Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Vending Machines Earn Schools Way Less Than You Might Expect

Had a nice chat with a local school principal the other day about vending machines.

Their school has 5 vending machines serving 800 students. They made the school $2,000 last year, a number which is small not because sales are small, but rather because the school's cut is only 20%.

That's just $2.50 per student per year to sell them school sanctioned junk food.

And really, they are selling junk.

Despite Ontario's school food policy when this principal explored their school's vending machine options they discovered that despite explicit policies banning the sale of sport drinks, chips, etc., that's precisely what they were stocked with (actual photo up above and down below).

When I inquired as to the how and why I was told that the vending machine company fills up the machines, and that without enforcement, and despite some fanfare when the new Ontario school food policy was released, the vendor decided they didn't care. This principal had the company come back in and swap out the stuff that wasn't supposed to be there.

Now I've written before about how I think that baked chips are probably worse than fried due to the false impression provided that the chips are now somehow healthful, but putting that aside, what good's school food policy if no one enforces it?

Moreover, if school vending machines earn just $2.50 per student per year, what's the point of the machines in the first place? Whether by way of empty bottle drives, plant bulb sales, walkathons, or more, $2.50 a student isn't a particularly high bar to clear to get junk out of our schools.