Sandy Larson, senior director and counsel, government affairs for the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) testified this week at a hearing in Los Angeles regarding the proposed ban of the sale of sodas in vending machines at Los Angeles, Calif. city parks.
“At NAMA, we are concerned about obesity and overall health issues and have developed far-reaching programs including “Balanced for Life” and “Fit Pick” to educate our members and consumers regarding healthy choices and the need to balance calories consumed and exercise,” said Larson.
“There is also inequity here. This proposal targets vending unfairly when other retail options for soda including push carts, catering trucks and stores are in close proximity of vending machines,” she continued. “In addition, this could negatively impact our members, many of whom are small business owners – a ban like this could lead to job loss.”
The matter has been tabled for 45 days for review by city departments, including the city attorney.
In addition to Larson those testifying in opposition to the ban include Larry Atnip, Atnip Co. and first vice president, California Automatic Vendors Council; Richard Cassel, First Class Vending; and David Thorp, director of government affairs for the American Beverage Association.
Those testifying on behalf of the vending industry and beverage companies expressed a willingness to work with the city council and the department of parks and recreation on a plan to provide a variety of products in vending machines, including soda.