Fruit at your fingertips

Illustration by Felipe Lobon, images from flickr.com

Healthy vending machines have revolutionized people’s idea of snacking. Chips and cookies are no longer the only option. Now, anyone can choose from a variety of fruits or vegetables.

Friday marked the unveiling of the new healthy vending machines on campus.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Brody Shulman, a second-year law student. “I have seen tons of students walking around with fruit, and the great thing is that it’s about half the price compared to Starbucks.”

The innovative new trend makes it easier and more convenient to eat healthy. Busy students may quickly stop by these vending machines on their way to classes.

All of the fruit is replaced three times a week in order to guarantee freshness.

“I’ve worked for UM for 15 years, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this,” Vice President of Auxillary Services Mel Tenen said.

There are currently four machines: two contain fresh fruit and two contain healthy snacks like granola bars, 100-calorie snacks and other low-calorie options.

The Ashe Building houses a fresh fruit machine and a healthy snack machine, the law school offers a fresh fruit machine and the University Center contains a healthy snack machine.

This new healthy eating movement and healthy vending machines has spread across America and, according to experts, it will continue to expand.

Stanford University recently introduced YoNaturals Natural and Organic Vending Machines, and YoNaturals is currently seeking other locations nationwide.

“Our plans are to expand the program,” Tenen said. “Based on student input and sales, to several more locations.”

All of the selections range from $1-$2.25.

“It is consistent with our wellness efforts. I think the students will appreciate it,” President Donna E. Shalala said.

Both she and Sebastian the Ibis attended the unveiling on Friday. The new healthy snack machines will replace duplicates of regular snack machines in some areas, and in other areas they will just be an addition.

Students like Brad Fishburger do not like the idea of the new machines.

“I don’t buy pre-packaged fruit,” he said.

The fresh fruit machine in the law school was the first machine to be available, and all of the selections have generated considerable sales.

“A combination of feedback from students and availability of these brand new machines are what prompted us to get them,” Tenen said. “These are the first of many.”

By the summer, the university plans to make all of the snack and drink machines accessible by credit and debit cards. At the moment vending machines across campus have limited credit and debit availability.

Rebecca Zimmer may be contacted at rzimmer@themiamihurricane.com.