Slowly, but surely, vending machines have veered toward the healthier side of life. Even as the snack machines in public schools exchanged traditional Cheetos and Doritos for its baked counterparts, it doesn’t seem to be enough for a country that leads the world in obesity.
In order to keep us from pigging out on nutrient deprived foods that reside in these machines, Brad Appelhans, a professor at Rush Medical College created a device for vending machines called “Delays to Influence Snack Choice,” that would make you wait an extra 25 seconds for unhealthy snack options, according to NPR.
For example, if you wanted a protein bar, or granola bar, it wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d drop down the chute like normal. But if you wanted to dig into a chocolate bar or some Ruffles, you’d have to wait for a 25-second timer to wind down before they make the drop.
It’s basically testing your patience, and making you think about how badly you really want that empty calorie snack.
Appelhans tested this system with the vending machines around Rush Medical College, and found that the more people had to wait for their food, the less they wanted it, causing them to reach for the healthier alternatives.
If you’re wondering what qualifies as a “healthy” snack, it would have to pack fewer than 250 calories, 350 mg of sodium or 10 mg of added sugars per serving, contain no trans fats, or get less than 35 percent of its calories from fat.
One of the main points of this system would be to counter often proposed tax increases. The delay in vending machines would still be mildly annoying, but at least it wouldn’t forcefully dig into your wallet.
If you’re an impatient person like me, implementing these kind of systems just might be the right healthy choice for you.