Visitors to ThedaCare’s hospitals will soon have healthier options to choose from at the facility’s vending machines.
Wisconsin-based ThedaCare is switching all of its vending machines to a single provider who will offer a mix of healthy snacks and beverages along with traditional favorites, creating more variety for visitors and ThedaCare employees. The new vending machines will be installed at Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, and ThedaCare Medical Center-New London beginning Jan. 20.
“When we looked at vending across the ThedaCare facilities, we found multiple vendors, a wide variance in food quality, and lots of soda and junk food,” said Maureen Pistone, senior vice president of talent development and human resources for ThedaCare. “We talked to staff members and visitors who told us they still want to be able to get a soda once in a while, but they also want some fresh food options during hours when the cafeterias aren’t open.”
There are currently more than 70 vending machines throughout ThedaCare. About 87 percent of the items currently offered are considered “unhealthy” because they contain high amounts of preservatives, fat, sugar, salt and/or chemicals. The new vending provider will offer options such as fruit, vegetables, salads and sandwiches in addition to the current snack food.
As the machines change across the system, ThedaCare health coaches will post signs in the vending areas letting staff and visitors know about the new options. A team of employees helped choose the new vendor by taste-testing the fresh food items to ensure they were appealing.
“The salads and sandwiches are good and they’re reasonably priced,” said Patty Van Beek, supervisor of ThedaCare Healthworks. “We also plan to offer samples as the new machines are installed so people can try items before they buy them.”
The new machines will have credit/debit options and will also be more energy efficient. In addition, the new vending plan could potentially save more than $8,000 annually in energy costs.
ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of seven hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, Shawano Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, Community Memorial Hospital in Berlin, and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, ThedaCare At Work, ThedaCare At Home and Heritage/Peabody campus. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.