WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Forget the cola wars. One local vendor wants to throw milk into the ring. He is pushing to get milk vending machines in schools.
Juice, water, sodas and snacks are easy to find in Wake County public schools, but Sam Galphin saw a void and thought his milk vending machines would be an easy sell.
"There was no alternative in vending areas after school," Galphin said. "The majority of these are low-fat milks. We chose a company to work with that had seven to eight different flavors to work with."
Officials with the school district's nutrition program said it wants healthy alternatives.
"We are concerned, especially now with childhood obesity and the statistics are frightening," said Marilyn Moody, of Wake County Schools' Nutrition Services.
Moody said they are already experimenting with their own milk vending machines in two high schools, but critics are wondering whether milk will sell in Wake County schools.
For example, the milk vending machine at Broughton High School sells about 12 bottles a day, but it is tied to the nutrition program and tied to the lunchroom. Galphin said milk would sell better if it was in other areas of the school and in direct competition with soda machines.
"It does real well in the private and charter schools," he said.
So far, Galphin said it is a tough sell with Wake County public schools. Mark Winters, finance director of Wake County schools, said the schools get to make the final call. He said Galphin is the first local vendor to approach them with the idea.
"It's up to the principal," he said. "They can make the decision on whether or not, they want vending machines in their schools."
Last year, soft drinks were the big seller with 51,567 sold. Tea and fruit drinks only sold 4,343. Only 3,895 bottles of waters were sold.