Are you concerned that installing vending machines at schools may do more harm than good?
Vending machines have become all the rage these days. They carry an assortment of snacks and beverages for everyone from office employees to students at school to instantly satiate any hunger pangs.
It’s understandable if most parents aren’t sure about vending machines at schools because it can have a variety of snacks and treats that may not be so good for their kid’s health. Even if there are healthy vending machines around the campus, there’s no way to monitor what little kids are eating at recess.
Here’s a list of pros and cons you need to consider before deciding your stance on this argument.
Pros of Vending Machines in Schools
1. They Are Easily Accessible
The one thing that makes vending machines so great is that they’re easily accessible. It’s the perfect snack solution for teachers and students that are running behind deadlines or don’t have enough time between classes to grab a quick bite. They can simply get something from the vending machine and stay energized throughout the day.
The cafeteria usually opens only during lunch hours and may not have that many options to choose from. Snack vending machines carry a variety of food items for everyone regardless of their preferences.
Since there’s no need for a cashier, it takes very little time to buy something from the vending machine than from the cafeteria. All you have to do is pay for a snack and quickly pocket the change if there’s any.
2. They Can Be Used to Offer Healthy Snacks
Students are becoming more and more health-conscious these days and realizing the importance of a healthy diet. Instead of signing an agreement with a vending company that offers snacks like candy bars and potato chips that are extremely low in nutrition and high in calories, schools can now customize the snacks to some extent.
They can decide what kind of snacks they want to offer the kids. They can provide nutritious snacks like dry fruits, kale chips, healthy granola bars, yogurt, etc as alternatives. This will have a positive impact on the students’ health and mental wellbeing.
3. They Can Serve Non-Food Related Purposes
People who don’t agree with the idea of vending machines in schools are mostly concerned about the quality of food that’s being made available to the student body. But vending machines don’t just have to offer snacks and beverages. They can also be used to purchase other equipments like bandages, stationery, sanitary napkins, and medicine.
Schools can also install them to get students to sign up for an after school program and make payments then and there or offer educational resources as well. Not only will the school benefit from this but students will also feel a lot more comfortable coming to school when they have access to necessary items on campus.
Cons of Vending Machines in Schools
- You Will Have Competition from the Cafeteria
Installing vending machines across the campus can significantly affect other food vendors like the cafeteria. When students get comfortable with buying snacks from the machine instead of going all the way to the cafeteria, the school will suffer.
It will also affect people working in the cafeteria and amount to a huge waste of food that gets prepared every single day for only a handful of students to buy.
- They Offer Sugary Drinks That Can Encourage Health Issues
The most popular items being sold in a vending machine are carbonated sugary drinks. Regular consumption can cause weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and many other health issues in kids at a very young age.
Most students aren’t able to make a distinction between what counts as a healthy snack and what doesn’t. It’s hard for them to keep up a healthy diet when junk food is available at almost every corner. And the worst part is that these snacks cost a lot less than buying a healthy meal at the cafeteria.
Parents who take their time to prepare healthy and delicious meals are rightfully concerned about vending machines because they realize that easy access is what makes them so dangerous for their kids’ health.
3. Added Administrative Cost If the Machine Malfunctions
Schools don’t usually own the vending machines that are installed around the campus but they need to recruit someone to take care of any malfunctions and process refunds if the machine stops working.
The added cost of maintaining and repairing the machine or communicating any issues to the vendor can be too much for the school. They also have to make sure no items are expired or spoiled and replace them right away.
It ultimately comes down to the school to decide what they wish to offer their student body. There are loads of healthy snacks available in the market today that can be included in the vending machines. These will make sure that the students are able to manage their diet and restore their energy between classes.
Schools shouldn’t offer junk food to students in the vending machines when they’re making active efforts to promote the benefits of healthy eating. If you want the vending machine at your school to be successful in attracting students, then you need to install them in the right locations and offer the right kinds of snacks at affordable prices.
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