Consumption, attitudes, and trends of vending machine foods at a university campus: A cross-sectional study

Hayder Hasan, Moez Al Islam E. Faris, Maysm N. Mohamad, Ayesha S.Al Dhaheri, Mona Hashim, Lily Stojanovska, Rameez Al Daour, Malak Rashid, Lena El-Farra, Azza Alsuwaidi, Heba Altawfiq, Zainab Erwa, Leila Cheikh Ismail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Vending machines (VMs) have been identified as an obesogenic factor, offering mainly energy-dense and nutrient-poor foods, with limited healthy options available. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess consumption trends and attitude toward vending machine (VM) foods in a university setting. A web-based survey was conducted among 1250 students and staff. Most participants reported weight gain (43.4%) and poorer food choices (53.4%) since joining the university. Participants described VM foods as expensive (53.7%) and lacking variety (34.3%). Over 81% demanded the availability of healthier options. About 75% of participants were VMs users. The most frequently purchased VM items were water, chocolate, and chips. Males reported consuming nuts, soda, iced tea, and energy drinks more frequently than females (p < 0.005). The main reasons for using the VM were hunger and lack of time. Over 40% nominated fresh fruits, baked chips, sandwiches, and dry roasted nuts to be provided in the VMs as healthier food options. Males and those responsible for buying their own food were more likely to select healthier options (p = 0.001). Findings can be used to inform stakeholders of current vending behaviors and to plan tailored interventions to improve the nutritional quality of vended items and promote healthier food choices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2122
JournalFoods
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Beverages
  • Consumer
  • Food environment
  • Snacks
  • Vending machine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science

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