Quaker Valley first county district to offer Fresh Healthy Vending services
They might look like average vending machines, but those craving a high-calorie soft drink or salty potato chip won't find them here.
Quaker Valley is the first school district in Allegheny County to house Fresh Healthy Vending machines inside their schools. The high school and middle school each received two of the machines — which offer nutritious snack and beverage options, such as organic milk, juice, healthy granola bars, baked chips and crackers, and fruit strips — in February.
Fresh Healthy Vending franchise owner Neil Watko said the Mt. Lebanon and Deer Lakes school districts have signed agreements for the machines as well.
The districts are among a growing number of local schools to stock vending machines with healthy food choices.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has forced districts across the nation to comply with federal mandates for all food sold in schools.
On July 1, the new Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards will go into effect. Under the new rules, items must not exceed 200 calories and 230 milligram of sodium. There are limits on fats and sugar, too.
Jennifer Reiser, Quaker Valley's director of food services, said Quaker Valley High School used to have a few regular vending machines and a school store that sold cookies and other snack items that were popular with students.
“We were worried (about what would happen) when the guidelines went into effect,” she said.
District leaders were looking at options for nutritious snacks when they decided to try the Fresh Healthy Vending machines.
The machines, which were of no cost to the district, take cash and credit cards for items ranging in price from $1 to $2.25. Watko said they have, on average, about 70-plus vends each school day between the middle and high schools. The district receives 15 percent of the profits, Watko said.
The machines remain on all day, aside from lunch periods, because they are not allowed to compete with the National School Lunch Program.
Reiser said they seem to be popular, especially at the high school, where it's not uncommon to see a line form before the machines automatically turn back on at 1 p.m. each day.
On April 2, at a few minutes before 1, freshman Vince Siciliano was waiting to purchase a bottle of strawberry lemonade. He said he buys one almost every day.
“So far, I think it's going pretty well,” Reiser said.
Kristina Serafini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.