The Role of Personal and Socio-environmental Factors in Vending Food and Beverage Purchases among College Students

By Gloria McNamara, Lesley Rennis and Lynda Carlson.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 13, 2014 $US5.00

This study investigated the role of personal and socio-environmental factors in vending food and beverage consumption patterns of college students. Qualitative research methods were used, which included observations, interviews, and multiple focus groups, each comprised of 6 to 8 students. The discussions were recorded, transcribed, and coded. The findings revealed only 30% of participants regularly used college vending machines. Students reported a desire for a wide range of vending items to accommodate their preferences and that these preferences could fluctuate, emphasizing options that included healthful and indulgent items. The majority of students did say, however, they were concerned about health because of family histories affected by chronic disease. Furthermore, students suggested that the vending machines be decentralized and relocated to where students congregate rather than behind the cafeteria. Price was found to be a deterrent to campus vending machine use; many students commented that they could obtain the same snacks cheaper from outside vendors. Students would like to see prices be aligned with student budgets and student discounts be offered. In summary, personal preferences, sometimes mood-dependent, health concerns, machine location, and price of items were all factors that considerably influenced the vending purchasing behaviors of college students. College administrators should consider these factors in order to adequately meet students' needs when planning for the institution's food and nutrition services.

Click here to view this online presentation!

Keywords: Vending Food and Beverage Consumption, Social Cognitive Theory, Socio-environmental Factors, College Students

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, November 2014, pp.89-100. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 13, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 408.118KB)).

Dr. Gloria McNamara

Assistant Professor, Health Education Department, City University of New York, New York, New York, USA

Dr. Lesley Rennis

Associate Professor, Health Education Department, City University of New York - BMCC, New York, New York, USA

Dr. Lynda Carlson

Professor of Allied Health, Allied Health Department, City University of New York - BMCC, New York, NY, USA