When Patti Moore, 40, re-entered the workforce, she wanted to do something meaningful.
Her self-education in response to a family food allergy led her to become a local operator of H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending, a company that provides healthy vending machine snacks.
Moore was raised in California, where she worked in wine marketing and sales. She moved to North Carolina to attend UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. She earned an MBA, met her husband Battle, was hired by Unilever, and the couple moved to Manhattan. After they had their first child Ben, they relocated to Myers Park.
When Moore’s second child, Anne Mason, was 1, she had her first taste of peanut butter. It resulted in hives. Anne Mason was tested with a panel scratch test, where a sample of an allergen is inserted under the skin, and the reaction is recorded.
“In her panel she is allergic to more things than you and I can even imagine.”
Her most serious reactions were to nuts and seafood.
“The second time she came in contact with peanuts we had to take her to the ER,” said Moore.
In response, the Moore’s started reading the ingredients in packaged foods.
Food labels left Moore surprised, and then distressed.
“There’s high fructose corn syrup in everything,” she said. “It’s in sandwich bread, and in things you wouldn’t assume.”
Meanwhile, her husband Battle, who works in downtown Charlotte, needed to leave his building to find a healthy snack.
One day Battle read an article about H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending, and had an “Aha!” moment.
Moore realized this was an opportunity that meshed with her passion to educate people about healthy eating. By this time their third child, Kate, was 5, Moore was ready for a new challenge.
H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending is a California company that sells machines to distributors.
The initials stand for Helping Unite Mankind and Nutrition. The company’s goal is to make healthy snacks easily available, and to teach people about their benefits.
The Moore’s own eight machines. She says a lot of people approach her when she is stocking the machines.
The high technology machines have a Wi-Fi sensor so she can use her computer to track inventory. They take credit cards, and they sport an LCD screen for product or local advertising.
Popular products vary by location. The machine at the Jewis Community Center sells a lot of protein shakes, water, and high protein snacks. Machines at locations that cater to kids sell a lot of Stacy’s Pita chips, Pirate’s Booty, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, and organic chocolate milk. Back to Nature is an organic brand that sells cookies. Popchips are potato slices that are popped by heat and pressure, and contain no artificial ingredients.
“There is nothing wrong with having a sweet snack once in a while. But to me it helps to know it is not over processed, and contains things that I have in my kitchen,” said Moore. “It is a great message that we are sending to our kids.”
Lynn Trenning is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lynn? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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