Push for Healthy Vending Machines Hits Lincoln

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln has a plan to clean up city vending machines
  • Obesity is a national problem, sugary drinks are a part of that
  • Color-coding vending machines, "green" for healthy snacks, "red" for those with high sugar
  • Healthy vending machines are a growing trend in Chicago, Boston and Kansas City

Pretty soon your usual vending machine may look more like a traffic light with sugar-loaded sodas highlighted in red and water in green.

It's all part of Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln's plan to get the capital city hooked on healthy vending machines.

"Beverages are about half of the obesity epidemic and part of those come from vending machines. The problem is that they're everywhere," said Dr. Bob Rauner, Director of Partnership for Healthy Lincoln.

Battling obesity isn't easy. Color-coding what's good for you in vending machines is just one solution.

"First start with product placement. Something as basic as changing the order of the contents because people tend to buy what's on top first," Rauner said.

Dr. Rauner says healthy vending machine owners could lose money in the short term while people adjust to the less sugary options.

"You actually have a dip where people initially stop buying because you don't have what they want. After a while people get thirsty and they start buying and things get back to normal," Rauner said.

There's already a number of Lincoln businesses using healthy vending machines and it's a trend that's growing with campaigns popping up in Chicago, Boston and Kansas City.


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