Are We Getting what We Pay for?

Caroline Stott

Vending machines at East are a common a go-to for the majority of the student body, whether it’s for a snack, a drink, or a quick bite for lunch.

Out of 20 students interviewed,12 of them said that they use vending machines regularly while only 8 of them said that they use the school vending machines rarely or not at all. However, just because these students use the vending machines, does this really mean they are happy with them?

While the students who use the vending machines regularly continue to buy what’s available, many are unhappy with their options.

All items available for purchase are deemed healthy alternatives for their sugary counterparts. Currently, there are two vending machines dedicated to drinks. In one, there are options of diet tea, water, flavored waters, apple juice and orange juice. In another, there are healthier alternatives to widely popularized sodas such as diet coke, cherry coke zero, coke zero and diet sprite.

However, all of the drinks listed previously are not necessarily healthier regardless of the absence of sugar. These diet sodas contain an artificial sweetener called aspartame, which has been deemed safe for consumption in small amounts by the FDA.

Even though it has been cleared by the FDA, a 2017 study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal has suggested that people who consumed sweeteners such as aspartame regularly are at more of a risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Aside from drinks, there are also vending machines that provide food and snacks. These snacks include a variety of whole grain and or baked chips, granola bars, whole grain chewy cookies and occasionally string cheese.

These options are popular among students, but 30% of students who use the vending machines wish there was more of a variety of chips, and that these snacks were not whole grain nor fat reduced.

Overall, the most common complaint from the student body is that vending machine prices have gone up recently with drinks and variable snacks now being $2 a piece. As one anonymous student commented that with snacks prices being so high, they should “at least be getting the good ones.”