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Tasmanian workplaces to introduce healthier vending machines

Tasmanian workplaces will be introducing food and drink options in vending machines thanks to new funding by the State Government.

“Unfortunately, vending machines have usually dispensed foods that are high in fat, sugar, salt and kilojoules and of limited nutritional value,” said Tasmanian Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne last Friday at St Luke’s Hospital in Launceston.

“We aim to turn this around.”

The Hospital is one of the first workplaces in the State that will be making healthier food and drink options available in on site vending machines.

Ms O’Byrne said the push for healthy vending machines in Tasmanian workplaces was part of the Healthier Options for Vending – Employer Resource (HOVER) project developed by Eat Well Tasmania and funded by the State Government.

“The program brings together a broad range of local employers, vending machine suppliers and the food industry to increase the availability, promotion and sales of healthier foods and drinks in workplace vending machines,” Ms O’Byrne said.

The HOVER project classifies food and drink as ‘Green’, ‘Amber’ or ‘Red’ according to nutrition content. Healthy options include items such as canned fruit, baked beans, unsalted nuts and seeds, reduced fat cheese and crackers, unflavoured popcorn and ready to eat meals where vegetables are a prominent ingredient.

“The work has culminated in the production of a range of resources that will help businesses across the State introduce healthier options into their vending machines,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“One of the first out of the blocks is St Luke’s [Hospital], partnered by Eat Well, vending machine supplier Isle Snacks Vending and the Community Nutrition Unit in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Ms O’Byrne said the State Government were also trialling healthier vending machines in Launceston General Hospital, the Royal Hobart Hospital and Oral Health Services.

The sites are expected to introduce the healthier machines over the next year.

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