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The USDA’s initial guidelines on “competitive foods,” which are all foods and beverages sold to students on the school campus during the school day, other than those meals reimbursable under federal meal programs, had not been revised for more than 30 years. Yesterday, that changed when the USDA finally released its proposed revisions!

What do the current proposed revisions mean for the healthy vending industry and locations around the world?

Watch above: this school INCREASED commissions after switching to healthy vending!

If there was ever a time for healthy vending, the time is now.

The proposed standards will affect items sold in vending machines, a la carte and in student stores. Here is a breakdown of what the proposed standards would do:

  • Set limits on calories, fats (including saturated and trans), sugars, and sodium
  • Allow for water, low-fat milk and 100% juice in all schools, plus lower-calorie beverages in high schools
  • Encourage consumption of healthful products that have whole grains, low-fat dairy, protein (such as nuts & nut butters), and fruits and vegetables as their main ingredients
  • Allow flexibility by permitting variations between elementary, middle & high schools when it comes to beverage portion sizes and caffeine content (i.e. caffeine, other than trace amounts from natural sources, would be allowed only in high schools)
  • Make potable water available to children at no charge in the place where lunches are served during the meal service
  • Allow flexibility for occasional fundraisers and special events
  • Allow flexibility for state and local communities to supplement these guidelines or maintain their own policies, as long as these proposed minimum requirements are met
  • Give schools time to transition to healthy vending. The standards will not go into effect until at least one full school year after public comment is considered (60 days from now) and after a final rule is published

Why start a healthy vending franchise now?

  • Vending is a large industry ($42B!) with tremendous growth being seen in the healthy vending franchise sector.
  • Natural products are in high demand. For example, sales of healthful snacks are outpacing standard snacks by 3 to 1, according to the Snack Food Association.
  • Vending provides a passive income (you don’t have to clock in and out or be present at your machine(s) 24/7; and, with remote monitoring, you can check inventory from the comfort of your home!)
  • You can work with trends, rather than against them. With the USDA’s proposal, it’s clear that healthy vending is not only a trend, but also something that’s being legislated into society. This is a tremendous opportunity for those of us in healthy vending!
  • You can do something you believe in! There is no doubt that most Americans suffer from chronic diseases due to poor nutrition. You can be a part of a business that is tackling that problem head-on!

You can read the entirety of the USDA’s proposed changes here.

What do you think about the proposed changes?

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