Businesses selling healthy vending machine products could see windfall from new USDA rules

Feb 04, 2011

Healthier snacks to be sold at some schools

Though vending machine companies have, since a 2004 law setting strict standards for nutritional content provided to students, avoided U.S. public schools, a new wave of healthy offerings could revitalize that marketplace, according to Business Week.

The 2004 law required each school district to set its own nutritional requirements, the news source says, but a recent bill signed by President Barack Obama replaces those individual restrictions with one national standard. This makes it easier for vendors to aim for a significant market share, BusinessWeek adds, pointing out that both existing firms and up-and-comers have already adapted to the new climate.

The idea behind the law change and others like it is to head off the rising rates of obesity and diabetes among American kids, since childhood habits frequently persist into adulthood. Restricting easy access to fatty, salty, and overly sweetened foods could be an important part of that.

Getting U.S. students to eat healthier, then, could help them save money on life insurance down the road - and save government healthcare programs money on treatment, experts say.

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