No more candy in the park

Minneapolis parks need to have healthier options in their vending machines.

by Editorial board

Ten Minneapolis parks took part in a trial last year to gauge the profitability of offering healthy snack options in vending machines. The results are in: They show comparable revenue between parks with healthy snacks and those with less healthy snacks. Minneapolis no longer has an excuse not to offer healthy snacks in park machines.
In the 10 volunteer parks, healthy snacks replaced many of the unhealthy snacks that are characteristic to vending machines. Prior to the study, only an average of 4 percent of the foods offered in the parksâÄô vending machines were âÄúhealthy.âÄù
The fact that one is unable to find a healthy snack option at a park âÄî a location where physical activity is encouraged âÄî is unacceptable.
It is counterproductive to provide active kids with these unhealthy foods that will negate their physical activity at the park without giving them an alternative.
In the trial, at least 75 percent of vending machine offerings had to be healthy. The definition of a âÄúhealthyâÄù snack was based on federal regulations regarding fat, sugar and sodium.
The experiment monitored what effect healthy offerings would have on revenue. Aside from one park whose revenues sharply dropped, all other parksâÄô revenues stayed roughly the same.
Minneapolis underestimated its citizens: Consumers still purchased items from the vending machines, even though the items were healthy foods.
Healthy snacks should not be forced upon the public, but they should be available for those who want them. Minneapolis should provide the option to choose healthier snacks by providing them in all vending machines.