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Erik Gottschalk, partner with Fresh Fit Vending, a local franchise of Fresh & Healthy Vending.
Erik Gottschalk, partner with Fresh Fit Vending, a local franchise of Fresh & Healthy Vending.

Proposed Md. healthy vending machine requirement an opportunity for some

A proposal to ensure that every vending machine on state property is at least 75 percent filled with healthy food and drink options has drawn fire from some business groups, but one local vending machine supplier sees it as an opportunity.

Erik Gottschalk is a partner in a Maryland-based franchise of Fresh & Healthy Vending, which provides vending machines stocked with healthier snacks.

“As a father of two very active teenage children, you know, how many times have we walked up to a vending machine just to walk away?” Gottschalk said. “Our main goal was to be able to provide people with healthier food options.”

The machines are provided at no cost to the organizations or locations that host them, maintained by the company, and profits are shared with the host, Gottschalk said.

And there’s some flexibility in what’s considered healthy: Gottschalk says his big sellers include a variety of chocolate chip cookie and chocolate milk, which has become popular as a recovery drink among young athletes.

Gottschalk has been in business for less than a year, and has about 30 machines at schools, dance studios, and office buildings in Maryland. The company has more than 2,000 nationwide.

“In my experience, the customers are thrilled,” he said.

Lawmakers heard testimony this week on the proposal, which would affect not only vending machines in government offices, but in Motor Vehicle Administration locations and public university buildings.

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