Should vending machines be allowed in schools? This is a question that has faced endless argument over the years. We know that some people support the idea and others don’t. Parents, for example, are concerned that their kids will overindulge in unhealthy feeding habits. Most have the notion that vending machines dispense only high-fats and high-sugars. Well, this is not true if we consider a recent CBS News finding.
According to the finding, the US government through the Department of Agriculture issued a directive that required vending machines to dispense healthy smart snacks over junks. Since the directive was issued, we are seeing vending machines dispensing healthier alternatives like peanuts, popcorns, and fresh fruits. If we can recap the opening question, the answer is yes and here are 10 reasons why:
1. Encourage Healthy Dieting
As indicated earlier on, vending machines of today sell healthier options. In schools, they dispense healthy choices like fruit snacks, cereals, milk, and yogurt. Since most habits are taught in school, it becomes easier for the kids to learn how and why to eat healthy because of the availability of vending machines. Besides, schools with food-dispensing vending machines are obliged to follow the government’s directive on combating childhood obesity and other diet-related conditions.
2. An Option During Lunchtime
For schools where lunch is not offered and students are required to carry food, vending machines can help a lot. Since these machines dispense nutritious and healthy food choices, students will find it smart to carry money for buying food from vending machines instead of carrying packed lunch. What’s more, those who have special diet requirements don’t have to settle for what’s offered by the school during lunchtime. It’s just a matter of buying what they want as long as they can afford it.
3. Easy Access
Accessibility is an important factor for all consumers and not just school-going kids. The consumer wants to access supplies easily without having to walk, cycle, or drive a long distance. This is exactly what vending machines promise when they are readily available in schools. Students can access them conveniently during break time and buy whatever they want if it’s available. They can also buy food supplies to take on their way home.
4. The Staff Can Also Benefit
Vending machines are not just beneficial to students. Both the teaching and non-teaching staff can access them and buy from them. Staff members don’t have to be forced to carry packed lunch or go outside the compound to look for food. Knowing that the options are low-cost, they can even buy some to take home. Schools, therefore, need to make an effort to also cater to the needs of the staff just as much as those of the students. If for example, the staff prefers coffee and tea to soda, then the school management should consider it.
5. An Option for Budget Students and Staff
Vending machines are generally an attractive selling point because they are a budget-option. Consumers buy from them because they promise cheaper supplies. So, their availability in schools is positive news to students. They can buy foods and non-food supplies cheaply. Staff members on a budget can also benefit from vending machines. Since foods are low-cost, the staff can plan on their spending every day.
6. Keeps Students and Staff Around
From an academic standing, it’s not a good habit to see students loaming the streets looking for food. Not only does this waste time but it’s also unsafe for the kids. To ensure that they always stick around, it’s worthwhile to invest in a couple of food-dispensing vending machines. The machines just need to sell food supplies that the students prefer to buy. The staff also gets to stick around the school since they no longer have a reason to go out looking for food.
7. Fuels Classroom Concentration
Students like to eat – that’s a universal truth. So, it’s almost impossible for them to concentrate in class when they crave for food. They prefer to snack during breaks and this can be assured by the availability of food-dispensing vending machines. The fact that they are assured of accessing the vending machines during their break makes them relaxed and extra attentive in class. Normally, it’s the worry of not knowing where to get snacks that makes students less alert in class.
8. A Bridge for Nutritional Gaps
Though it’s every parent’s dream to see their kids eat healthy at all times, they don’t have control over what they eat in school. The kids may need essential vitamins and minerals that they can’t get from the breakfast they take at home or the lunch they serve in school. However, such nutrients can be readily available in an array of healthy foods dispensed by vending machines. The foods come rich in vitamins and proteins and are meant to make up for the nutritional gaps that the kids may be experiencing. You’ll want this for your child as a concerned parent.
9. Not Limited to Food
Vending machines may be popular with selling foods but they can also dispense nonfood choices. In schools, they can dish out supplies like pens, pencils, notepads, and tapes. In this case, students will not be forced to go out of class to look for these supplies as they are available in a vending machine. It’s also worth noting that the vending machine technology has improved so much. We now have vending machines that allow students to sign up for after-school events. Others allow the buying of unusual items like personal computers, bandages, and personal effect items.
10. Revenue for Schools
Lastly, schools normally have an extensive budget that they need to meet. For instance, they have to pay utility bills, add new books, and organize trips. These costs can be partly met by the revenue generated by vending machines. Since students and the staff are encouraged to buy from the machines, there’s always profit streaming in. Even though it may not be much, it can help significantly. Generally, a larger school population calls for more vending machines. In turn, more revenue is generated.
There’s no doubt that vending machines are a great investment in schools. Both the students and the staff can benefit from them. Schools administrations can earn profit from them and the government’s advisory on child healthy can also be met. It all boils down to proper supervision and usage.