Food News: Minibars, Vending Machines Offer Healthy Alternatives

by in Food News, August 7, 2011
vending machine
Coming to a vending machine near you: healthy snacks.

Hotel and resort minibars are getting a healthy makeover. The Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Four Seasons are just two companies in a handful of hotel chains opting for healthier minibar options, according to a recent Marketwatch report. Instead of the traditional calorie-filled junk food fare, guests can choose to snack on products like organic Clif Bars, Terra chips and gluten-free energy bars.

Why the sudden change of heart? Hotel patrons are actually clamoring for healthy options. The trail mix and cashews outsell the chocolate cookies, and Fiji Water is the minibar’s most popular item at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, Adam Martindale, the resort’s director of food and beverage, told Marketwatch.

Staples like chips, sodas, candy and alcohol aren’t going away, but by providing more organic, gluten-free and low-calorie snacks, travelers may be more apt to purchase something from the minibar rather than not.

Resorts aren’t the only ones turning to healthy alternatives. According to a press release from Fresh Healthy Vending, the company’s climate-controlled vending machines are in more than 600 campuses across the country.

The goal in offering products from Kashi, Stonyfield Farm and popchips is to “help make the collective, and individual, student body healthier,” Jolly Backer, the CEO of Fresh Healthy Vending, said in the release.

It’s not uncommon for students to crave snacks on campus and, according to the release, Healthy Vending is there to make sure students have healthy alternatives every step of the way.

“The ability to put a healthy vending machine on campus is essential,” Backer said in a recent interview. “It gives kids and college students access to quick, convenient foods that are also packed with the nutrition they need.”

TELL US: Do healthy offerings make you more likely to purchase a snack from a mini bar or vending machine?

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