Co. offers healthy vending machine snacks

April 2, 2010 9:13:23 PM PDT
If you're hungry and in a hurry, would you rather reach for a healthy snack in a vending machine?

A Chicago-area couple started Healthy U to do that; the company operates vending machines filled only with certified-organic or 100 percent natural products.

"The motivation was my kids and sometimes when they're at schools and we're not there, they don't have the best choices," said Hephner, Healthy U Vending.

Hephner started his company in May 2009 as an experiment after carefully selecting the types of food which would go into the machines. "Not everything has to be organic, but no artificial flavors or color and no chemicals of any kind."

So far there are about 25 healthy vending machines in the area. Before they are installed, Hephner and his team taste-test the prospective location.

"We let the people try it and sample it and tell us what you like and don't like and that is where we get the initial feedback," said Hephner.

That's what sold them at Layton Athletics in Ringwood. The owner of the youth fitness facility had to be convinced to place any kind of vending machines around these young people.

"I have three daughters and the vending machines at other gyms that were filled with snickers, coca-cola, ice cream, chips. I wanted something healthier," said Gary Layton, Layton Athletics.

Layton says the response from his students has been overwhelmingly positive. That's apparently also been the case at other health clubs, schools, and hospitals in the area. All kinds of health-conscious companies have been giving the natural foods a try.

" The response has been overwhelmingly positive and that is apparently also the case at other health clubs, school, and hospitals in the area," said Hephner.

The healthy vending snacks range in price from 85-cents to a $1.50 each. And it's a good bet you'll soon be seeing their machines somewhere near you.

If you'd like more information about these new vending machines and the company that supplies them,