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Review: Changes in Vending Machines Can Promote Health

Reducing prices and increasing availability increases sales of healthier choices

MONDAY, Nov. 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Pricing and availability strategies can improve nutritional quality of purchases from vending machines, according to a review published in the December issue of Obesity Reviews.

Allison Grech and Margaret Allman-Farinelli, Ph.D., from the University of Sydney, conducted a systematic review to determine the ability of nutrition interventions in vending machines to elicit behavior change and improve the diet quality or weight status of consumers. Data were included from 12 trials; the intervention settings included schools, universities, and workplaces.

The researchers found that sales of healthier choices were increased by reducing price or increasing availability. Heterogeneous results were seen for point-of-purchase nutrition information interventions; when measured, small changes to purchases were observed.

“This review offers evidence that pricing and availability strategies are effective at improving the nutritional quality foods and beverages purchased from vending machines,” the authors write. “Evidence on how these interventions alter [the] consumer’s overall diet or body mass index is needed.”

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