Get new vending  locations

Vending Machines in Schools: Both Favorable and Profitable


You can find vending machines in almost every type of establishment in almost every city - especially the hotest ones around the US. People love easy access to cheap food and drinks, it’s that simple. However, the implementation of vending machine businesses into schools is a more controversial subject. While some individuals believe that vending machines are detrimental to the learning environment and the well-being of the students, the evidence is largely positive in favor of vending machines in schools. Let’s explore this topic in more detail.

Are Vending Machines Allowed in Schools?

Vending machines are, in fact, allowed in schools. In the USA, 43% of elementary schools and 74% of middle schools are home to at least one vending machine. That percentage elevates to a staggering 98% when you take a look at high schools. Vending machines are also plentiful on college and university campuses around the country. Evidently, vending machines are not only allowed in schools, but they are incredibly commonplace.

Why Should Schools Have Vending Machines?

School vending machines are beneficial for students and staff alike, but they can also be quite profitable. For these reasons, school districts should give their students access to vending machines throughout the school day. One caveat to this is that vending machines should be stocked with healthy snacks and beverages, not junk vending machine food and sugary drinks like soda. Needless to say, healthy vending machine options are a rising trend which is especially evident if you look at suggestions for federal school meal programs.

Healthy vending machines in schools can also give parents confidence that their children are making healthy eating choices when they are given money for food instead of a packed lunch in the morning. The targeted benefits of vending machines in schools will be discussed in more detail later on.

Considerations to Keep in Mind When Putting Vending Machines in Schools

As mentioned with the caveat above, school vending machines need to provide students with healthy foods to eat for meals and healthy snacks options for in-between classes. If candy bars, potato chips, and other unhealthy snacks are offered instead, schools will only be contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Vending machines in schools will also contribute to higher utility bills, so that is something to keep in mind when deciding how many vending machines should be installed and of what varieties. Refrigerated machines require more power than non-refrigerated models, and this can be a good note for schools that don’t have a lot of room left in the budget.

Benefits of Vending Machines in Schools

two female students in school using a drink vending machine

School vending machines are associated with a number of tangible and significant benefits at every level of education. No matter the age of the students in question, healthy snack options can improve their nutritional status and overall health, elevate their mood (and that of their teachers and other school staff members), encourage kids to stay on campus where they are safer, and make it easier for them to focus and learn the material they will be tested on later.

Preserving and Improving Health in Students

Quality drinks and quality food go hand-in-hand with student health. Improving nutrition with access to fresh fruits and other healthy snacks during the school day will teach kids how to make healthy eating decisions and ensure they are receiving all of the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop. Healthy snack options can also enhance a student’s immune function and keep their energy more balanced throughout the day.

Since some students don’t have access to healthy snacks at home or may not have time to eat them in the morning, a school’s healthy vending machine may be the only option open to them for preserving their health and nutritional status.

Increasing Morale of Students and Teachers

Installing more vending machines in schools(specifically healthy vending machines) will improve the morale of every individual within the walls. Students and teachers alike can benefit from a natural energy boost and a way to supplement the prepared lunches they’ve brought from home.

Cravings can strike at any time, and sometimes parents aren’t aware of what their kid would prefer to eat on a givenday. Healthy vending machines will provide students, teachers, and other staff members the opportunity to eat what brings them joy. Happier kids and happier teachers will lead to more productive and enjoyable days at school for everyone.

Keeping Kids Secure on School Grounds

It is incredibly common for students to travel off campus to peruse the snack and beverage options at local convenience stores. Stocking on-campus vending machines with competitive foods and healthier options will encourage kids to stay on school grounds to meet their snack needs. Not only does this urge kids to eat healthier, but they will be safer, too.

Improving Student Focus

When kids are distracted by hunger, they cannot focus or learn as well as they should. Providing a grab and go snack option in the form of healthy vending machine snacks will encourage children to sate their appetite in between classes and have a more productive learning session afterwards. Their healthy snacking can contribute to brain development and memory as well. All of these effects can directly translate to better grades and more satisfaction with their time spent at school.

What Do You Put in School Vending Machines?

a student using a drink vending machine in school

It’s been established that vending machines are a great addition to the school environment. Since most everyday vending machines are stocked with unhealthy snacks and beverages, and we know this isn’t ideal for students, what should be put in school machines to ensure they are healthy vending machines and not harmful ones?

Packaged Salads or Veggie/Dip Combos

Packaged salads are an excellent grab and go meal replacement for students. They are healthy, nutritious if they have toppers, and can provide a perfect way to satisfy hunger pangs during a break. Veggie and dip combos are another similar product that offer a great crunch and a delicious flavor with tons of nutritional value.

Granola Bars

Granola bars are a go-to snack for almost every parent and child in North America. As a vending machine option, they are a high seller that is sure to drive in extra business and promote healthy eating. Granola bars are rich in fiber and protein and are substantial enough to be filling. Granola bars and other snack bars are portable, long-lasting in the machine, and not too messy: perfect for the school setting.

Fruit Snacks

Fruit snacks in every form are a great addition to vending machines in schools. Packages of dried fruit such as apples or pears are a mess-free and highly nutritious snack that can be enjoyed quickly between classes. Since they are also non-perishable, items that don’t sell quickly will not turn into financial losses. Whole fruits can also be dispensed to students that prefer the natural fruit form over processed alternatives. Finally, healthy fruit snacks (such as the Welch’s or Fruitsations products) are a good choice for kids that want something a little more appetizing.

Pretzels and Healthy Chips

Pretty much everyone would enjoy a bag of potato chips if given the opportunity, but they aren’t a healthy option for young students or adult staff members. As an alternative, bags of pretzels and healthy chip alternatives such as veggie chips or potato chips that are baked instead of fried can be provided.  


On-the-go drinks are a bestseller in vending machines all over the country. With the variety of options available, a well-stocked drink vending machine can earn sizeable profits and encourage healthy beverage choices. Coffee drinks for older kids can help with long study sessions and early morning classes, and sports drinks for athletes to keep them hydrated and fueled for activity. Bottles of juice are a great energy boost for students of all ages, and bottled water is always a solid addition to any vending machine.

Head over to our healthy vending piece to find more healthy snack options.

School Vending Machine Profits

In addition to the aforementioned benefits of providing healthy vending machine options to students on their school campus, school vending machines can actually generate more revenue for the elementary or middle schools. A well-stocked and well-placed vending machine can earn up to $200a day from the staff and students that purchase healthy snacks. Head over to our vending profit calculator to check this for yourself.

Prime real estate for vending machines in schools is in a gymnasium, cafeteria, or central hallway; these high-traffic locations provide easy access to the vending machines during break time and can increase the number of smart snacks and beverages sold each day.

Not only will these profits help sustain the costs of running the vending machines, but they can be used to enhance the facilities and education that the kids are receiving.

Final Thoughts

Overall, healthy vending machines are a wonderful addition to every school campus whether the students are just beginning their school careers or coming to the end of it. With the benefits to the students in aspects of health, nutrition, morale, and learning abilities, the potential for profits, and the more positive school environment, vending machines are good for a lot more than a few smart snacks and drinks.

Find More Interesting Content

Learn more about vending with our newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter today and get the inside scoop on how to succeed as a vending machine company owner.

Subscribe To Newsletter

Ready to get new locations?

Take your vending machine business to the next level by finding the perfect locations for placement. Our comprehensive research and placement suggestions make it easy to identify and secure new locations, so you can start increasing your revenue and expanding your business.

List of 250+ places where you can potentially place your vending machine

Includes business name, phone number and address of each location

Human quality researched list

All locations tailored to your zip code area

If the location has a listed email, we will provide it.

3 day delivery

25 mile radius search