5. The FDA must provide sufficient time to implement any new regulations. As has been previously commented upon, vending has more than 5.3 million machines, the majority of which will be forced to comply with these new regulations. There is a wide variety of machinery in the market today. At least 70% of the vending operators have 3 or fewer employees, and the profit margin is extremely low. Therefore, it is important that sufficient time be allowed for regulations to be implemented. Congress did not establish in the legislation a timeline for final regulations to be implemented or enforced.
We propose that the industry be allowed at least two years after rules are finalized to implement calorie disclosure.
Depending on how the rules are written, for example, the industry may have to create a data bank with product calorie counts which operators could access to print menus or labels that would fit the specific vending machines. Electronic devices or digital displays would have to be designed, programmed and installed.
NAMA also argues that vending machines manufactured prior to the implementation date of the regulations should be “grandfathered”, and should not be forced to disclose calories. This may help lessen the economic impact and reduce the extremely wide variety of machines on the market.
6. The FDA must take into consideration and reduce the economic impact of all such rules. We strongly object to the FDA?s categorizing those with 20 or more vending machines as “chain vending machine operators''. This is a grossly inaccurate and deliberately misleading inference of our industry which implies that owning 20 machines is a major chain type business. A business with 20 vending machines, for example, is likely a family owned business. It?s operated from a home. It is a part time job for one person, and may average an annual net profit of only $3,802.
The Vending Times Census of the industry reported that in 2008 approximately 70% of the vending machine operators had 3 or fewer full time employees. In fact, 35% of vending operator companies had the owner as the only employee.
The Vending Times also reported that in 2008, the average cold beverage vending machine made just over $617 in gross sales per month and a snack machine had just over $660 per month. So considering that the typical NAMA firm with sales of less than $2 million (the smallest economic category NAMA tracks) had an Operating Profit in 2009 of just 2.4%, the typical company made just $14.80 in profits a month on a cold beverage machine and $15.84 per snack vending machine.