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NHS Cadbury Ban Is About Price, Not Nutrition

NHS Cadbury Ban Is About Price, Not Nutrition

Your next visit to an NHS hospital will likely mean you won't have access to Cadbury brand chocolates and other snacks – either in vending machines or with over-the-counter service. The NHS and its supply chain partner have banned Cadbury products. But it's not about nutrition, it's about price.

As a company that believes in the value of healthy vending machines, we are more than pleased with initial NHS efforts to increase the number of healthy snack choices available to visitors of medical facilities. And although the recent decision to ban Cadbury products gives us yet another avenue to promote healthy vending options, the fact remains that the decision is not about nutrition.

According to a variety of news sources, Cadbury's US owners have raised the price on products sold to hospitals. That's not necessarily a bad thing if costs can be passed on to customers. But that's apparently not the case for the NHS. Why remains a mystery.

At any rate, NHS leaders have directed NHS Supply Chain to find savings of at least £300 million. They have decided that one way to save is to stop carrying Cadbury products. The decision affects roughly 140 health trusts that, up until this point, have purchased Cadbury products through NHS Supply Chain.

Let's Discuss Health and Nutrition

While those of us who supply healthy vending machines to organisations like the NHS have no animosity toward Cadbury and its parent company, it should be obvious that the NHS ban offers a wonderful opportunity to open yet another discussion about health and nutrition. What people purchase from vending machines does affect their overall health. We need to talk about that.

Last October, the NHS banned super-sized chocolate bars from its facilities. Since then, visitors have been unable to purchase chocolate bars with more than 250 calories at hospital cafés, stores, and vending machines. NHS officials defended their decision as one of looking out for the health of visitors.

The health organisation's rationale is based on the reality of increasing obesity rates across the UK. Banning the super-sized sweets may not have any measurable impact on our collective health, but it does make clear that the NHS will not support poor eating habits that lead to issues like diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, and obesity.

To us, this is all an invitation to better promote healthy vending machines stocked with items like protein bars, fruit products, healthy drinks, and so on. We won't lie; we'd like to see the NHS and other organisations that have taken a similar stand fully embrace healthy vending machines as an alternative to traditional vending. Whether that means we compete side-by-side with other vendors or our machines replace theirs completely is of no matter to us.

UK consumers are more than ready for healthier vending options. The ban on Cadbury, even if it is over price, further illustrates that there are other options out there. We are happy to supply them.


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