New vending contract brings new machines, healthier options

Dining services partnered with national vending company Canteen to bring healthier snack options to VCU vending machines.

Janeal Downs
Staff Writer

VCU Dining Services over the summer replaced nearly 70 vending machines across campus thanks to a new contract with national vending company Canteen.

The new vending machines have more healthy snack options and a VCU logo on them.

“As part of the contract negotiations, the committee negotiating with Canteen requested a six month healthy vending snack trial,” said Tamara Highsmith, sales manager of VCU Dining Services.

National vending company Canteen supplied the machines following the expiration of VCU Dining Services’ previous contract with Aramark. The new machines come at no cost to students, Highsmith said. VCU retains nearly 30 percent of the profits made from these on campus vending machines with the contract.

“We’re actually looking to derive value from them,” she said, “so it doesn’t cost the university anything.”

By working with Canteen, Highsmith said, VCU Dining Services was able to select 10 percent of the vending machines in “high traffic locations,” and change 50 percent of the snacks to healthier ones as part of the semester-long trial.

New options include SunChips, Fig Newton bars, Kars Salted Cashews and others.

“What we are doing with the study is to determine how our population will buy and express interest in those products,” Highsmith said.

VCU Dining Services is monitoring sales from the new machines, which are placed next to existing ones, to see how the healthy options fare, Highsmith said. The trial will end after this semester and VCU Dining will decide whether to put more new machines around campus.

The trial mixed vending machines can be found in Cary Street Gym, Gladding Residence Center, Rhoads Hall, Brandt Hall and on the MCV campus at Larrick Student Center and Sanger Hall.

Sophomore biochemistry major Ashley Parks says she frequents the Cary Street Gym and the new snacks help boost her workout.

“I feel kind of good about it because (there) is really nothing healthy around campus,” Parks said.

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