Healthy vending machines head to New York City
The next time you’re running to a business meeting on an empty stomach and turn to the dreaded vending machine for any product that slightly resembles actual food, you may be pleasantly surprised. An organic yogurt? Coconut water? A bag of apple slices?
These are a few of the items that Fresh Healthy Vending, a company launched in San Diego in May of 2010, stocks in the 600 machines it has placed in schools, health clubs, yoga studios, and corporate offices in 37 states across the country.
“Our machines are like a mini Whole Foods store,” says Jolly Backer, who might be stretching it just a bit. Still, stocked items range from Luna bars to organic baby carrots and Stacy’s Pita Chips (to the deceptively less healthy sugar-packed Vitamin Water).
The machines have separate refrigerated compartments, and monitoring devices allow the staff that tend to them to track expiration dates from their laptops.
While Fresh Healthy Vending has yet to come to New York City—you’ll have to shop at your lobby Fresh Direct dispenser for now—the machines are marching this way.
Backer named a handful of confirmed franchises in the set-up phase, and he hopes to have about 20 more established in the near future. Who are the New Yorkers that want to get on board?
“Most of the people that buy the franchises are socially responsible entrepreneurs who want to do something good for their communities,” says Backer. These people then market the machines to your neighborhood gym- or yoga-studio owner.
Okay, so the vending machines don’t exactly stock slow food, but it sure beats Oreo snack packs and Cheetos. —Lisa Elaine Held
Or does it? Do you think healthy vending machines are good idea for New York City? Where would you want to or not want to see one?