More than 1,200 organizations from coast-to-coast registered in 2010 for the National Automatic Merchandising Association's (NAMA) Fit Pick healthy vending program, NAMA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Mathews, NCE5 announced. According to figures compiled by NAMA, in 2010 1,215 organizations registered for the Fit Pick program including 162 government agencies, 99 schools and school systems, 247 worksites and 573 vending companies.
In discussing the popularity of the program Mathews said in a prepared statement, "Across the country and from state-to- state our Fit Pick healthy vending program is sweeping the country. Not only have states like Tennessee and Mississippi adopted the program, but branches of the military like the Army and Air Force are using the program too. We're extremely proud not only of the program but also of the contribution NAMA has made by providing valuable tools that help consumers better understand how to maintain a healthy lifestyle."
NAMA's Fit Pick program is designed to educate consumers about products in vending machines that meet specific nutrition standards, and was unveiled nationally by the association in 2008. The program includes stickers that are placed in front of qualifying products, thin clings that explain the nutrition standard, coin slot stickers and round stickers to help educate consumers as well, and is part of the organization's Balanced for Life program which is designed to educate consumers about the elements of a balanced diet and the importance of physical activity.
Over the past year there were many highlights for the program including:
- The state of Tennessee mandated that 25 percent of the products in vending machines located on state property must meet Fit Pick guidelines;
- The Mississippi State Department of Health officially adopted the program;
- The program was implemented at all 14 Army installations that provide Advanced Individual Training.
While the program has been overwhelmingly popular in the U.S., the program is also becoming increasingly popular around the world as well.
According to Mathews, last year the program was adopted in locations in Puerto Rico, Korea and Japan.
The Fit Pick site and materials provide a complete, cost effective, step-by-step roadmap for organizations, communities, or vending operators that want to incorporate healthier options in the vending machines, but don't know how or where to start.
Concluded Mathews, "NAMA created the Balanced for Life and Fit Pick programs because we wanted to be part of the solution, helping consumers everywhere understand the elements of a balanced diet and the importance of physical activity. It's so exciting to see our program adopted in so many locations and truly helping the public make smart snacking decisions."