ATLANTA — Aramark Refreshment Services Inc. unveiled a new better-for-you vending program during the National Automatic Merchandising Association 2005 National Expo here.
“It is extremely important for us to understand our customers, and to deliver innovative solutions that meet their changing needs,” said Richard Wyckoff, president of Aramark Refreshment Services and Business & Industry Facility Services. “Our extensive research provides us with even greater insight, and guides us in our customized approach to food and beverage solutions.”
“Just4U for Vending” incorporates elements of Aramark’s popular “Just4U – Food that Fits your Life” initiative, which has been available in its manual foodservice operations since last year. It also builds on the company’s nearly 10 years of experience in offering “healthy” vending options, such as the “Balanced Selections” program first launched in 1996.
Aramark’s ongoing research has enabled it to identify more than 150 products that meet “Just4U for Vending” dietary criteria. These items fall into four categories:
• Foods lower in fat (pretzels, baked potato chips, low-fat cookies and crackers, granola and fruit bars, etc.);
• Foods and beverages lower in carbohydrates, such as nuts, low-carb snack bars and diet soft drinks;
• Foods and beverages lower in calories, including such items as fruit cups and reduced-calorie juices;
• Bottled water and 100% juices.
The nutrient-controlled categories are described on the machines, color-coded to shelf markers that identify the menu items in each category. A green checkmark denotes an item containing less than 5g. of fat, and less than 30% of calories from fat per serving. Orange identifies items with fewer than 100 calories per serving; and blue, selections with 15 or fewer carb units per serving. Consumers thus are able to choose products that meet their individual dietary objectives.
“Consumers increasingly are aware of the health implications of what they eat,” said American Dietetic Association president Rebecca S. Reeves, managing director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX). “As a registered dietitian working to address the epidemic of obesity in this country, I am gratified to see an industry leader like Aramark taking a proactive approach to improving the nutritional health of the consumer.”
Since 2004, Aramark has introduced several programs and user-friendly tools to strengthen its healthier eating message. In March, the company launched a “Health Awareness Campaign” to make it easier for millions of customers to eat healthier at work and in school, while learning more about the importance of proper nutrition.