CHICAGO -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel is challenging Chicago's businesses and organizations to follow the city's lead in providing better-for-you options in food and beverage vending machines. The Healthy Vending Challenge asks organizations to change their current vending offerings to those lower in sugar, salt and fat.
The challenge builds on the city's new healthy vending policy, unveiled by Emanuel in November and approved by the Chicago City Council in December, requiring at least that 75% of all food and beverages in machines in city-owned buildings be stocked with "healthier" options. Almost half of the city's vending machines comply with these standards, and the remainder will changeover within the next couple of months. Chicago also requires 100% "healthy" vending in parks and schools.
Photo: Mayor Emanuel chooses a healthy snack from new "healthy" vending machine in City Hall.
Photo by Brooke Collins / City of Chicago
"Once in place, the city's new vending machines will make it easier than ever before for city employees and the public to make healthier choices," said Emanuel. "We are challenging all of Chicago's businesses and organizations to do the same for their employees and visitors, so that people across the city have greater ability to make healthy choices."
The Healthy Vending Challenge was created as part of Healthy Places, a partnership between the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children.
The details of the initiative are spelled out online in A Blueprint for Healthier Vending. Once organizations commit to adopting a "healthy" vending policy and have met the requirements of the challenge, they receive a certificate, a "decal" for their website, and recognition on the City of Chicago website.
Five large Chicago-based organizations have already agreed to sign on to the program, including the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Vanguard Health System and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.