Healthy Nutrition Guidelines for Vending & Micro-Markets: Snacks

Snacks 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 snacks in each vending machine and micro-market must be healthy snacks.
  • All snacks must have 0 grams artificial trans-fat.
  • Refrigerated vending machines and micro-markets only: four snacks must be fruits without added fat, sugar or salt.

Food and Nutrient Guidelines

Any beverage that meets USDA's Smart Snacks in Schools meets the Healthy Nutrition Guidelines. Use Alliance for a Healthier Generation's product calculator to check compliance.

To qualify as healthy, the snack must:

  • Be a grain product that contains 50 percent or more whole grains by weight (have a whole grain as the first ingredient); or
  • Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food; or
  • Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; and

The snack must also meet the following nutrient guidelines for calories, sodium, sugar and fats (per package):

  • Calories: 200 calories or less
  • Sugar: 35% of weight from total sugars or less
  • Sodium: 200 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 snacks 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.

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 snacks relative to other snacks are strongly encouraged.
  • Healthy snacks 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.