Vending Machines in The Workplace

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Success Stories

Meredith Corporation—Des Moines, Iowa

In the summer of 2008, the wellness manager at Meredith started to think about selling healthier options in the vending machines located in the buildings.  One problem he ran into was that employees were not buying the healthier options and therefore the vendor did not want to supply them, for fear they would lose money.  Instead of giving up the wellness manager started to build a campaign to help increase change in vending in the right direction.  He did this in two phases and worked with their vendor, Canteen.

Phase 1:  Canteen had on hand a Balanced Choices menu for vending machines that the wellness manager could view.  Canteen then donated 1200 products so Meredith could have four sampling periods.  During the sampling periods employees could try the new healthier products and then vote on their favorites.  The top eight products were then placed in the vending machines.

Phase 2 (6 weeks): Meredith and Canteen teamed up and put promotional stickers, with codes, on the back of healthy items in the vending machines.  The healthy items were then promoted via emails, electronic newsletters, and posters near the vending machines.  If an employee chose a healthier item they could get the code off of the sticker and enter to win a gift card.

The implementation of these two phases increased the sales of healthy items 60 percent and increased overall sales by 30 percent.  They had so much success, Canteen placed a “healthy only” vending machine at Meredith! 

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Tips for starting your own vending machine improvement, from the wellness manager at Meredith Corporation.

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  • If you do not already have an agreement with a vendor, consider building a campaign and making it part of your agreement with your vendor.
  • If your vendor is reluctant to implement healthier choices in your vending machines consider building a case and take it to the vendor.  The case should provide detailed information on what the vendor and the company can both provide.
  • If your company does not have a large budget to implement this or does not have the funds to give gift cards as prizes consider giving away company t-shirts or small workout materials, such as stretch bands, exercise balls, or jump rope.

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