Behavioral Design Strategies for Vending Machine Operation

The strategies presented here are based on the behavioral design standards in the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities [PDF-3.34MB]. These standards are organized into six categories: Placement and Layout, Product Innovations and Defaults, Pricing and Promotion, Tableware, Information, and Organizational Policy. The category “Tableware” is not included here because it is not relevant to vending machines. The topics are presented in no order and should not imply rank.  One category is no more important than another.

The strategies suggested here are further organized into subcategories. Where available, visual examples are provided to illustrate the strategies.

Placement and Layout

Strategically place foods and beverages and design the layout of food service venues to foster selection of healthier foods and beverages.

Product Innovations and Defaults

Use product innovations and the inclusion of healthier options as default choices at decision points to encourage healthier choices.

Pricing and Promotion

Use price incentives and marketing strategies to highlight healthier food and beverage items.


Use information, displays, decorations, and signage to highlight healthier choices.

Organizational Policy

Adopt policies, practices, and programs that support a culture of health in your organization and encourage the use of food service guidelines and behavioral design standards in all onsite food venues.

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