The majority of vending machines sell snacks and drinks. Typically, those snacks are not the healthiest of snacks, but there are plenty of healthy options that are available that actually are delicious and competitive with the unhealthy stuff. So, here’s a list of some healthy snacks for vending machines:
1. Dried Fruit
The classic dried fruit for a vending machine is raisins, but there’s any number of dried fruits that you could have. A quick list of dried fruits that are available and make sense in a vending machine – apple apricots, bananas, blueberries, cherries, coconut, cranberries, crystalized ginger, dates, mango, papaya, peaches, pears, pineapples, plumbs (prunes), and strawberries.
2. Chubby Snacks and Frooze Balls PB&J
Chubby Snacks are nut or seed butter, and jelly sandwiches that are pre-made and healthier than any others on the market (like Smuckers Uncrustables). Update: Frooze Balls now has PB&J balls that are very similar to Chubby snacks, but do NOT need to be refrigerated – and they actually might taste a little better because Frooze Balls do not have an artificial sweetener aftertaste.
3. Pea Snacks
Harvest Snaps are pea-based potato chip alternatives that are baked, so they have less fat, and they have a few grams of protein and micro nutrients. They have really great and interesting flavors beyond any brand of regular ol’ potato (except for rap snacks) and corn chips. Peeled Snacks Pease Please and Saya Green Pea crisps are other similar snacks.
4. Potato and Corn Chip Alternatives
Potato and corn chips are the standard for vending machine snacks, but they generally have a large amount of fat from the oil that they’re fried in, and potatoes don’t have a whole lot of nutritional value other than their calories. A few potato chip alternatives are: Chickpea snacks, pea snacks, veggies crisps, carrot chips, and apple chips. and ancient grain chips.
There’s many brands of granola out there, and not all of them are necessarily healthy because they contain a lot of sugar. A few brands that do not contain a lot of sugar are: Kind, Bob’s Red Mill, Bear Naked, Paleonola, Bakery on Main, and Wildway.
6. Packaged Fruit Cups
You might be thinking of canned fruit, but packaged fruits are decently nutritious (though certainly not as environmentally friendly as unpackaged fruits), though they often have a large amount of sugar – mostly natural sugar, but sometimes there is added sugar. You can get fruit cups of oranges, peaches, cherry mixes, pears, pineapples, and mangos.
7. Hummus Snacks
Hummus is a great healthy snack for vending machines and you can dip pretty much anything into it, and it comes in a variety of flavors. If you have a machine that can be kept at refrigeration temperatures, then you can sell humus snacks. Luckily, there is also a hummus snack that does not require refrigeration and it is called hummustir.
8. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a snack that is usually considered healthy and energy dense, hence it’s origin in hiking communities. Trail mix is typically a mix of nuts, dried fruits, and possibly chocolate like M&Ms. There are, of course, many brands of trail mix: 365, Orchard Valley, Planters, Nature’s Garden, and Oh! Nuts.
9. Apple Sauce
Though apple sauce might fall under packaged fruits, I’m adding it separately because it is so good. Mott’s is obviously the classic brand, with the cinnamon flavor being the most popular. However, there’s many other flavors including blueberry, strawberry, strawberry kiwi, mixed berry, mango peach, cherry, and sour granny smith. They are also all available in drinkable/squeezable pouches so you won’t need a spoon.
10. Fruit and Vegetable Puree Pouches
Just like applesauce is now available in pouches, there are many fruit and vegetable purees that are available in pouches. These started off as baby and toddler foods, but many adults have grown to like them as a quick, healthy, and tasty snack. These are great to offer in vending machines in places that have a lot of families, since parents are the ones doing the buying and both the kids and parents like these types of pouches. Some popular brands are Gerber, Nature’s Promise, GoGo squeeZ, Holle, Kirkland, Heinz, Happy Family, and Plum Organics. These are certainly healthy snacks for vending machines.
11. Packs of Olives, pickles and other fermented snacks
There are not many possibilities for packaged olives that are small enough for a vending machine, but Trader Joe’s Olive Packs are my top pick. Pickles get a lot of love, and there are several options available, but there’s also more obscure fermented snacks that will stay fresh in a vending machine. There’s Kimchi, Krauts, veggies and brines.
12. Seaweed Snacks
Seaweed is a popular snack in both Japanese and Korean cultures, and many Americans enjoy seaweed as well. Sheets of seaweed are the most popular form, and they can be just salted or come in a multitude of flavors.
Healthy Snacks for Vending Machines That Serve the Entire Family
It’s pretty clear that when children are young their parents try to keep them eating healthy for as long as possible. If you have a vending machine in a location that is ripe with young families, then you should be certain to have snacks for toddlers through adults to maximize sales. Especially with a credit card reader on your machine, a parent could be buying snacks for their entire family at your vending machine.