Calorie Labeling on Soft Drink Vending Machines

Vending Machine Calories

You may have heard the news that soft drink vending machines will soon begin labeling the calories on each bottle sold, so that consumers can make “informed choices”.

The FDA has not gotten around to specifying exactly how to label vending machines. In a classic move by companies about to be regulated, the aforementioned companies are preempting any ordinance the FDA may set by deciding for themselves how the calorie information will be shown to consumers. And accompanying it with a big PR splash to appear “responsible”

To the companies’ credit, the calorie count will appear right on the selector button for each individual beverage. A 20 oz bottle of Coke (2.5 cups worth) will be labeled as having 240 calories. Most people that buy a 20 oz bottle consume it in its entirety. Lower calorie choices will be offered as well. Not that a 0 calorie Diet Coke is a healthy drink…

The vending machine calorie labeling program will initially roll out in Chicago and San Antonio as a pilot.

Do you think people will drink less soft drinks as a result?

  • Mayan Orgel

    Again with the calorie counting nonsense?! Calories as just a number, have little, if any, impact on health. Where the calories are coming from is far more important. Counting calories can be quite dangerous and encourages terrible eating habits. Artificially sweetened soft drinks that have ZERO calories can cause diabetes, hormonal imbalances, cancer, autoimmune disorders and obesity… to name just a few health risks. Yet people see that these toxins contain ZERO calories and delude themselves into thinking they can consume infinite amounts without consequence. Meanwhile, these people get more and more addicted to these substances without even realizing it.
    Is this what America considers informed decisions? Where is this so-called information?
    How about adding a label listing the ingredients with the risks of each? That would be a start toward giving people the freedom to make informed decisions…

    • Firedragon

      Some people prefer to ignore the problem rather than change. As the saying goes “ignorance is bliss”?????!!!!!

    • James Cooper

      Now I don’t want to say that artificial sweeteners are healthy, but I do not believe there is any peer-reviewed research suggesting that they cause any of these things. If there is, please point me to it.

  • Chris Hiestand

    I would guess that calorie labels in general will reduce the amount of calorie-rich soda consumed. Whether or those not consumers will just switch to diet is another question. Whether or not diet soda is more unhealthy than regular soda is yet another question (though I suspect regular will be worse thanks to our maliferous friend diabetes).

    As someone who monitors their calorie intake (and is somewhat knowledgable about nutritional information), I find calorie labels helpful guides and I support this step. Mayan Orgel makes a good point that nutrition and health involve much more than simple calorie intake; but given that most Americans consume too many calories I think posting calories is a good first step.

  • Carol

    FDA has indeed (as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010) proposed how the info would be presented. Basically, it is as follows:

    “…if an article of food
    is sold from a vending machine that does not permit a prospective
    purchaser to examine the Nutrition Facts Panel before purchasing the
    food or does not otherwise provide visible nutrition information at the
    point of purchase and the vending machine is operated by a person who
    is engaged in the business of owning or operating 20 or more vending
    machines, the vending machine operator must provide calorie information
    for the food. Specifically, the vending machine operator must “provide
    a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection
    button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the
    number of calories contained in the article.”
    See also:

  • Jacob Wadsworth

    This is a good way for people to be aware so that they can plan their diet but this may have a neagtive effect to the vending machine business because of the possibility that people won’t buy it anymore. –

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