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When Nutritional Vending Machines Lead to Better Things

Picture of a Hospital with Healthy Vending Machines

We are fairly certain you have heard of the NHS plan to rid British hospitals off unhealthy foods in vending machines. A few years back, the NHS strongly encouraged hospitals to reduce sales of fizzy drinks and high calorie snacks by replacing them with better options. Hospitals answered the call by installing nutritional vending machines.

In the year-and-a-half since the programme began, hospitals have successfully completed their mission. They have reduced sales of unhealthy snacks and more than made up for it with healthier alternatives. As we've chronicled in previous blog posts, many of the hospitals are now making more money on their nutritional vending machines than they made with the old machines.

It actually gets better though. According to the Mirror, Tameside General Hospital is taking things to the next level by completely getting rid of all unnecessary high-calorie foods and replacing them with better alternatives. Rumours say that their plan could spread across the entire NHS system if it proves successful. The Tameside plan is an example of nutritional vending machines leading to better things.

What They are Doing

Like most other NHS hospitals, Tameside began by changing up its vending solutions. They reduced sales of full-fat drinks and sugary snacks and increased sales of healthier foods. Things went so well that they completely did away with their traditional vending options. No vending machine in the hospital dispenses high-sugar, high-calorie products.

Moving beyond vending, the hospital makes a point of delivering healthy meals to staff members who cannot take time away to eat properly. This solves a big problem that is systemic in the healthcare sector: staff too busy to eat proper meals subsist on high-calorie, high-sugar snacks.

If that's not enough, there's more. The hospital even sponsors a regular farmers market. That market provides access to healthy, fresh foods for both staff members and visitors alike. What a great idea!

Creating a New Example

We are thrilled to hear of what's going on at Tameside. It's always good when installing nutritional vending machines leads to an entire change of attitude. But what is most intriguing to us is the reason given for the hospital's dramatic transformation. According to the Mirror, hospital administrators were convinced to implement the changes when they realised they were setting a bad example.

Doctors, nurses, and support staff have long made a habit of encouraging patients to take care of themselves and adopt healthy eating habits. But somewhere along the way, they realised that what they were saying did not match what they were doing. Administrators got together and decided that they needed to change staff eating habits if they expected the advice given to patients to be credible.

In short, Tameside General Hospital has decided to lead by example. In order to do so, they've had to create a whole new example within their facilities. That means out with the old foods and in with the new. And to think, nutritional vending machines started it all.

Sources:

Mirror – https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/low-calorie-hospital-healthy-eating-13850821