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New Public Health Commitment is Underway:
More Products in Vending Machines Will Meet Public Health Standards
CHICAGO — July 16, 2019 — NAMA announced today that its members have completed the initial phase of a process to develop a public health commitment with the goal to finalize it by the end of 2019. The commitment will increase the availability of products that meet nationally-recognized public health standards sold in vending machines.
NAMA reported that it has completed the data analysis phase of the project which examined leading products sold through the channel and how they compare against public health standards for healthier options. This important component, in addition to a field test, will enable NAMA to understand where the industry stands today in offering healthier options, a critical step to ensure there is a definitive baseline against which to measure the industry’s progress toward its public health commitment.
“NAMA regards this initiative as an ambitious, substantial step by our industry to meet consumer demand for healthier choices,” said Carla Balakgie, NAMA president and CEO. “In the months ahead, we will continue to work with our members to formalize a concrete goal leading to a meaningful increase in the number of ‘better for you’ options in the marketplace.”
Balakgie also said that NAMA would launch a major effort to educate its members on the initiative, and to engage with food manufacturers to encourage them to support the public health commitment through new products and marketing.
“This is the right thing to do for our industry and consumers,” said Greg Sidwell, NAMA Chair and President of G&J. “NAMA has had a longstanding commitment in this area through our FitPick® and FitPick Select® programs. This initiative represents a giant stride by our industry to expand and support efforts to improve America’s public health.”
NAMA has had an industry wellness initiative in place for nearly 15 years. In 2005, NAMA launched FitPick®, a program providing nutrition information at the point of purchase, identifying products that meet recognized nutrition standards.
In 2015, NAMA relaunched the program, including FitPick Select® updated target nutrition standards aligning with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Smart Snacks in Schools.
NAMA has retained Keybridge, a data analytics firm, to monitor its members efforts to meet the public health goal. Keybridge has worked with the beverage industry and major food companies including McDonald’s Corporation to monitor industry self-led public health commitments.
“Our team of experts, together with leaders from the convenience services industry, have employed rigorous analyses and objectivity both in the development of this commitment as well as preparation for the monitoring and measurement phases,” said Robert F. Westcott, Ph.D., president of Keybridge.
Statements from Interested Public Health Organizations
Below are statements from national public health organizations regarding NAMA’s efforts to formalize a public health commitment:
Statement from Kathy Higgins, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
“The Alliance for a Healthier Generation applauds NAMA for its effort thus far in helping the vending industry develop an industry-wide commitment to incorporate more better-for-you snacks and beverages in their machines. For over a decade, Healthier Generation has worked with NAMA on similar and foundational initiatives, including helping develop NAMA's FitPick and FitPick Select programs that set nutritional standards for better-for-you items, including those in schools. We are excited to see the progress so far on this new commitment and eagerly await NAMA’s next steps towards the provision of more better-for-you items in our local communities.”
Statement from Nancy Roman, CEO, Partnership for a Healthier America
“PHA is pleased and encouraged by NAMA’s commitment to work with leading vending machine operators to ensure that more better-for-you items are available through vending machines. It’s a good step toward making the healthier choice the easier choice for busy consumers across the country, and we look forward to seeing how this effort progresses.”
Founded in 1936, NAMA is the association representing the $25 billion US convenience services industry. With more than 1,000-member companies — including many of the world’s most recognized brands — NAMA provides advocacy, education and research for its membership. Visit NAMA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.