Fresh Healthy Vending, a May-incorporated vending machine franchiser, is launching in its first non-test market the first week of October, and giving schools a payback for their participation.
|Courtesy Fresh Healthy Vending
San Diego-based Fresh Healthy Vending has 10 machines going into Tallahassee the first week of October, the first non-test market for the company.
The San Diego-based company, which specializes in vending machine products that meet nutritional standards set for food served in schools, plans to have 200 locations in 17 markets across the country by the end of the year. More than 450 products are available to stock the machines, including fresh fruits and vegetables, juices and packaged snacks.
Schools that add the companyâs vending machines can be part of a new grant program, which gives a $500 signing bonus and 15% of the net vending machine food sales back to the schools.
Fresh Healthy Vending is working with Del Monte and Dole on their vending machine items, hoping to be able to work through some distribution issues and carry them in the future. As of its first launch in ten locations in Tallahassee, it will carry fresh produce from its current partner, an organic distributor.
Although fresh produce has been part of the companyâs tests in southern California, the company is relying on fresh produce itemsâ performance in its first true accounts to plan their inclusion in different plan-o-grams for various machine placements.
âWeâve tested in 30 locations and carried sliced apples, carrots, celery and dips,â said Mark Sestak, marketing associate. âWe have menus for each level of school based on whatâs selling at those levels. We want to see what the sell-through is on it (fresh produce).â
Sestak said Bolthouse Farmsâ fresh-cut products with dips performing well in test markets.
âWe are very excited about the produce because itâs what the schools want, what they look forward to,â Sestak said. âFranchisees who operate the machines will do sampling events at the school. We want to promote it, or else the kids will buy junk.â
Schools make up 80% of the companyâs business, and it likes it that way.
âWeâre really, really focused on the education aspect of it,â Sestak said.
While any kind of vending machine in a school is filled and serviced every few days, Sestak said the challenge with fresh produce is the expiration date. The company will continue to monitor the movement of fresh produce from its machines to optimize to keep waste to a minimum.
Fresh Healthy Vending is hoping for regulations on minimum nutritional value of all food sold in schools to be pushed through, and is closely watching whatâs happening in Congress with reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.
Other start-ups, including H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending and Vend Natural are chasing the same business at schools, offices, health club and other places where people meet.
Information about Fresh Healthy Vendingâs school grant program, as well as educational materials for school administrators about Michelle Obamaâs Letâs Move campaign and other programs, is available at schools.freshvending.com.