Helping make healthy choices at the vending machine | MomsCharlotte.com

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Michelle Lloyd is a freelance writer and contributor to MomsCharlotte.com.

Helping make healthy choices at the vending machine

04/14/13 22:12

Patricia Moore, 41 from Myers Park began Healthy Vending in 2012 and has taken off. Patricia’s machine have been in place for less than an year and she’s already seen significant growth both in terms of sales and new machine placement opportunities. Keep reading to learn more about Healthy Vending and where you can find healthy treats when out!

Q. How did Healthy Vending get started?

A. Having taken several years off from full time work to raise our three children, I found myself finally ready to jump back into the working world early last year. My only stipulations were that a new job be something meaningful to me personally and offer a flexible work schedule.

A few years ago, we found out that my daughter has allergies to all kinds of foods, including life-threatening reactions to nuts and seafood. As a result, I started reading all of our food labels. I couldn't help but notice that I couldn't recognize half of the ingredients in what we were eating. Over time, I began switching to healthier, organic products, reading alot, and learning what is really in our foods. When the opportunity for healthy vending came along, I knew it was right for me.

In March, I founded a healthy vending business here in Charlotte. I am a local operator for a franchise system out of California called Human Healthy Vending. Our machines offer healthy and great tasting alternatives to over-processed snacks and sugary drinks for students, athletes, and office employees on the go.

Q. What were some of the most shocking ingredients you found?

A. When I started looking at food labels, my first thought was, wow, I can’t even pronounce most of the ingredients. Not only that, very few ingredients could be found naturally in my kitchen. Generally, everything was over-processed. As I did research, I discovered high-fructose corn syrup in everything – not only snack foods, but bread, salad dressing… you name it! We also learned to cut out hydrogenated oils/transfats, as well as many artificial colors and preservatives.

Q. What were some of the first foods you gave up eating?

A. I don’t know that we really gave up much. We just started making better choices at the grocery store. We still snack – we just try to choose products that are made with a short list of all natural and recognizable ingredients.

Q. What is your favorite snack food?

A. My kids love Pirate Booty and Veggie Straws. Lately, they drink a lot of smoothies too – Naked Green Machine and Strawberry Chia from Trader Joes.

Q. How many vending machines do you have set up? Where can we find one?

A. We currently have 8 machines in the Charlotte area at locations such as Alexander Graham Middle School, the Levine Jewish Community Center, the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center, the Little Otter Swim School and CMC's Charlotte Pediatric Clinic.

Q. How can a business get set up to have one of your machines in their store or school?

A. Response to our machines and the healthy vending concept has been overwhelmingly positive. So much so, that we are now really looking to grow with demand. If you are interested in more information, please contact me at patti@charlottehealthyvending.com

Q. What types of snacks are in the machines?

A. Our machines carry a lot of our favorite snacks from home; Pirate Booty, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, Stacey’s Pita Chips and Clif Bars. The product mix is fully customizable to suit each location’s needs and preferences. Schools love Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk, while fitness facilities want high protein shakes, bars and trail mix.

Q. What is your goal for Healthy Vending?

A. My goal with this business is to increase awareness about the importance of eating right and to make healthy food more accessible. Obesity is a huge problem, especially with children, and we can't expect the situation to improve without education. I often do sampling events at my locations to introduce people to some of the products in my machines that are less familiar. I love to see their reactions as they learn that "good for you" doesn't have to taste bad! In addition to education, access is important. The presence of a Human Healthy Vending Machine ensures that a healthy snack option is available. Schools, medical facilities and corporate offices are seeing the importance of this trend as it falls closely in line with their fitness and wellness initiatives.

You can get more information online at www.charlottehealthyvending.com.

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