vending machines

Shutterstock / Lissandra Melo

Will Future Vending Machines Help You Make Healthier Snack Choices?

The new device was also created to help counter tax increases
vending machines

Shutterstock / Lissandra Melo

With the device, healthier snacks will be positioned at the top of machines and less healthy snacks will be located at the bottom of machines.

Most vending machines can tempt us with candy, chips, and more, but there’s a new invention that might deter us from making less healthy snacking decisions. Brad Appelhans, an associate professor of preventive medicine at Rush University Medical Center, has designed a device for vending machines that waits 25 seconds to drop processed snacks as opposed to healthier snacks, which are dispensed faster.


The device, called “Delays to Influence Snack Choice” or DISC, was created with the hypothesis that having to wait longer for a snack would make the consumer want it less, Appelhans told NPR.


"We were interested in the ability to test whether time delays can nudge people to healthier choices," he said.


For the purpose of the experiment, “healthy” snacks had to meet at least 5 of 7 criteria, including containing less than 250 calories, having under 350 milligrams of sodium or 10 milligrams of added sugar per serving, and containing no trans fats.


For months, Appelhans tested the theory by using the device in vending machines at Rush University and found that there was a 5 percent change in people opting for healthier snacks.