Sustainable vending becomes a reality
Chocolates, crisps, sugary soft drinks… The gastronomic range offered for years by vending machines has satisfied all our vices, but it has not exactly been an example of a healthy diet. However, since we have become aware of the importance of a more sustainable lifestyle, vending has begun to change its habits.
Whether for reasons of ecology or health, the truth is that the consumption of healthy products is becoming more and more popular. In Catalonia, 60% of the population has consumed certified organic food at some time, 47% do so at least once a month and 33% do so on a weekly basis, according to the Barometer of Perception and Consumption of Organic Food 2020, which is produced every year by the Generalitat (Autonomous Government of Catalonia). Moreover, these figures have not stopped increasing.
In fact, Spain is the largest producer of organic food in Europe and Catalonia is the third region, only behind Andalusia and Castilla la Mancha, in terms of organic surface area. And this, it is clear, translates into more organic supermarkets, more local shops and a growing interest in healthy vending in schools, public spaces, health centres and companies.
Since 2018, Catalonia has had a quality seal, promoted by the Agència Catalana del Consum and the Associació Catalana de Vending, which is awarded to operators that comply with the code of conduct for vending companies. The agreement was signed by more than 70 professionals from the sector, who undertook to improve the information and services they provide to consumers, such as detailing which products contain allergens.
The food that takes care of us
The regulations governing what vending machines have to contain are clear. Law 1/2010, on the regulation of retail trade, details it in articles 49 to 52. When vending machines offer food, they must also be registered in the General Sanitary Register of Food and Food Businesses. In addition, all vending companies have to operate under the European Directive 2006/123/EC and food companies have to comply with Regulation 852/2004 of the European Parliament and the Council.
Thus, it is recommended that vending machines prioritise drinks without sugars and additives, such as water, milk, 100% natural juices, coffee, tea and infusions. In terms of food, vending machines should contain fresh fruit, dried fruit that is neither salted nor fried, rice or corn cakes, sticks, packaged salads and sandwiches, preferably wholemeal bread.
However, beyond these recommendations, there are some companies that have gone a step further and are committed to even more responsible food vending. This is how the NGO Copade, which is dedicated to fair trade, joined forces with Easy Vending to offer fair trade and ecological vending machines. They are pioneers in Spain and the only difference with conventional machines is on the inside.
Also a pioneer in 100% ecological and healthy vending is Verd Vending company, which works in health centres such as the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu or in universities such as Esade. They work with Veritas products and ensure that all the food they offer has not been genetically modified, does not contain pesticides or fertilisers, does not contain added sugars or palm oil and is certified as organic food by the European Union.
In the end, the concern about food leads to other debates. Vending companies are also concerned, for example, about the environmental impact of vending machines. Therefore, they try to minimise gas emissions, as shown by the debates organised by the Associació Catalana de Vending. Because the ecological perspective is always an integral perspective that affects life as a whole. We are sure that, from now on, you will pay much more attention to the food contained in vending machines.
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