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NHS Action Invites More Healthy Vending Machines

Picture of NHS Trust Building

In an effort to force trusts around the country to reduce sales of sugary drinks, ranking officials within the NHS have threatened to outright ban sugary drinks if local management do not find a way to reduce sales of the products. Chiefs have set a target of 10% or less of total sales, meaning local trusts need to reduce sales of sugary drinks to that level or face a ban.

While we don't take any moral or ethical stand on the NHS decision to reduce sales of sugary drinks, we do see their actions as an invitation to more healthy vending machines in hospitals and clinics. People are going to buy food and drink from vending machines anyway, so we might just as well provide healthier options that will meet their needs and make NHS chiefs happy.

A Voluntary Effort – for Now

When the NHS originally launched its programme to reduce the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals, it was designed to be a voluntary programme. The Express says that nearly two-thirds of all NHS trusts have already signed up to the programme. More than 90 have not. The NHS deems this unacceptable. They have already begun to warn trusts and their suppliers that they will institute a ban if those holding out don't take some concrete action by springtime.

The NHS is apparently committed to reducing sales of soft drinks, milkshakes, and hot drinks that include added sugar, according to the Express. Their plan apparently does not apply to sports drinks that may contain some amount of sugar. However, no one knows for sure.

Among those trusts that are already aboard with the NHS plan, some have voluntarily banned the drinks in question. Others have continued to allow sweetened drinks as long as they don't contain sugar. The unfortunate fallout from this approach has been inconsistency across the NHS system, which is neither good for consumers nor suppliers.

What It Means to the Industry

As a leader in healthy vending, we see the NHS action as a game-changer for our industry. Reducing the sales of sugary drinks will not affect our bottom line or our future profitability. But it will reshape our strategy for stocking vending machines.

Nutrivend is a company already built around health and nutrition. For us, any limits on sugary drinks will have very little impact on the products we stock. Such limits will have an impact on other companies who focus mainly on the kinds of foods the NHS is trying to get rid of. In the end, it may come down to a transition to all healthy options if those vending companies want to stay in business.

We will be closely monitoring how NHS trusts decide to comply with the sugary drinks mandate. In the meantime, Nutrivend will keep doing what we have always done: work with our customers to stock healthy vending machines in gyms, leisure centres, medical facilities, and anywhere else vending is profitable.

Sources:

Express – https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/897083/sugar-ban-hospital-drinks-nhs-england-vending-machines