Healthy Nutrition Guidelines for Vending & Micro-Markets: Meal Items

Meal items in vending machines and micro-markets must meet product mix guidelines, food and nutrient guidelines, and promotion, placement and calorie display guidelines.

Product Mix Guidelines

  • At least 50% of meal items in each vending machine and micro-market must be healthy meal items.
  • All meal items must have 0 grams artificial trans-fat.
  • Refrigerated vending machines and micro-markets only: two refrigerated meal items must have a vegetable or fruit listed as the first ingredient. Vegetable-based meal items packaged with salad dressings or dipping sauce are allowable if in its own container.
  • Frozen food vending machines and micro-markets only: two frozen meal items must be whole grain rich (whole grain listed as first grain ingredient or labeled with a whole grain stamp).

Food and Nutrient Guidelines

To qualify as healthy, meal items must nutrient guidelines for calories, sodium, sugar and fats (per package):

  • Calories: 700 calories or less
  • Sugar: 35% of weight from total sugars or less
  • Sodium: 800 mg of sodium or less
  • Fat: 35% of calories from total fat or less
  • Saturated Fat: Less than 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • Trans Fat: Zero grams of trans-fat

Some meal items are exempt from specific Food and Nutrient Guidelines.

  • All nutrients: fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables with no added ingredients; canned fruits packed in 100% juice or light syrup with no added ingredients except water; canned vegetables with no salt added/low sodium and no added fat.
  • Total and saturated fat: reduced-fat and part skim mozzarella, nuts, seeds, or nut/seed butters, whole eggs with no added fat.
  • Total fat: seafood with no added fat (e.g. canned tuna packed in water).
  • Sugar: dried fruits with no added sugars; dried cranberries, dried cherries or dried blueberries sweetened only for processing with no added fats.
  • Total fat, saturated fat, and sugar: trail mix of only dried fruits and nuts and/or seeds with no added sugars or fats.
  • Sodium: soups should contain no more than 480 mg sodium per 8 ounce serving; 720 mg sodium for 12 ounces; 960 mg sodium for 16 ounces.

Promotion, Placement and Calorie Display Guidelines

  • Only products that meet the Food and Nutrient Guidelines shall be promoted (e.g. buy one, get one). Pricing models that promote healthy choices by establishing lower prices for healthy meal items relative to other meal items are strongly encouraged.
  • Healthy meal items should be placed in positions with the highest selling potential.
  • Calorie information should be available in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration's Vending Machine Final Rule: Food Labeling; Calorie Labeling of Article of Food in Vending Machines.