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US (NY): Popular carrot vending machine gone at High School

A popular addition to the lunch room at Fayetteville-Manlius High School when it first arrived, the baby carrot vending machine has since disappeared. During its first month, the machine dispensed 700 bags of carrots, but sales dropped to 90 in November and then 60 by last spring. The district goes out of its way to make lunches healthy at the high school: fruits and vegetables are easy to get; salads are part of the menu. Meanwhile, pizza and French fries are made as nutritiously as possible. When the district was offered one of the few carrot vending machines in the country, it jumped at the opportunity, which was well received by the students at first. "Once it came here, everyone likes all the new stuff, but then once everyone knew it was there, it kind of blended into the background and no one really thought anything of it," said sophomore Dan Thomas.

The campaign offered flashy bags – like potato chips – and was propelled by a marketing campaign using billboards and television. The campaign wasn't enough to win kids over after the initial surge. "The people realized they were carrots and not candy and so it kind of died off," said junior Rachel Bethmann. The remaining vending machines in the cafeteria offer only water, flavored water, and tea. Those machines are only operational outside of cafeteria hours. Junior Sean Purcell did not rule out a healthy alternative, but believes there are better options out there than carrots.

"I think apples would work better.  Apples to kids and teens in general are more popular, they're in everybody's lunches and they're sweeter than carrots are," he said. District officials say they won't rule out another vending machine that sells fruits or vegetables, but for now students and staff will have to get them from the cafeteria. The district did receive all of the profits from the carrots, which were sold at 50 cents a bag, which went back into the food services program at F-M.


Publication date: 10/27/2011


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