NAMA, the association representing the US convenience services industry with the support of the Partnership for a Healthier America and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, has announced that it has adopted a public health commitment to substantially increase the percentage of ‘better for you’ offerings to 33% in the nation’s vending machines.
The commitment, implemented over the next three years, represents a nearly 40% increase over current levels of ‘better for you’ offerings – those that meet at least two recognised public health standards.
“There are nearly four million vending machines serving snacks and beverages every day, 24/7, across this country,” said NAMA CEO Carla Balakgie. “Vending is everywhere consumers work, play and live and NAMA regards this initiative as a bold, ambitious, and meaningful step to meet the growing consumer demand for healthier choices.”
Balakgie made the announcement in New York City at a special briefing where she was accompanied by leaders from the convenience services industry, as well as representatives from the Partnership for a Healthier America and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
“Our fundamental goal is to make healthier choices accessible to all,” said Nancy E. Roman, CEO of the Partnership for a Healthier America. “We applaud NAMA and its members for their efforts with this commitment and we look forward to helping to make it a success.” Partnership for a Healthier America will collaborate with NAMA on the measurement and evaluation components of the public health commitment.
“The Alliance for a Healthier Generation commends NAMA and its members for their commitment to providing more ‘better for you’ products to their customers,” said Kathy Higgins, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “We believe that many actions like this taken across sectors will create the systemic changes needed to ensure that all children and families have the opportunity to lead healthy lives. We are excited to join NAMA at this critical step in this journey, leveraging our strengths in stakeholder engagement and community activation to maximise the impact of voluntary industry action.”
The commitment is the latest and most comprehensive effort by the industry directed at public health. Beginning in 2005 with the launch of FitPick, a ‘better for you’ labelling program, the industry has worked collaboratively with industry members and national public health organisations to be part of the solution.
“In the months and years ahead, we will continue to work with our members to measure the results of this commitment to deliver a meaningful increase in the number of ‘better for you’ options in the marketplace. We’ll also continue to work collaboratively with public health partners, and to engage with food manufacturers to encourage them to support this important initiative through new products that meet the commitment,” said Greg Sidwell, NAMA Chair.