PORTLAND, OR -- VendScreen Inc. said its touchscreen user interface for vending machines is capable of displaying calorie and nutritional information for products prior to their purchase. As a result, Vendscreen says its multifunction device, which is available for new and existing vending machines, is a turnkey solution that can help operators comply with pending federal calorie-labeling rules.
The Food and Drug Administration faces an April deadline to finalize the rule on "Food Labeling: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments." The rule was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law on March 23, 2010.
The National Automatic Merchandising Association told Vending Times that a deadline has still not been set for publishing the final calorie-disclosure rules that will apply to vending businesses with 20 or more machines.
The VendScreen Revolution began shipping late last year, and the company said it is ramping up production to meet anticipated customer demand. The Android-based system features a 4.3" touchscreen that displays user-specific promotions and advertising, real-time product updates, cashless payment options and refunds, and nutrition information. It is designed to replace several single-purpose devices, eliminating the need for separate card readers or DEX upload devices.
Vendscreen said that once the Revolution is installed, the operator's role is "hands-off" from a calorie-disclosure standpoint. All nutritional information for each product is entered by VendScreen, and downloaded wirelessly to the device. Information for vended products resides in VendScreen's cloud-based database and includes a wide array of products, with new ones regularly added as they come to market. The VendScreen Revolution communicates with the vending machine's existing controller and updates wirelessly over the built-in 3G cellular connection.
"The beauty of our platform is it doesn't require the operator to do anything extra to keep the device up-to-date," said Vendscreen chief technology officer Glenn Butler. "It was specifically designed to update content seamlessly and automatically."
In advance of the final calorie-disclosure ruling, the company said it has seen increased interest from operators inquiring about installing VendScreen Revolution devices on their machines.
"Some of our first customers are deploying VendScreen on 100% of their machines. They are seeing the benefits of bringing their machines into the digital age, addressing the need for nutrition disclosure, but also adding cashless acceptance to all machines," continued Butler. He added that VendScreen users can also take advantage of its other features, including sales data to improve routing efficiency, inventory control and merchandising as well as advertising and promotion capabilities.