2bU vending machines bring healthier snacking options to campus

Some students do not have time for a sit-down meal or the desire to consume the standard “junk foods” from vending machines.

But this semester, USF has partnered with Canteen Vending Services to install machines that offer healthier alternatives to the average snack food. Canteen provides its clients with “healthful vending machines” named 2bU.

“More and more of our customers and clients are asking for healthier alternatives to traditional mainstream vending products,” John Eastlack, Canteen’s district general manager said. “We worked together with USF in rolling out our 2bU program in an effort to provide that wider selection of products which promote a healthier lifestyle.”

Jeff Mack, assistant vice president of USF Campus Business Services, said the 2bU program is in response to an agreement between USF and Canteen.

These vending machines, located outside the Library and Cooper Hall and one on the USF St. Petersburg campus, integrate some of the most popular organic, all-natural and nutritious snack brands. Canteen attempts to provide alternative snack foods that cater to individuals who prefer vegan, gluten-free or kosher diets, while also using products that are locally sourced.

Some of the brands include Clif, NuGo, Zico, Honest, Kettle, Larabar, Kind, Newman’s Own and Barbara’s. Most of these brands specialize in using organic, non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) and all-natural ingredients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults, or 35.7 percent, are obese. With the growing obesity epidemic in America, the desire for eating “nutritious choices” is growing.

Some students such as Danielle Davis, a senior majoring in creative writing, were already familiar with 2bU prior to the fall semester.

“I was already familiar with the 2bU brand, so I was really pleased to see a vending machine with their products on campus,” Davis said. “It’s nice to see healthier snacks, since there is not a lot of ‘good-for-you’ options, if you rely on dining dollars.”

Prices for the new vending machine, however, range from 75 cents to $3.25.

But in the long run, Jennifer DiPrete, director of Wellness Education, said the benefits outweigh the costs.

“Eating healthier food is better for the body and the brain,” she said. “Foods that contain a good balance of nutrients fuel the body for optimal performance. Students who eat well may be able to concentrate longer and focus better.”

Mark Tas, a senior majoring in mass communications, said he is excited about the new machines.

“I think it’s awesome that there’s a demand for them on campus and I love that they offer things like Honest Tea and Kind Bars, which I would otherwise be unable to find on a break between classes,” he said.

Because of the positive response, Mack said Canteen is considering adding machines at Campus Recreation and USF Health. Canteen is also stocking normal vending machines with healthy products, he said, because of the high demand.