Snackwise for Healthier Snacking

Snackwise for Healthier Snacking

Bringing back Snackwise for OSU vending machinesjj


COLUMBUS, Ohio, Tuesday, Dec.11, 2012-When no mandatory health or wellness courses exist at Ohio State University, bringing back The Snackwise Nutrition Rating System to vending machines is the least that can be done.

“Obviously we want to try and educate rather than try to force healthy food on students” says Steve Lambeth, vending coordinator and food buyer at OSU.

This is the reason Snackwise was used with OSU vending machines. The Snackwise system posted a sign above the vending machine that assigned a color to the snack options available inside them.  Green was best choice, yellow, choose occasionally, and red, choose rarely.

“The best approach is providing education and guidance to the food choices students make,” says Zia Ahmed, Master of Business Administration and senior director of dinning services at OSU.

Although the signs for Snackwise are still posted above the vending machines, the snack options are no longer labeled green, yellow, or red.  Without these labels, students can’t easily figure out which items to choose as a best choice, occasionally, or rarely.s

The sign for the Snackwise program fixed above the vending machine here, shows the colors and their labels, but the snacks aren’t labled anywhere.

“If you fill the vending machines with all healthy stuff, they will get used less,” says Becky Kingseed, criminology major and senior at OSU.

Lambeth claims that there has been talk of changing OSU vending machines to 100 percent healthy foods, but that keeping junkfood in vending machines is important because it adds to their profitability.  Lambeth added that students need to be able to make the choice to snack healthy or not.

Whether for profit or to allow students to make their own choice, junk food will remain a staple in OSU vending machines.  If educating the students about healthy food options is important, why has OSU stopped labeling vending machines snacks with Snackwises’ green, yellow, or red?

“The Snackwise program has seemed to trail off here recently,” says Lambeth.

Lambeth explains that the predecessor to his position at OSU was responsible for the Snackwise start up and that he has yet to begin to work with the program.

“I don’t have any official word on what the status of Snackwise is,” says Lambeth.

Since Snackwise is currently not in operation, what can students do to insure their healthier snacking?  They can use their smartphone to pull up the Snackwise calculator online, plug in some data from their favorite snack, then the color rating will be calculated and displayed.

“The Snackwise program is the most efficient way to teach students about healthier snacking options,” says Taylor Cooper, business marketing major and junior at OSU.

Help bring Snackwise back to OSU by emailing or calling university residence and dining services or OSU purchasing.  Let them know Snackwise is necessary for the continuing health education and healthy snacking for OSU students.  Let them know you want Snackwise back.

About Snackwise-The Snackwise Nutrition Rating System for vending machines at OSU is a program where labels for the nutrition density of snack options are created and placed below the item.  According to the sign fixed above every vending machine implementing the Snackwise program, these labels include the green, yellow and red.  The green label is given for best choices, yellow for snacks to be chosen occasionally, and red for snacks to be chosen rarely.  A program created by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, “the Snackwise algorithm utilizes 11 parameters to determine nutrient quality, intended to reflect current scientific support for limiting sodium and calories while emphasizing nutrient density” (according to the Snackwise website).

For more information contact

Patrick L. Powell

Ohio State University Purchasing



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