Opinion Piece Pits Student Health Against Campus Vending Machines

May 27, 2015

In a recent Minnesota Daily letter to the editor, Terry Scott Niebeling writes of a conflict of interest he sees between The University of Minnesota’s emphasis on student health and its offering of “sugar utopias” around campus. Niebeling voices his concerns over the consumption of products with high levels of sugar. “It seems illogical that we, those at the University, pay homage and money to an industry that potentially markets products that attribute to deteriorating the health of American citizens. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America,” he writes in the op-ed.

He goes on to say, “They (the university) offer programs and counseling for mental health, sexual health and safety, though they do not outlaw or prohibit the sales of a product that could cause major health issues.”

Editor’s note: The vending industry has taken great strides over the years to introduce and offer a plethora of healthy items. Research presented at the NAMA OneShow found that 76 percent of vending operators actively promote better-for-you snacks in their portfolios and 86 percent have added food or beverage items to address concerns about nutrition. Our industry has always been about convenience and offering the consumer a choice of products.