from’s “Healthy Food from a Vending Machine” page
  • from’s “Healthy Food from a Vending Machine” page
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More snacks are coming to city office buildings, libraries, police and fire stations, park and recreation facilities, and some beach areas.

On February 28, the San Diego City Council by unanimous consent approved a vending-machine agreement with Rainbow Vending (recently renamed Canteen San Diego...see note below).

At parks and rec centers with “a significant number of children,” at least 50 percent of the products must be healthy snack choices. The city's park and recreation director must approve them. Examples include baked chips, nuts/seeds, cereal/granola bars, low-fat popcorn, bottled water, and beverages with little or no added sugar.

Under the four-year, ten-month contract, Canteen San Diego will install at least 100 snack vending machines. The machines must be energy-efficient and ADA-compliant. The company will be responsible for any vandalism or theft.

The city, per this corporate partnership program, will receive an estimated $385,000 from snack sales and advertising revenue. Canteen San Diego must pay a $30,000 advance by June 1. Machine locations don't include stadiums, the San Diego Convention Center, city-owned golf courses, Lindbergh Field, marinas, or trolley/bus stations.


Editor's note: Rainbow Vending, formerly a 40-year-old San Diego company, in 2011 became “a part of the Nationwide CANTEEN Vending System,” according to

At, the union of the two businesses is oddly characterized as "One of the larger, easily scrutinized, and public success stories..." So, let's scrutinize it...

Canteen Vending is owned by Compass Group, "a global contract foodservice and support services company headquartered near London, United Kingdom," says Wikipedia.

Compass Group USA, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, has an office near 4S Ranch as well (their local web domain is nonexistent, however).

Also according to Wikipedia, a Compass subsidiary (Eurest Support Services) in 2006 was implicated in a million-dollar bribe scandal related to a food-procurement deal with UN officials.

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dwbat March 1, 2012 @ 8:33 a.m.

Here are a couple of Canteen San Diego's plans I didn't have room for in the article. Although the vending machines will accept bills and change, "cashless acceptance" will be only on machines "with appropriate sales volume." Shouldn't ALL the vending machines, like fast food places, accept credit/debit cards? Also, some proposed snack prices [in Exhibit B of the agreement] give a price advantage to city employees over the public. For example, chips purchased in public locations would be $1.25, while the same chips in employee locations would be $1.10. Healthy bars: $3 for public; $2.50 for employees. Pastry/trail mix: $2 for public; $1.75 for employees. No explanation was provided by the company for that pricing policy.


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