NEW YORK CITY -- New York City's healthy vending program has kicked off in schools systemwide and reportedly generated at least $540,000, according to the New York Daily News. But the newspaper reported that schools have yet to see a penny of their share as a result of a battle between the Department of Education and city Controller John Liu.
The Department of Education installed the snack and beverage machines despite the fact that the controller's office has delayed approving contracts with Answer Vending (Bellerose, NY) and CC Vending (Bronx, NY) to sell snacks and drinks, respectively. Liu's office says it has not signed off because it's probing "collusion" between the vendors.
Answer Vending president Tom Murn reportedly dismissed the controller's concerns, saying the company had hoped to beat out CC Vending on beverages as well as snacks.
Critics of the healthy vending program say early performance has been lower than expected, demonstrating that it is unlikely to generate the $5.7 million the city expects to be paid every year after the first year of operation. Under the contracts, schools receive more than 25% of the proceeds, according to the newspaper.
Answer's Murn said the better-for-you vending model is growing and working. DOE spokesman Matthew Mittenthal also expressed optimism, noting that performance over the first few months cannot be used to measure annual revenue, since it "ramps up exponentially over time."