NEW YORK CITY -- The Big Apple's Education Department is expected to approve new vending contracts that adhere to more stringent nutritional guidelines, now that its five-year deal with Snapple as its exclusive beverage-vending provider has expired. Snapple's contract ended in August, and vending machines in the city schools have been empty since then.
The Education Department set forth the new nutritional standards in its request for proposals last spring. Six companies, including Snapple, bid on the new contracts.
The Snapple beverage contract, awarded in 2003, reportedly generated $35 million to fund school sports and activities, which was $5 million less than initially estimated. Snack machine contracts were previously awarded by individual schools rather than by the Department of Education.
According to The New York Times, one of the contracts likely to be approved this week by the Education Department would give exclusive cold beverage vending rights to CC Vending (Bronx, NY), which would contract exclusively with Pepsi. Drinks sold in elementary and middle schools would be limited to fewer than 10 calories per eight ounces. High school beverage sales would be restricted to those containing fewer than 25 calories per eight ounces.
The Times reported that the snack-vending contract would be awarded to Answer Vending (Bellerose, NY). Under the new guidelines, snacks would be limited to 200 calories and 200 milligrams of sodium. Sugars and fats would make up no more than 35% of the total calories, and saturated fat would not be more than 10% of total calories. Nut, seed and fruit products would be exempt from these requirements.
As with the Snapple deal, the schools will keep 30% of the revenue from the vending machines under the new contracts, according to the newspaper. But officials said they anticipate lower sales as a result of the restricted selections available under new guidelines and estimate the city will receive a total of at least $28 million over five years from the contracts.
The department's new regulations also require that all student-run school stores purchase food from the company that is awarded the vending contract.