Leisure rings the changes

Up and down the country leisure facilities are responding to a demand from savvy consumers looking for more nutritious post work out treats. With close to 7,000 gyms and almost 10 million members across the UK, there’s a clear opportunity for vending operators.

If consumer demands are changing, we should first ask why they are changing? Much has been said about government action to do battle with obesity, and the reports that it is on track to eclipse smoking as the biggest single preventable cause of cancer, surely puts the burden on everyone to make lifestyle changes. Cancer Research’s recent report revealed that if the projected

trends continue, obesity as a cause of cancer in women will overtake smoking by 2043. The charity’s UK prevention expert Prof Linda Bauld said: “The UK government must build on the lessons of smoking prevention to reduce the number of weight-related cancers by making it easier to keep healthy.” In many cases the message is getting through, and there are a few

examples of English councils which have taken steps to minimise snacks that are high in fat, sugar and salt in leisure centres. Earlier this year, it was reported less healthy snacks could be

removed from vending machines in council-run sports and leisure centres in the Bradford area following national guidance designed to cut down on childhood obesity. Meanwhile in Shropshire, a healthy eating initiative saw new vending machines packed with healthy snacks and drinks made with 100 per cent natural ingredients launched at libraries, with a plan to roll them out in schools, leisure centres and hospitals as well. Kevin Lewis, from Shropshire Council’s Help2Change team, said

the aim of the initiative was to improve the health of the public. “We are trying to buck the trend and give people access to a healthy range of snacks through vending machines in public buildings.”

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SNACK ATTACK Low calorie bars and energy boosting drinks are what springs to mind when it comes to the leisure/fitness environment, and there are plenty of examples of suppliers who have solutions for operators seeking a healthy alternative. According to the UK largest vending company Data (June/August

2017 UK per machine, per week), Juice Burst is rated as the number one juice drink in vending. Its makers believe this has to do with the fact that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what’s in their food and drink, with traditional ready-to-drink options lacking health credentials. Snacking too, has some notable names who are making waves in vending. Debbie King, director of commercial sales & marketing at

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