Recently we were sent an article from The Guardian relating to healthy vending in the nations’ hospital vending machines. This is something we at Healthy Nibbles are acutely aware of. The company was founded following a visit that our CEO, Sara Roberts, took to a hospital – and was justifiably shocked to find the only options available in the vending machines were; chocolate, crisps, fizzy drinks, and sweets.
The article is based on a study conducted by the Department of Health and Social Care into reducing obesity and changing the dietary profiles of people within hospitals. In the trial, ‘unhealthy products’ were removed from vending machines in hospitals in Leeds, leading to “overall sales of drinks and snacks increasing” while “the products sold contained 25% less sugar and 26% less calories”. This just shows the desire for healthy foods, and the increased rate at which healthier snacks are sold.
The article goes on to state that far from just patients being frustrated at the lack of healthier options, the country’s incredible NHS staff have ‘regularly’ complained about the situation. This is largely because “staff working night shifts state that hospital vending machines are often the only meal option available to them”. With the demand for healthier options clear from; staff, patients, and visitors, it does beg the question why healthy vending is not available in every single UK hospital. Public Health England (PHE) even go as far as saying that changing the vending options at hospitals could “help tackle obesity among NHS staff, visitors and patients”
As a result, Katherine Button, coordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food declared “We call for these findings to prompt a nationwide change in the way hospital vending machines are stocked from now on”. At Healthy Nibbles we see the value in changing all approaches to vending and snacking, not just those in hospitals. However, it is clear to see the importance of offering healthy food to our front-line NHS workers and potentially severely ill patients.
Finally, while discussing this issue and the NHS it is important to remember that “diet-related ill-health is a leading cause of premature deaths in the UK and has a bigger impact on the NHS budget than smoking, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption”. As the UK’s largest healthy vending company, representing and accredited by the International WELL Building Institute, and offering fully nutritionally certified products – we believe now is time to act and change the attitudes of some of the UK’s biggest organisations to snacking and vending in the workplace.
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