CHICAGO -- Park-goers in the Windy City are happily buying healthier snacks from vending machines, substantiated by a lift in sales, according to a study by Northwestern University researchers.
The Chicago Park District kicked off its 100% Healthier Snack Vending Initiative in 2011, with Compass Group USA winning the five-year bid to install and service 98 vending machines stocked exclusively with snacks that meet guidelines limiting calories, sodium, fat and sugar. All snacks, ranging from 100-calorie cookie packs and fruit snacks to granola bars and baked veggie chips, vend for $1. | READ MORE
The study published this week, conducted by Northwestern researchers in 10 Chicago parks, found that 88% of park-goers were satisfied with snacks they bought from the healthy-options-only vending machines. Almost all (98%) patrons who purchased snacks from the machines indicated that they would purchase them again. The main reason participants gave for disliking the more healthful snacks was that they were not healthful enough, according to the researchers.
The healthier snacks boosted average monthly per-machine sales from $84 to $371 across the Chicago Park District over the past year.
The peer-reviewed study was published in the August 2014 issue of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's monthly journal, Preventing Chronic Disease.