Counting Calories

Recently, the Affordable Care Act has been revealed to have a clause requiring vending machines to post the calorie counts for its contents. Companies will be responsible for maintaining the list of calories by the machine in an effort to provide the public with information about what they are buying. The rules apply to over 10,000 companies that manage over 20 machines, most of those companies being small businesses with 3 or less employees. Everyone from Houston vending businesses here at home to companies in the distant land of Hawaii will be complying with these new rules in their own innovative ways.

The policy stems from nationally increasing obesity issues. With the new law, lawmakers anticipate that consumers will be more attentive to their caloric intake and avoid less healthy options. Studies have provided mixed conclusions about this strategy; those in New York cite that customers chose a total of about 100 calories less in restaurants, while Pennsylvania has found no impact in choice at all. No studies of Houston vending have been conducted, but the results seem to be proving true for all facets of the food industry all over the country.

The rule also applies to restaurants with more than 20 locations. Some large chains already do this voluntarily, but now all lagging chains will be following suit. Vending companies and restaurants alike have a 1 year deadline to comply with the policy, though there is a filed request to have that deadline extended.

Keep up with this story and more at