than the Sell Sometimes items.
  • Promote Sell Most items by placing them at eye-level in vending machines or at the cashier in school stores.
  • Promote Sell Most items by including them in school promotional materials such as posters or pamphlets.
  • Negotiate with vendors so that they also promote healthier options with their advertisements. For example on their vending machines, uniforms, delivery trucks, etc.

Food for Thought

There is power in numbers. School districts or large schools have more influence with food and beverage vendors. Districts can centralize vending services through a Request for Proposals (RFPs) that attracts vendors ready to meet the Guidelines.

Promote the Guidelines through engagement with the school community:

  • Establish a school vending committee. Include at least one representative from each of the following groups: administrators, teachers, parents, support staff and students.
  • Engage other parents and teachers in discussions about food and beverages stocked in school vending machines and stores. Provide regular updates (e.g. using notices or newsletters).

Work with vendors to meet the Guidelines:

  • Use the contract process to select vendors who are proactive about identifying Sell Most or Sell Sometimes items and to adapt current vendor contracts to meet the Guidelines.
  • Before signing an agreement with a vendor, ask:
    • For a list of items that will be stocked in each school vending machine and/or store, how they score according to the Checklist and Nutrient Criteria of the Guidelines and the total percentages of Sell Most and Sell Sometimes.
    • How stocking of vending machines and stores will be monitored and maintained (including how often they will be restocked, and how they will track "best before dates")
    • How the vendor will report on sales (e.g. monthly, quarterly)
    • How the vendor will maintain and report on compliance with the Guidelines
  • If vendors are not prepared to meet the Guidelines, contact School District Treasury staff to find out about the options for further action.

Draft an implementation plan:

A plan can help your Committee get organized by including information about your goals, strategies, timelines, persons responsible, etc.

Sample Implementation Plan
Goal Strategy Timeline Person
Ensure that at least 50% of items stocked in school vending machines are Sell Most and that less than 50% are Sell Sometimes Perform an audit of school food and beverage vending machines Quarterly Parent Rep
Ensure that at least 50% of food and beverages stocked in school stores are Sell Most and that less than 50% are Sell Sometimes Perform an audit of school stores Monthly Teacher Rep
Monitor sales from vending machines in order to refine pricing strategies Produce reports of sales to refine pricing strategy Quarterly Vendor
Ensure that the vendor complies with the Guidelines Create or modify contract with vendor to include use of Guidelines March 2014 School Administrator

Where Can We Find Out More?

Last updated: June 2014

© 2013 Province of British Columbia. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counseling with a registered dietitian. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.