Published on January 28th, 2014 | by Jennifer Kaplan4
Greenwash Alert: H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending
Yesterday, I jumped the gun and wrote favorably about HUMAN Healthy Vending Company. I was wrong. HUMAN Healthy Vending wants you to believe that their products are better and more healthy, but in several cases they are not.
Ever since I wrote a post, Food & Beverage TrendWatch: H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending, its been bothering me. In the post I concluded that: I’d like to see more stringent vetting of products (like nix the Vitamin Water) … But, like marketing bottled water to kids, vending machines and snacks are not going away and so ‘healthy’ snacks seem better than the alternative.
Well, selling purportedly ‘healthy’snacks and drinks, like Vitamin Water, which contains artificial coloring and flavoring and almost as much sugar as a sodapop, is not the same as selling bottled water. Bottled water is troubling because of the packaging not because of the product. With bottled water no one disputes that the product is better for kids. On the other hand, many of the products sold in HUMAN vending machines are actually no better than then the junk sold in traditional vending machines. Therein lies the problem. HUMAN Healthy Vending wants kids and adults to believe that their products are better and more healthy. And, in several cases they are not.
In fact, when I tried to download HUMAN’s ‘Product Catalog’, instead they sent me a ‘Healthy Vending Handbook,’ that was a high-pressure sales document and did not contain a product list. Given that their site doesn’t provide a product catalog or list, its hard to tell how many of the 1000 ‘HUMAN-approved’ foods and beverages are unhealthy. Photographs on the site and the list of top selling items, however, show certifiably unhealthy products such as Popchips, Vitamin Water, Gatorade and Muscle Milk.
I would encourage HUMAN to openly publish clear and transparent product quality standards that includes a list of unacceptable ingredients in products and pull any products that do not meet the criteria. I, for one, would like them to pledge to only sell foods that are free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats.
So, I have to amend my original statement that HUMAN Healthy Vending is doing good, because they aren’t really. That said, I do believe they have the potential to do good. They just need to be more selective in the products they carry. Now, let’s see if they will.