Evaluating the Potential Health and Revenue Outcomes of a 100% Healthy Vending Machine Nutrition Policy at a Large Agency in Los Angeles County, 2013-2015

J Public Health Manag Pract. May/Jun 2018;24(3):215-224. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000702.


Context: Healthy vending machine policies are viewed as a promising strategy for combating the growing obesity epidemic in the United States. Few studies have evaluated the short- and intermediate-term outcomes of healthy vending policies, especially for interventions that require 100% healthy products to be stocked.

Objective: To evaluate the potential impact of a 100% healthy vending machine nutrition policy.

Design: The vendor's quarterly revenue, product sales records, and nutritional information data from 359 unique vending machines were used to conduct a baseline and follow-up policy analysis.

Setting: County of Los Angeles facilities, 2013-2015.

Participants: Vending machines in facilities located across Los Angeles County.

Intervention: A healthy vending machine policy executed in 2013 that required 100% of all products sold in contracted machines meet specified nutrition standards.

Outcome measures: Policy adherence; average number of calories, sugar, and sodium in food products sold; revenue change.

Results: Policy adherence increased for snacks and beverages sold by the vending machines by 89% and 98%, respectively. Average snack and beverage revenues decreased by 37% and 34%, respectively, during the sampled period.

Conclusions: Although a 100% healthy vending policy represents a promising strategy for encouraging purchases of healthier foods, steps should be taken to counteract potential revenue changes when planning its implementation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / classification
  • Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Food Dispensers, Automatic / economics*
  • Food Dispensers, Automatic / standards*
  • Food Dispensers, Automatic / statistics & numerical data
  • Food Quality*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Nutrition Policy / economics
  • Nutrition Policy / trends*
  • Snacks / classification