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Vending goes health-conscious at Capital & Coast

6 June 2006

Snack vending goes health-conscious at Capital & Coast DHB

From today snack vending machines in Capital & Coast District Health Board sites will offer muesli bars, rice crackers and juice drinks instead of chips and chocolate as part of the DHB's wider effort to encourage good nutrition and healthy choices.

Vending machines selling the traditional high sugar, high fat snack foods have been removed and replaced with machines which offer staff and visitors more fibre and less salt with their snacks.

The machines are operated by specialist healthcare service provider, Medirest, which provides the patient food services and runs two onsite retail operations at Wellington hospital.

Director of clinical support services at C&C DHB and spokesperson for Fight the Obesity Epidemic, Dr Robyn Toomath, says it's part of the DHB's responsibilities to offer healthy food at its sites.

"As healthcare providers we must lead the way with regard to providing a healthy environment for our staff and visitors. We needed to work with an organisation that had a clear understanding of the DHB's goals in the area of nutrition and was prepared to make the initiative work."

A healthy vending machine has been in place for use by theatre staff for the past two months and has attracted much positive feedback. Managers hope that the rice dishes and fruit bars in the seven new vending machines now operating across the DHB's sites will be just as successful.

The best-selling item so far is Mother Earth Air Popped Popcorn.

"Better to eat this with 15% fibre and 3% fat than a chocolate biscuit with almost 30% fat," says Dr Toomath.

Medirest's New Zealand general manager, Ross Cameron, of Christchurch, says the company's multi-service approach has proved successful overseas, and is gaining ground in the local market. The company provide services ranging from a unique personal food service for public hospital patients and tailored nutrition regimes for rest home patients to the latest environmentally friendly cleaning technology.

"Specialist knowledge of the healthcare sector is increasingly important and Medirest can offer district health boards global best practice backed up with excellent local support. We have business relationships with eight of the country's 21 district health boards and provide food and support services to these DHB's in addition to a wide range of other healthcare providers throughout New Zealand."

ENDS

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