Local couple offering nutrition out of the box

It started with a hunger pang at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

It started with a hunger pang at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

At the hospital with a family member, Marlene Pavan decided to grab a snack. Because the cafeteria was closed, she resorted to a vending machine — and was disappointed with her choices.

“The vending machine had less-then-healthy options.”

The experience inspired Pavan to research healthy vending machines. And that led her to Canadian Healthy Vending, a Vancouver business that specializes in dispensing nutritious food at schools and workplaces.

In January, Pavan and her husband Rick launched Good 4 U Vending Corp. and began offering their Max! Healthy Vending Machines to Red Deer businesses and institutions. So far, nine machines have been spoken for, with these installed in places like banks, fitness centres and private offices.

“It’s going over really well,” said Pavan, acknowledging that some have balked at the prospects of loosing their chips, chocolate bars and pop.

“Some people picture healthy as not very tasty.”

But that’s not the case, said Pavan, who lists veggie straws, trail mix, almonds, protein bars, chocolate-covered berries and yogurt among the products she carries. Beverage options include vitamin water, pure juices, organic chocolate milk and coconut water.

Some items she gets from Canadian Healthy Vending, others she sources from local and regional suppliers.

Max! Healthy Vending Machines feature an LCD video display where users can find nutritional information about the products inside.

“When something is behind glass in a vending machine, they can’t read the labels that well,” explained Pavan.

The display can also be programmed by the host organization to transmit messages for staff, or advertising for customers. An extensive list of alternate food and beverage options is also available, and requests for new products can be sent to Pavan electronically from the machine.

Good 4 U Vending’s machines have dual temperature zones, accept credit cards and allow Pavan to monitor supplies from off-site.

“We know exactly what to take for restocking.”

She would like to see more healthy vending machines in Red Deer.

“It’s frustrating that there aren’t more options for people when they’re out in the public.”

So far, Good 4 U Vending hasn’t been able to gain a foothold in local schools or at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Pavan said she’s talking to Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, but the Red Deer Public School District is already committed to another company.

Bruce Buruma, director of community relations with the public school district, said strict procurement procedures must be followed when selecting service providers. In the case of vending machines, this was done previously and a contractor is in place.

Buruma added that the public school district established a comprehensive nutrition policy in 2007. This dictates what foods and beverages can be sold in schools, including in vending machines.

“So all of ours are healthy choices,” he said.

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre Voluntary Association is responsible for the food vending machines at the hospital. Executive director Ross Flohr said the association also has an existing relationship with a service provider, but he’s willing to hear proposals from others.

There are two healthy vending machines at the hospital, said Flohr, adding that the association has to be responsive to the varied snack preferences of patients, visitors and staff. He said he hasn’t received complaints about the foods that are currently available.

Additional information about Good 4 U Vending can be obtaining by contacting Pavan at 403-350-0902 or mkpavan@shaw.ca.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Chemical analysis may provide clues to cause of huge Red Deer industrial fire

Fire on April 17 caused $9 million in damage to oil and gas industrial building

New loonie reason to celebrate and educate: central Alberta LGBTQ community

The new LGBTQ2 loonie is a conversation starter and a reason to… Continue reading

C & E Trail property owner wants to use land as RV storage yard

Red Deer city council gives initial approval

Indigenous cultural centre needed in Red Deer

Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosts annual community gathering

Red Deer youth recognized for his compassion

Blackfalds man dies after vehicle collision

MISSING: Joshua Arthur Sanford

37-year-old Ponoka man last seen on Tuesday morning

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Most Read