US vending machines get calorie labels

VENDING MACHINES in America will soon carry information about the calories in the drinks on offer.


The new “Calories Count Vending Program” will be launched in municipal buildings in the cities of Chicago and San Antonio next year before being made available to vending customers nationwide.


Building upon previous industry initiatives that removed full-calorie beverages from schools and placed new calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can and pack, the new scheme will provide clear calorie information on vending machines, encourage lower-calorie beverage choices and remind consumers that “calories count” in all the choices they make.


The vending machines will display a “Calories Count” graphic reminding consumers to consider calories in their beverage choices with messages such as “Check then Choose” and “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage”. Calorie labels will be added to the selection buttons to show calorie counts per beverage container.


Drinks companies including Coca Cola, Dr Pepper Snapple and PepsiCo will also work with government leaders, foodservice operators, vending companies and other customers to increase availability of lower-calorie beverages in vending machines.


According to the American Beverage Association, the non-alcoholic drinks industry in the US has a “proven track record of providing meaningful solutions to help reduce obesity”.


National School Beverage Guidelines, for example, helped to remove full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and replace them with lower-calorie, smaller-portion choices.  The initiative has resulted in a 90% reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools between 2004 and the end of the 2009-2010 school year.