Innovation in the Industry

Concerns about rising obesity levels and other dietary related diseases make healthy eating a constant cause for concern. While much of the focus is often on food in schools, being able to eat healthily outside of the home is an ongoing issue for the consumer.

Vending International investigates…

Jamie Oliver and the subject of ‘healthy eating’ are back in the headlines, with the school meals revolution he began in 2005 at risk of being heavily compromised by current legislation. The Government has ended the school lunch grant as a separate source of funding and exempted academies from the nutritional standards introduced for all other state schools by Labour following Oliver’s much publicised campaign.

New survey results released last month by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) revealUKkids are turning their backs on fruit and vegetables in favour of snacks loaded with fat, salt and sugar.

Nearly one in threeUKkids (29%) is indulging by eating sweets, chocolate and crisps three or more times a day. And almost half of kids surveyed (40%) also admit they normally drink fizzy or energy drinks during the day.

In contrast, almost nine in 10 kids surveyed (88%) were not eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetable each day. In fact, children were more likely to have crisps at lunch (34%) than fruit (31%).

With a third (32%) of children in England aged 11-15 now overweight or obese, the BHF has revealed the worrying survey results as it launches its Food4Thought campaign, aimed at helping to tackle childhood obesity.

The survey of 2,000 11 to 16-year-olds helps to give a unique snapshot of their daily diet. Based on the results, the charity calculates a child’s typical daily diet includes one packet of crisps, one chocolate bar, one bag of chewy jelly sweets, one fizzy drink and one energy drink. That means kids are consuming almost 30 teaspoons of sugar (118g), more fat than a cheeseburger, and over a third of their daily calorie intake from snacks alone.

Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietitian at the BHF said: “Five-a-day seems to have a whole new meaning for some young people. They are consuming an alarming amount of fizzy drinks, sweets, chocolate and crisps as a regular part of their daily diet.

“It’s already been suggested that this generation of children may not live longer than their parents due to the implications of their lifestyle on levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“We’ve all got to realise that this generation’s food choices today could have long term consequences on their future health.”

To launch its Food4Thought campaign the BHF is working with thirty schools across theUKto set up healthy vending machines. The pilot project aims to encourage school pupils to eat healthier snacks and meals during the school day. The pupils will play a key role in deciding how the vending machines are run with one school winning a prize at the end of the school year. If successful, the BHF hopes other schools will use their model to set up their own healthy vending machines in the future.

California Raisins

Those involved in the provision of snacks need to constantly evaluate the market place with a view to keeping ahead of the latest trends. A more recent trend toward healthier snacking sends out a clear message that the consumer wants a product that can deliver taste and nutritional value. 

California Raisins can provide a snack that offers protective antioxidants, fibre and one of 5 A DAY and because they come in handy snack size packs, they are an easy way of adding variety to an existing snack range. “We are committed to helping you in your desire to fulfil your consumer needs and can give you information on delivery, storage and nutrition,” says the company.

No time for breakfast?

With life becoming faster and more options now available, people are working harder and skipping meals. According to Kraft Foods, 73% of caterers agree that on-the go consumption is increasing.   Breakfast is no exception with 45% of caterers now providing cereal bars as part of their Breakfast offerings.

This trend is reflected in Belvita Breakfast which has experienced strong growth since its launch. Rahul Gursahani, Senior Brand Manager at Kraft Foods UK, said: “Belvita Breakfast is the only biscuit specially designed for breakfast and is the perfect delicious solution for those rushed mornings we all experience.”

Stocking a recognisable brand such as Belvita at breakfast is important to help the success of a business, says the company. A recent study shows that 75% of people are prepared to pay more for a better quality snack product with 51% of those surveyed agreeing that people would rather buy a branded snack than one produced on site.

A top tip to help maximise these sales of on-the-go breakfast products is to display the product at point of purchase.

 Eat-on-the-go healthy food choices

From educational establishments to leisure centres, train stations, offices or wherever there is a need to eat-on-the-go, good healthy food choices are often very limited. There are however, a number of brands out there that have produced tasty, cost effective solutions that are just as attractive to the consumer as any of the less healthy options. Facility managers simply have to take a leap of faith – marketed well and displayed effectively, these goods could reap huge rewards, not only for business, but for the long term health of the next generation.

The vending industry very much supports the healthy eating initiative and while of course it provides other snacks and fast foods which possibly don’t fall under this umbrella, the choices it offers are balanced, allowing facility managers and operators to tailor their machines according to the needs of their target market.