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The health benefits and cost-effectiveness of complete healthy vending

Griffiths, Melda Lois, Powell, Eryl, Usher, Lucy, Boivin, Jacky and Bott, Lewis 2020. The health benefits and cost-effectiveness of complete healthy vending. PLoS ONE 15 (9) , e0239483. 10.1371/journal.pone.0239483

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Vending machines contribute to growing levels of obesity. They typically contain energy dense, high fat snacks and attempts at persuading consumers to switch to healthier snacks sold within the same machine have had limited success. This study explored the health benefits and cost effectiveness of the complete replacement of regular snacks with healthy items. Two vending machines were manipulated in a 6-month trial, with a healthy and regular range of products alternated between the two machines every fortnight. Healthy vending resulted in a 61% drop in calories sold relative to regular vending, significant with time and product range as random factors. There was no evidence of compensatory behaviour from nearby shop sales nor in multi-item purchases from vending machines. The impact on profit was less clear. Sales dropped by 30% during healthy vending but variability across product range meant that the change was not significant. Overall our results demonstrate that complete healthy vending can be introduced in hospitals without a catastrophic loss in sales nor compensatory behaviours that offset the public health gains of consuming healthier products.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 11 September 2020
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 08:55

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