Tennessee Mandates Automatic Merchandising Association 'Fit Pick' Program On State Properties

The State of Tennessee has issued an executive order mandating that 25 percent of the products in all state owned vending locations meet the National Automatic Merchandising Association's (NAMA) Fit Pick nutrition standards, NAMA Executive Vice President and COO Dan Mathews, NCE5.

"We launched Fit Pick three years ago in order to help consumers understand where different products fit into a healthy diet, and it's exciting to see that our work is making a difference," Mathews said in a prepared statement. "Since then the program has continued to grow and now has users world-wide. We're extremely proud not only of the program but also of the contribution NAMA has made in the health and wellness arena."

"We're excited to be moving forward with this initiative and appreciate NAMA's interest and support," said Joe Burchfield, Public Information Officer for Tennessee's Benefits Administration.

According to Mathews, Tennessee Automatic Merchandising Association (TAMA) lobbyist Martha Gentry played a significant role in encouraging the state to include the Fit Pick program in the new guidelines. Said Mathews, "Martha worked tirelessly to educate everyone involved about the value in using the Fit Pick program and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for her hard work."

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.

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. We're delighted to be working with the State of Tennessee and helping its public make smart snacking decisions."