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Straight from the Headlines: Calorie Counting Vending Machines

Out of concern for the health of our nation and rising obesity rates, condemnation for sugary drinks has come to an all-time high. First came New York City’s ban on large sugary drinks being sold at restaurants, movie theaters, and other eateries. Now vending machine services are trying to do their part with new calorie count vending machines.

Regulation proposed by New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg puts a 16 oz size limit on cups and bottles of non-diet soda, sweetened teas and other calorie-packed beverages. The ban applies in fast food joints, movie theaters, workplace cafeterias, etc. It does not cover beverages sold in supermarkets or convenience stores. Reviews have been mixed for this piece of legislation. Now comes the newest advent in the regulation of sugary drinks.

According to the American Beverage Association, Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and Pepsi will begin displaying calorie counts on pop machine varieties as part of a new disclosure program call the Calories Count Vending Program which will kick off in Chicago and San Antonio in 2013 and then expand nationwide. The point of the program is to work hand in hand with the vending machine services to increase the availability of low calorie beverages in machines and to keep consumers aware of the amount of calories that they’re consuming with each purchase made from a vending machine.

The fronts of soda vending machines will display “Calories Count” signage with other messages like “Check then Choose” and “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage” to keep calorie consumption top of mind. Each soda selection will also display calorie counts per beverage container. The new machines are also slated to boost the availability of lower- and zero-calorie drinks as well to ensure that consumers are still able to choose from a variety of beverage options.

A mock-up of a new calories count pop machine provided by Coca-Cola showed 20-ounce bottles of Coke and Sprit inside of a vending machine, with labels on the selection buttons that state, “240 calories”.

Recently the New England Journal of Medicine posted a decades-long study of more than 33,000 Americans that showed evidence of sugary beverages interacting with genes that affect weight gain. This means that people who are predisposed to weight gain should be especially wary of sugary drinks such as soda.

Currently, there is no timetable for when all vending machines will be converted, but beverage companies will be working with vending machine services to convert all machines over time.