Are healthy options the key to successful vending?

03/08/2009 - 00:00
Vending machine manufacturer Westomatic Vending Services Ltd claims that environmentally friendly machine features coupled with healthy food and drink options are the key to successful vending in schools.

The cost of energy in all UK schools is around £350M per annum. Schools release over 5 million tonnes of CO2/year, which is around 15% of total public sector emissions. Westomatic's environmentally friendly vending machines are particularly popular with schools as they are fitted with unique energy management systems, designed to reduce energy costs. For example, Westomatic's Sigma vending machine can save schools 280,320 watts per machine, per year. Or, to put it another way a saving of £290.40 in energy bills per machine over five years. While Westomatic's green machines prove popular with Bursars, the healthy contents go down well with the pupils. Torquay Girls Grammar School installed a 'refreshment bank' of Westomatic's machines, to serve a complete range of healthy snacks, drinks and chilled water at their school in Devon. Karen Northway, catering manager at the school said: 'Westomatic's machines have been a huge success. The pupils often purchase beverages from the OTIS and refill the bottles with water from the Azure. The 'bank' which includes; an OTIS, Solo Encore, Azure and SnackPoint machine (which we fill with healthy options such as dried fruit and nutritious cereal bars) provides an essential 'before and after canteen hours' service for pupils and teachers which helps to keep sales up." Westomatic's snack machines can stock a wide range of healthy snacks, with some schools even filling the machines with freshly made snacks such as wraps and healthy sandwiches, made on their own premises. A distinct lack of branding and large illuminated shop window makes the OTIS perfect for schools. Holding up to 400 cans and bottles or 40 different types of drink in almost any shape, size or material, the OTIS can be filled with healthy beverages such as fruit juices, bottled water and smoothies. All the machines have separate chilling zones and innovative temperature control, to ensure food and drinks are kept fresh and cool. Water provision is a key element of any healthy vending service to schools. Children should drink an average of 1.5-2 litres everyday, as dehydration has been proven to have an adverse effect on mental performance and ability to learn. Based on these guidelines, only a high capacity point of use water dispenser such as Westomatic's Azure can cope with the excessive demand of educational establishments. Plumbed into the mains, the Azure filters water through a UV purification system and removes any impurities and unusual tastes to provide purified fresh tasting, chilled water. The Azure's 500ml bottle-fill facility means pupils can refill bottles for an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic cups.

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