Canadian Vending

Features Associations Business
From the Editor: September 2005

Taking On The Globe


June 16, 2008
By Cam Wood


Topics

Last month we saw how one school board slightly overreacted to address
a milk allergy situation within a public school. In the end, common
sense prevailed, and a profitable, healthy milk program was saved from
liability overkill.

Sometimes there comes a point when you can’t help but shake your head.

Last month we saw how one school board slightly overreacted to address a milk allergy situation within a public school. In the end, common sense prevailed, and a profitable, healthy milk program was saved from liability overkill.

This month, we were left with yet another bad taste in our mouths, thanks to one of Canada’s national newspapers. On August 24, the Globe and Mail ran its regular weekly installment from dietician Leslie Beck. The Toronto-based nutrition writer had penned her column as advice for college-bound students on the dos and don’ts of campus eating. While Beck targeted snacking habits, she respectfully chose not to isolate any particular model of delivery.

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Sadly, the Globe chose to feature a large photograph of a snack vender … a branded snack vender … and negative headline to accompany Beck’s piece, suggesting vending machines were to blame for the dietary indiscretions of college kids. To wish the vending company involved will lodge formal complaints over obvious negative publicity is likely a stretch.

But, this editor has had enough. We, at Canadian Vending, earn our living in two ways: through the service to the vending industry and as – apologies for bad language here – journalists. A big part of that job is to understand the factual evidence behind issues, to research and report. Ultimately, we try to present a level of balanced information to the readership.

In the past year alone, our industry has seen tremendous strides in the realm of healthy snacking. From Ryan Vending in Victoria, B.C. with their Making It Happen campaign, to the recently acclaimed Fuel2Xcell program in Ottawa, this industry has demonstrated a true level of leadership to erase the negative connotations that vending has endured for years.

To open a publication that promotes itself as Canada’s newspaper and see such archaic lack of understanding, research and reporting, was nonetheless, embarrassing for a journalist. We expect it from government publications, where a lack of insight is almost a pre-requisite to becoming a cabinet minister, but not from our own ilk.

So, as the editor of Canada’s only national magazine for the vending industry, I wrote a letter to the Globe. I never saw it in their letters section, don’t expect to … I think they’re too busy waiting to see what comes of the Conrad Black fiasco. But it served notice ­– at least in our minds – that this stereotype, which remains steadfast in the psyche of those who profess to be leaders in the information industry, will not be tolerated by this publication.

As Canadians prepare for a return to the academic year, and institutional vending enters another frightful phase of parliamentary examination, it is imperative that everyone in this $1.2 billion industry take a leading role in educating the uneducated that vending is just one delivery model of many. It’s ludicrous to blame a machine for the choices consumers make in dietary habits.

We feel it’s just as ludicrous to allow a stereotype to continually prosper without comment.


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