December 30, 2013
Calorie Content Info Will Soon Be On Vending Machines Everywhere
Gerard LeBlond for www.redorbit.com - Your Universe Online
Next year vending machines will be required to display the calorie information for the products inside as part of Obamacare.
The cost to the companies that supply these machines will be an initial $25.8 million and an estimated $24 million yearly.
The FDA says that if just 0.2 percent of obese people ate 100 fewer calories per week, there would be a savings of $24 million a year in health care costs.
According to the National Automatic Merchandising Association, the initial investment of $2,400 plus an annual cost of $2,200 is a substantial amount for small companies who only profit a few thousand yearly.
Eric Dell, the vice president of the group said, “The money that would be spent to comply with this - there's no return on the investment.”
Companies will have one year to comply with these new regulations, but the group wants the government to allow more flexibility.
The information may be displayed electronically or some companies may just place stickers on the machine.
Brennan Food Vending Services, a small company in Londonderry, Ohio, doesn’t like the new rules. Owner Carol Brennan, who employs five people and services hundreds of machines, says she’ll be forced to limit items so her employees don’t spend a lot of time updating the calorie information.
“It is outrageous for us to have to do this on all our equipment,” she stated. “How many people have not read a label on a candy bar?” she added. “If you're concerned about it, you've already read it for years.”
A man from Seattle, Kim Gould, said while standing at a vending machine with his 12-year-old daughter, “People have their reasons they eat well or eat poorly.”
Gould said he only makes purchases when he is hungry and when there are no other options. He added, “How do we know people who are buying candy in the vending machines aren't eating healthy 99 percent of the time?”
A New York study in 2011 found that one in six people look at nutritional information at restaurants, according to an AP report appearing in USA Today. Those who did look at the nutritional content ordered a meal with about 100 fewer calories. Another recent study in Philadelphia determined there was no difference in calorie consumption after the city's labeling law took effect.
Brian Ebel, an assistant professor at New York University’s department of population health and medicine, said, “There is probably a subset of people for whom this information works, who report using it to purchase fewer calories, but what we're not seeing though is a change at an overall population level in the number of calories consumed.”
He also noted that the implement of labels on vending machines might be just as ineffective.
In 2005, the vending machine group produced a “Fit Pick” system that includes stickers that display fat and sugar content on the front of products. This system is used by almost 14,000 businesses, schools, government agencies and all branches of the military.