Healthy Vending Machine Still Loses to Junk Food

November 3, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. awareness (n.) [uh-wair-nis] – having knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of something
Example: Health awareness should be emphasized in schools.

2. merchandise (n.) [mur-chuhn-dahyz] – items which are bought or sold in business
Example: Having good merchandise is one way having a successful business.
3. tactic (n.) [tak-tik] – a means of achieving a goal
Example: The police planned a tactic to capture the culprit.

4. awful (adj.) [aw-fuhl] – extremely unpleasant
Example: The restaurant immediately went bankrupt because of its awful food.

5. commend (v.) [kuh-mend] – to praise or to express approval
Example: The government commends the new technology for reducing garbage in the community because of its cheapness and practicality.

Read the text below.

Vending machines offering nutritious food are rapidly increasing in various schools in the US; however, their products remain unpopular among students.

In schools like Commack High School in New York, vending machines display apples and oranges in place of potato chips and sodas. Commack administrators explain that this helps students apply what they learn from their teachers and parents about healthy eating.

More schools across the US—such as in Philadelphia and Arizona—are replacing unhealthy snacks with whole grains, reduced-fat foods, fruits and vegetables.

This trend resulted from the increasing awareness on child obesity and the growing number of laws in the US controlling food in schools.

Adapting to these changes, manufacturers of vending machines have also started changing their items to healthy food. The National Automatic Merchandising Association, which represents all players in the industry, puts orange stickers on machines containing one of the foods that meet nutritional standards.

To make the merchandise more appealing to the students, manufacturers use tactics such as giving free samples or adding digital screens that display nutritional contents of food.

Sadly, sales from these vending machines still remain low. In Commack, the new vending machine generated less than 1/3 of the sales of regular machines. Generally, students prefer regular snacks because healthy food is readily available in their homes, free of charge. In addition, some students think the items taste awful and are expensive.

Despite the disapproving school children, parents and nutrition experts commended this innovation because it allows children to have healthier options. 

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What will be the advantages and disadvantages of implementing a junk food ban in schools?
·         What kinds of food are usually offered in schools in your country?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think people nowadays often buy from vending machines?
·         Which do you prefer, food from vending machines or home-cooked food?

November 3, 2011