Go Through These Pros and Cons of Vending Machines in Schools

The article presents information on vending machines in schools, their pros and cons and the different aspects of vending machine business.
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: May 6, 2018
A vending machine is a machine used for selling consumer items, mostly edibles (beverages and snacks) where you don't need to have a cashier at the counter. Vending machines installed in schools sell food items like sandwiches, soft drinks, muffins, milk, scones, yogurt, juices, etc. However, the junk food sold through vending machines can adversely affect the health of children. This very problem has raised the debate whether installing vending machines in schools is right or wrong. Let us find more about vending machines in schools, pros and cons of installing them and the business of vending machines.

Vending Machines in Schools: Pros and Cons
One of the advantages of having vending machines in schools is that food items can be easily made available to children. If stocked with healthy food items, these machines can be of great use to kids. However, there also are disadvantages of consuming foods sold through these machines. Therefore, it becomes important to study the pros and cons of vending machines in schools.

Vending Machines - Pros
  • The vending machines provide schools kids with easy access to snacks and other food items. The availability of food in the school campus itself saves time.
  • Vending machines are used not only for selling edible items, but also to make payments for school programs, computers, after-school activities, etc.
  • Schools can provide nutritious food to students at affordable prices by selling them through vending machines.
  • There are few schools which take efforts to promote the sale of nutritious foods like yogurt, pita fries, soy nuts, string cheese, carrots with dips, dried fruits and flavored milk through vending machines.

With all these arguments in the favor of vending machines, one may not find them harmful at all. However, it is also important to know the other side of the debate. So, let us find about the disadvantages of vending machines.

Vending Machines - Cons
  • The activity of selling food items through vending machines is aimed at making profits. As per the 'Health Policy Tracking Service' of the National Conference of State Legislature, many schools earn as much as $100,000 from vending machine contracts annually.
  • There are schools which also have contracts worth millions of dollars with vending companies. In such cases, the sole purpose behind installing vending machines is to sell products of such companies.
  • Soft drinks are amongst the popular consumables that are sold through vending machines. Intake of soft drinks accounts for most of the health problems associated with childhood obesity. Heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure are some of the health problems caused by the intake of soft drinks.

Taking into consideration the ill effects of consuming junk food, many states in the US have completely banned vending machines.

Vending Machine Business
Today, vending machines are a common sight in multiplexes, malls, schools, etc. The fact that vending machines can help earn money and schools being the perfect market for them, many companies try to benefit from this market. Installing vending machines in schools is one of the best ways to reach out to customers. Therefore, school authorities try to benefit from the vending machine business.

The problem with installing vending machines arises when the junk food sold through them starts affecting the health of children. Some of the companies operating in the vending machine business have taken note of the problem of obesity in children. Few of them are trying to promote sales of nutritious foods through vending machines. The Education Department too is trying its best to offer healthier food options to school children.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently proposed to impose restrictions on food items sold in schools. The proposal has stressed on meeting nutritional demands of kids through the food sold by means of vending machines. Limiting the calorie content in food products to 200 calories is one of the important points incorporated in the proposal.

The negative influence of vending machine business on school kids can be observed in the form of obesity epidemic which has affected mostly the developed nations. According to a Reuters report, school kids in USA consume 400 billion more calories than what is actually required to meet the nutritional demands of the body. The report also states that experts have cited obesity a major hurdle which prevents young adults from joining armed forces. Now that the military has raised concerns about obesity in school kids, time has come to look at this problem seriously.

It is necessary to educate children about the ill effects of eating junk food - which contains fats and sugar in excess. The facts about vending machines in schools, their pros and cons and the effects of consuming junk food need to be properly explained to children. A positive change can be brought about only through combined efforts by people from every section of the society.