Letter to the editor: Students are ready for organic snacks and drinks in vending machines

At De Anza College, the Director of Dining Campus Center, Patrick Gannon, conducted a survey to find out if students are interested in organic drinks and snacks in vending machines.

The Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA) students who believe in becoming agents of change at De Anza Community, helped develop this survey.

In this context, the word “organic” means not using artificial flavors or colors, preservatives, fertilizers, pesticides and genetically engineered ingredients in our food and drinks. Three areas were examined; the healthy options in the vending machines, the price willing to pay for it, and the awareness of the environmental issues.

A total of 412 surveys, from which 17 percent were online and 83 percent in person, were taken by De Anza Community from June 6 to June 8 earlier this year.

Results found that 56 percent believed that snacks and drinks were more unhealthy at the school vending machines.

Regarding the preferences of healthy options, we came to the conclusion that 40 percent prefer organic snacks, while only 12 percent choose non-organic.

The survey also included questions about students’ awareness on environmental issues where 37 percent are bothered a lot by the environmental problems despite that 32 percent were only a little bit bothered by it.

For more healthy options, 77 percent are willing to pay extra for an organic drink. For example, for a 15 ounce organic drink from the vending machine, 69 percent want to pay less than $3 and 28 percent are willing to pay between $3 to $4.50.

Finally, the top seven selected organic drinks and snacks are juices, yogurt, granola bars, nuts, trail mix, teas, protein bars and coconut water.

The results show clearly that the students are ready for organic snacks and drinks offered in vending machines, and that the time to implement changes has come.