Wrapping Up Our Research: Our Final Findings and Recommendation for Future LFS 350 Students

The final week of the term has been extremely busy with final lab exams and group projects for our team.

Plenary Presentation

We finished our plenary presentation last Wednesday and we were very pleased with how smoothly it went. Both Judy and Alex presented our research project and did a great job. We were delighted to be able to listen to all the projects that were offered in LFS 350. They all seemed interesting and being able to get a glimpse of each project was a great way to broaden our scope of the class. After our presentation, some interesting questions were posed. One in particular stayed with us: what foods are you planning on adding into the UBC vending machines? This question was one of the reasons we chose to do this research project, but unfortunately, we had no time to implement any new healthier snacks into the vending machines. Hopefully this will be a job for next year’s LFS 350 class. We will be looking throughout campus next year to see any changes that are made. Overall, we were happy with our presentation and hopefully our LFS 350 class learned a little more about the healthier choices provided in UBC vending machines.

Hopefully Healthy Choices snacks will increase next year

Progress and Challenges on the Final Research Paper

Our group has made slow but ongoing progress on our research paper. Each group member has been officially assigned to work on a specific section of the paper. We are all working on it now, trying to finish each section by our presentation date on Wednesday, November 27. We feel somewhat prepared, however much still needs to be covered. We are planning on meeting up right before the beginning of our class to rehearse. We hope to see both Victoria and Liska at our presentation because the research was conducted primarily for them and we would really like to see what they can take from our research findings.

Freezing Temperatures on UBC Campus

Final Findings

Overall, comparing our audit to that of the previous LFS group’s, it shows that the “Healthier Choices” policy is being adhered to less for the Gage Residence snack vending machine, which now contains a higher percent of unhealthy options than it did previously. The SUB snack vending machines now includes more “Choose Most” options, but fewer “Choose Sometimes” and “Choose Least” items, and more “Not Recommended” items than it did before it was following the GSVM. This means, that since implementing the GSVM, and thus using Healthier Choices as a loose guideline for stocking the snack vending machines, the selection of “Not Recommended” options has increased. According to our survey and the top 3 preferred beverages, individuals are interested in seeing healthier options in campus vending machines, which is in line with policy recommendations that there should be at least 50% of offerings in the “Choose Most” category. The analysis of our data showed a general trend that the Gage Snack Vending Model was unsuccessful.


This brings us back to the concept of food insecurity. The vending machines do not promote food security because of inadequate nutritional information as well as high prices for healthier food. Our group believes that a big reason why the model is unsuccessful is because there is improper and insufficient labelling on the vending machine to give users enough information regarding the food’s nutritional content. Most users of vending machines do not have time to read this information, therefore we think that an issue with this form of food insecurity is the lack of education. The Healthier Choices policy was not put into effect until 2006. Since food-related education is usually taught in elementary school, we would expect to not see this change in attitude at UBC towards food security until they start university. During our audit, we also noticed that healthier options cost more on average than unhealthy choices ($3.75 for a granola bar vs. $1.75 for a chocolate bar). Since most students live on minimal budgets, access to healthier foods becomes difficult. The group believes that to improve food security on campus, better labelling, identification, and lower prices of healthier foods, and a greater proportion of healthier food options are required.

UBC Campus Late at Night


Wakefield and Richer envision seeing more than 50% of snacks that are part of the Healthier Choice Policy in UBC vending machines in the future. However, around half of the surveyed participants are unaware of the “Healthier Choices policy”. To promote healthy local products to consumers, we suggest that UBCFS use brightly coloured signs such as “Gluten-free” and “New” to promote the healthy products. Nutrition facts of the healthy snacks can be placed on or near the vending machines where consumers will have an increased awareness of the nutritious snack items offered.

Another recommendation would be to lower the cost of healthy snack items. Based on the survey results, 32% of participants indicated cost as a motivational factor to purchase snacks from vending machines. UBC consumers are more likely to purchase chocolate bars for $1.75 instead of healthy snacks for $3.75. We also would like to suggest that Healthier Choices be relocated up to eye-level to promote the consumption.

Our recommendation for future generations of LFS 350 CBEL project is to be able to suggest taste testing to our vendors based on our survey findings. Suggestions for beverages include fruit juice, unsweetened cold tea, and milk; as for snack suggestions, healthy fruit snacks, energy/protein bars, granola/cereal bars seem to be welcomed. Therefore, the proportion of these already existing food products supplied by Coca-Cola and Vendmaster should be increased as they provide relatively more nutrition.


Getting Ready for our Final Presentation

Group Message

We hope that you have enjoyed our journey as much as we have with finding whether or not the Gage Snack Vending Model has improved since April of 2012. We would like to thank everyone involved in the research project, including all the members of the group, our community partner Victoria, project manager Liska, our TA Lorne, the survey participants, and of course everyone involved in LFS 350. Although our group has not seen an improvement in the Gage Snack Vending Model, we are optimistic that next years LFS 350 group will find a way to change this conclusion.

This will be our last post for this course. We wish you luck on all your exams, and enjoy the winter break with family and friends.

Thank you,
Group 26

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Auditing the UBC Vending Machines on a Busy Afternoon

Auditing the Gage and the SUB Vending Machines

Using the checklist that was written up the week before, Carmen, Judy, Tyra, Rosemary, and Alex chose one location to audit the vending machines either beside Pie R Squared in the SUB or in the Gage residence last week. We noted any issues that were noticeable with the vending machines as well as positive aspects of the vending machines and recommendations for improvement.

Baked Doritos on Sale at the SUB

Labeling is not clear on some snacks at the SUB

Quaker Bars in different flavors found in the same row


Below are the results of our audit of the SUB Snack vending machines:


Was there any dust inside/outside the vending machines?

  • There was a bit of dust on the inside of the vending machine, but not enough to obscure the viewing of the snack items

  • There was a lot of marks on the viewing screen such as fingerprints that should be wiped off

Healthy Choices label correctly placed?

  • There were multiple healthy snacks that were not correctly labeled. Some examples include:

    • The Edge Food Energy bars

    • Apple Chips

  • Some Healthy Choices labels were not placed in the correct location. Some examples include

    • Gummy worms

    • Mike and Ike’s candy

Other issues we found

  • Price labelling was not clear for all snack items, some were partially obscured while others didn’t even have a price tag.

  • Different flavours of the same granola bar were mixed together. For example, there was a mix of strawberry and blueberry flavored bars in the same column of the vending machine. This can affect vending machine sales

Positive aspects of the snack vending machines

  • Lighting was pretty good

  • Large screen to make the snack more visible

  • Vending machines can take cash/credit/debit and UBC card

  • Baked chips, a healthy choices item were placed at eye level to attract consumers

  • Refilling of snacks was placed with the newest options in the back


  • Have signs like “local”, “new”, “gluten free” to promote healthy items

  • Include veggie straws and tuna salad kit

    • We found that other vending machines in the SUB sold veggie straws and a tuna salad kit, options that were not seen in the SUB vending machines we audited

  • Lower the price of the healthy snack items if possible

    • The healthy options are on average $3.75 compared to the chocolate bars that cost $1.75.

  • Remove repeated snack options seen in two relatively close vending machines. Substitute with healthier new snacks.

Gummy Worms Labelled with a Health Check



Was there any dust inside/outside the vending machines?

There was a bit of dust on the inside of the vending machine, but not enough to obscure the viewing of the snack items

However, there was a lot of marks on the viewing screen such as fingerprints that should be wiped off

Healthy Choices label correctly placed?

No signs of a Healthier Choices policy being used

Other issues we found

  • Lighting was not bright. It was a little dim and the very bottom row of beverages were hard to see

  • Pricing was placed at a slanted angle and difficult to notice at first

    • Might be because of the design of the vending machine

Positive aspects of the beverage vending machines

Lighting was pretty good

Large screen to make the snack more visible

Vending machines can take cash/credit/debit and UBC card

Refilling of beverages was placed with the newest options in the back


  • Find a way to make the last row of the vending machine more visible to the public

  • Add a variety of beverages, instead of the same ones found throughout campus vending machines.

    • Examples include unsweetened tea

Beverage Vending Machine Found at the SUB


Was there any dust inside/outside the vending machines?

There was no dust inside/outside of the vending machine

Healthy Choices label correctly placed?

Several items in the vending machines were not correctly labelled

  • Welch’s fruit snacks

  • Granola Bars

  • Maintain/Fortify – Ancient Grain nutrition bars (local)

Other issues we found


Positive aspects of the snack vending machines

  • Vending machines can take cash/credit/debit and UBC card

  • The vending machines were brand new

    • All lights and buttons were in proper order


  • Location of the vending machines are obscure, hidden in a corner. Beside the machines is a Gage Residence mini-mart. To promote sales, it is r

  • ecommended to move it to an open location.

  • Proper labelling is required so as to not confuse customers and promote the consumption of unhealthy foods.

  • Relocating healthier choices up to eye-level.

Health Check Label at the SUB


Was there any dust inside/outside the vending machines?

There was no dust found inside/outside the vending machines

  • Beverages could be clearly seen inside

Healthy Choices label correctly placed?

No signs of a Healthier Choices policy being used

Other issues we found

  • All the bottled water were located at the bottom of the vending machine, not at eye level

  • Not a large variety of drinks in the vending machines

    • Only pop and water were found

Positive aspects of the beverage vending machines

  • Vending machines can take cash/credit/debit and UBC card

  • Lighting was very bright


  • A larger variety of drinks would be better to promote lower-calorie alternatives.

  • Moving healthier drinks up to eye-level.

 Outcome of meeting with Victoria and Liska

Tyra, Katherine, and Aveir met with Victoria and Liska on Thursday, November 7th to update them on our research progress while clarifying any questions we had.

One topic that came up was refrigerated snacks: vending machines with refrigerated units use up a lot of energy, going against the climate action plan. Furthermore, refrigerated vending machines can be noisy, therefore cannot be placed in specific locations on campus (e.g. library). Nevertheless, our group will consider other pros and cons of vending machines with refrigerated units.

As we focus on beverages, Victoria would like to see at least 50% of every vending machine be comprised of healthy beverages. Our group will have to audit the beverages again to check how many of each type of beverage are offered. Before we perform the audit, we will be establishing guidelines as to what is considered a healthy beverage.

We are relieved that Victoria did not ask us to analyze the vending machine sales. Most of us were frustrated last week with the sales analysis provided to us because we could not determine how well the Healthy Choices snacks were selling. This is because the vending machine sales are determine by machine, not by individual items. Victoria believes that the healthy vending snack options are not profitable because UBC students would go to the residence dining hall or cafeteria to purchase healthy food.

Finally, Victoria will email us the University Nutritionist, Jackie’s contact information. Jackie is responsible for managing all the campus menus and new food ideas. On a side note, Victoria and Liska signed the consent forms, giving us permission to use their full names in the final research paper.

Autumn Days on a Bus

Planery Presentation

We are getting ready for our planery presentation. Judy and Alex have decided to present our research progress while the rest of us focus on the final paper. With less than two weeks of classes, we are quickly gathering the last bit of information we need to complete our project. We are very excited to present our findings in front our breakout room classmates and of course our community partner Victoria, and our project manager Liska. We will shortly update you on our plans for the last week of class.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Group 26

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One Last Leap: Auditing UBC Vending Machines at the SUB and UBC Residences

Our CBEL research process, challenges, and creative solutions

We have been working on analyzing our surveys this week, since our LFS 350 class last Wednesday. To make it easier to understand, we categorized the purpose of our survey questions into three themes: labelling issues, educational issues, and motivational factors. Splitting our survey questions into different categories helped us clearly understand the purpose of each question and how it is relevant to our research.

Irving K Barber As Judy Walks to Class

Looking at our survey, we noticed we had quite a variety of responses to one of our questions regarding which snacks to add to campus vending machines. Because of this variety, it was a challenge coming up with one general snack option to recommend to Victoria. In other words, while writing the survey, we were hoping to see a majority of similar responses for this question, but we ended up getting mixed results instead. Some students, for example, would like to see more candy and energy drinks while other students prefer seeing nuts and mints in vending machines. In addition, we had to disregard some results, because responses were unreasonable: some students wanted to see sushi and baked goods, both perishable foods that cannot be placed in vending machines. We came up with the solution to find responses that were similar and categorize these responses into broader terms. For example, apple chips, fruity granola bars, and raisins can be categorized as “healthy fruit snacks”.

We also encountered a few challenges this week that came up when we received a response to an email we had sent to our community partner, Victoria. In particular, these challenges we faced had to do with our audit of the GSVM: vending machine sales are not broken down by items, but by machines, so it is impossible to tell how well the healthier options are selling individually. Also, there has been an increase in campus vending machine sales due to the machines now accepting UBC cards for payment, so we need to be careful not to attribute this sales increase to the “healthier choices”. Since the sales data of those machines reflect only the percent of cash, cashless, or ubc card sales, we cannot tell if labelling has an impact on sales. Our current audit of the vending machines at Gage Residence and at the Student Union Building will focus on recording if proper labelling is being adhered to. In the audit we will also take note of dust-accumulation, which will give us an idea of turnover rates of food and beverage products. The beverage vending machines pose an issue because we are not able to see inside them. We can therefore only audit them by outer-appearance (lights, properly maintained, clean).

Bright Leaves Indicate that the End of the Term is Near…

What’s To Come

We are fortunate that our research community is so close at hand: once we are on campus, we are immersed in our community. This Wednesday, several group members are auditing the campus vending machines both on the upper floor of the Student Union Building, and in Gage residence (These are machines that follow the GSVM). We are undertaking this review in order to get a clear idea on how well the GSVM is  performing. To standardize our approach, since we are not able to go all together, we created a checklist for everyone to follow. Our checklist includes:

  1. Observing for dust inside/outside of the vending machines
  2. Checking to see if the “Healthy  Choices” signage is correctly displayed for each product
  3. Auditing the planogram (arrangement of snacks within the machine) to ensure that location of healthier options is appropriate to promote them

The deadlines for the CBEL final research paper, plenary presentation, and CBEL project homeroom final presentation are fast approaching. To stay on top of these deadlines, each group member has been assigned specific tasks for each of the aforementioned components. The task for each member is outlined in the following.

Plenary presentation

  • Introduction to the project and community: Judy
  • Research Question and Methods: Judy
  • Results and Interpretation of the results based on the course concepts and reflections: Alex
  • Question and Answer: Alex
  • Editing, and addition of ideas to each section: All group members!

Alex and Judy will be doing the plenary presentation in front of the LFS 350 class. Since it is a brief presentation we feel it will be easier to have all group members contribute to what will be said during the presentation, but have fewer people actually go up to present them. This will be balanced out with all of the group members doing the final presentation, while Judy and Alex take on smaller roles for that.

UBC Campus Early Wednesday Morning where Surveys were analyzed

CBEL project homeroom final presentation

  • Introduction and Research Questions: Rosemary
  • Methods: Aveir and Katherine
  • Results: Judy
  • Discussion: Tyra and Carmen
  • Reflection: All group members
  • Recommendation: Alex
  • Editing, and addition of ideas to each section: All group members!

Each group member will be responsible for presenting their section to our homeroom.

CBEL final research paper (Still to be decided…)

  • Executive Summary: All group members!
  • Introduction: Rosemary
  • Research Methods: Alex
  • Findings: Judy
  • Recommendation and Conclusions: Tyra
  • References and appendices: All group members!
  • Editing, and addition of ideas to each section: All group members!

We plan to write our first draft of the final research paper once we have all our data from the audit, and survey, analyzed.

Amidst our busy schedules, we will take time this week to reflect on Remembrance Day, and the individuals who fought to serve our country.

Group 26

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Trick or Treat: Survey Distribution to Students Across Campus

The foggy Vancouver weather has cleared up and the sun is finally poking through the clouds

Our Successful Survey Distribution

Before distributing the final version of our survey, we made two important changes to our list of questions, based on feedback we received from our TA and feedback we received from the first students we surveyed. To start with, we added a fundamental question: “Do you use campus vending machines? (Yes or No)”. The significance of including this basic question is to be able to classify all survey respondents (and their preferences) as current customers versus potential customers. Secondly, we decided to remove a too-specific question–asking how respondents felt about the potential introduction of one particular new type of product–in favour of asking a more generalized form: “Would you be more inclined to consider purchasing from the vending machine if new options were clearly labeled as ‘new item’?”.

Distributing Surveys at Irving K. Barber

Over the past few days, each group member has distributed approximately 30 surveys, for a total of  210 surveys completed across campus. We feel this is a large enough sample size to allow us to make meaningful interpretations. We coordinated our efforts to target as many popular locations on campus as possible. Tyra and Rosemary administered surveys at the Student Union Building to individuals who were seated at the cafeteria, near locations where vending machines were installed. Carmen administered surveys at Woodward Library, and Judy went to the other popular library on campus, Irving K. Barber. Katherine and Aveir both handed out surveys at the main bus loop. Lastly, Alex distributed her surveys at the UBC Bookstore. We carefully chose these locations to be as inclusive as possible to all individuals from the various faculties on campus. We also tried to cover a variety of times of day. This was done intentionally to avoid sampling bias: taking a sample not representative of the population.

Aveir Waiting for a Participant to Finish the Survey

We are happy with how the surveying process went, and we attribute much of this to our pilot survey, as it really helped us prepare for what to expect (in terms of time-commitment and community responsiveness), as well as eliminate any blatant problems with the survey ahead of time. We printed three surveys to a page, so we were able to minimize paper use to 70 pages total, and printing was the only resource we required to complete this activity. From this undertaking, we learned that there are specific steps you can take to really make the process of surveying easier: having clipboards (especially if people are not seated anywhere!), and having several pens on hand. The first of us to administer surveys were able to share tips like these to help the rest of our group be more prepared.

Alex With her Finished Surveys

Judy Handing Over a Survey

Completed Surveys Distributed by Tyra and Rosemary

What To Do With the Survey?

Now that we have finished the fieldwork for the survey, each member of the group is responsible for manually transcribing their completed surveys to a spreadsheet so that we can compile the complete tabulated results of the survey. We are planning to quantitatively analyze the ranked questions in order to find statistics that can be generalized to the entire campus population. We can make charts to allow this information to be easily conveyed and discussed. We hope to make recommendations to our community partner based on these findings. We also plan to read through the qualitative answers to see if there are any frequent answers that can be discussed in detail. This, in turn, should help us to understand patterns regarding student snack and beverage preferences, and their vending machine purchases.

Communication with Our Community Partner

Irving K. Barber Library on UBC Campus

We have managed to set up a meeting time with Victoria and Liska, as well as our TA, Lorne. Judy has been in contact with them via email, and November 7th seems to be the best time for everyone. Our group would like to meet with Victoria to update her on the results of the survey, as well as discuss with her our plans for the audit of the GSVM (the current healthy snack vending model).

Resources to Start our Final Research Report

We are using previous LFS 450 reports and articles from the UBC library website to aid us in completing our project. We are also working to obtain the necessary information on sales and locations of the current GSVM on campus, which we will then audit and compare to BC’s Healthier Choices policy. In addition, we are relying on skills we gained in our previous LFS 252 statistics course to help us with the data analysis.

What’s To Come

The Halloween Spirit

We still have a lot ahead of us, as we have yet  to complete the audit of the current GSVM but, with the survey taken care of, we have come a long way. All we have left to do for to the survey itself is to analyze the results, and once everything is complete we will write our research paper based on all of our findings.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween!


Group 26

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Entering the Thick Fog: Pilot Surveys and our CBEL Community

CBEL Community Visit

As we are UBC students, we visit our CBEL community almost everyday. Most of our group members have become more aware of vending machines across campus and have spotted some hidden in building corridors and libraries. We have taken pictures of some “classical” vending machines and some Gage Snack Vending Models and have examined the contents and the frequency of consumers purchasing a snack or a drink: There was a clear preference for snacks than beverages. We believe this is due to the greater variety of snacks that attract individuals visually or because people, in general, are more prone to purchase snacks instead of beverages (which they can get either from a water fountain or for free from Starbucks).

LFS 350 Class, Situated in the MacMillan Building

Feedback from our Community Partners Victoria and Liska

We are having some trouble setting up a meeting with our community partner, Victoria; at times we are busy while our community partner is available to meet and vice versa. We were planning on bringing our TA to the meeting, however, our TA is away on vacation and we do not know when he will be back. We hope to have a meeting soon because we would like to present our survey to Victoria and get feedback. As of now, we will be emailing Victoria with our research question and our final survey questions to make sure we are on the right track. Our group no longer wants to prolong the distribution of surveys; the faster we distribute them, the faster we get results. Our first survey will be distributed by two group members: Rosemary and Tyra at the bottom floor of the UBC SUB this friday morning.

Beverage Options at the School of Kinesiology

Description and Reflection of Community Visit and Pilot Survey Impressions

Last Friday, we conducted our pilot survey at the UBC SUB: This pilot survey was conducted to make sure our survey questions were appropriate for our research. Each survey on average took two minutes, therefore it took us roughly twenty minutes to complete ten surveys. We encountered some problems with our pilot survey: first, students did not want to fill out the survey because they don’t use vending machines. It was much harder than planned to find students who use vending machines on campus. Another observation we made was that two friends who filled out the survey had similar answers for the qualitative questions. Clearly this indicates that both students discussed their answers with each other and some persuasion occurred that changed a friend’s thought. We need to make sure that all surveys are independent of each other. Another problem we encountered was that our survey formatting caused students to circle “Always” instead of a number for each question. We need to find a way to clearly state that a number should be circled, otherwise we cannot use qualitative research. Lastly, we had issues with our last survey question: “What categories of non-perishable snacks or beverages would you like to see added to vending machines campus-wide?”  Some participants did not clearly understand the term “non-perishable” or did not read the question carefully so answers like smoothies were written. We will need to change the formatting of the question to make it clear that vending machines can only carry non-perishable foods. One last thing to note is that we used a paper per survey. To save paper and money, we will be adding two survey per paper.

Foggy Morning on UBC Campus

Research and Project Process and Progress

We are slowly progressing with our research. Each one of us has been busy studying for midterms and writing non-LFS research papers these past two weeks. Now that the hardest weeks of the term are  almost behind us, we will have time to focus strictly on the CBEL project and find ways to improve the Gage Snack Vending Model. Our itinerary for this week is to meet up with Victoria, and hopefully our TA Lorne. If not, an email will be sent  to her at the latest tomorrow evening. Once our surveys are approved by Victoria, they will be distributed next week. Each member of the group will be responsible to hand out at least 40 surveys on different parts of the campus. Some of us will focus on the SUB while others will focus on different libraries across campus. We hope everything goes well with the survey distribution, and we will let you all know the outcomes next week.

The sun here in Vancouver has vanished and the thick fog has taken over the UBC campus. We hope the fog doesn’t change your decision to walk around outside and watch the last of the colorful leaves drop to the ground. Winter is just around the corner!

Happy Wednesday!

Group 26


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Surveys On A Sunny Autumn Day

 Final Research Question

Color Changes at UBC taken by Rosemary Wright

We hope you all had a wonderful relaxing Thanksgiving and sunny long weekend with family and friends wherever you were! Our group has lots of work to accomplish this week, including preparing surveys to hand out to individuals (students and faculty) on UBC campus as well as finalizing our research design. Our two research questions have not changed since writing the CBEL proposal and will kept to:

  1. What improvements can be made to the Gage Snack Vending Model already in place on UBC campus?
  2. How can the scope of the model be expanded to include beverage vending machines?

Method: Qualitative or Quantitative

We have had some disagreements within our group about whether or not the survey should be qualitative or quantitative. After some serious debating, our group has decided to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods in the format of our survey: including four ranked questions and two open-ended questions, respectively. The written survey, containing a total of six questions, will be administered to a pilot group of 10 random participants. If all goes well, from there it will be randomly handed out to a sample of approximately 250 participants. The quantitative questions of our survey will be statistically analyzed to determine percentages of the population the results can be inferred to. The qualitative questions of our survey are open ended, and will be analyzed to determine consumer snack and beverage preferences.

Status of CBEL Project: Expected Outcome

We had an online meeting on Tuesday to discuss the possible outcomes of our research. We were also able to schedule a tentative meeting time with Victoria, Liska, and our Teaching Assistant, Lorne James.  The intentions of this meeting are to update all parties involved with our CBEL project and to confirm that we have addressed all the points we set out to. On Wednesday, October 16th, the pilot survey was done with a random sample of 10 students. After the surveys were completed, we found that a revision to the format of the survey was needed. In regards to the questions asked, we believe that they were sufficient enough to provide useful results that will help us address our research questions.

Working our Survey Questions on a Laptop

Our group expects that the current Gage Snack Vending Model will not be performing optimally due to the limited awareness of the relationship between food and health in society. As an outcome of our research, we plan to provide the survey results in a clear and concise format for our community partner, Victoria, to work from. From these results, as well as the results of our audit, we hope to be able to offer valuable suggestions to Victoria, so that she can implement improvements to make the vending model a more effective one. With data collected through our research we hope that UBCFS can improve the vending system in place, and continue setting a positive example.

Our Updated Research Action Plan

  1. Prepare Survey Questions; Determine Hypotheses (if required)
  2. Conduct Pilot Survey on 10 random participants
  3. Finalize Survey Questions
  4. Conduct Survey on 250 random participants by random sampling
  5. Analyze Data by Qualitative/Quantitative methods and come to Conclusions (where appropriate)
  6. Apply Conclusions to the sample population and reflect on Research Questions
  7. Make Suggestions about the Gage Snack Vending Model

View in Front of McMillan Building On Thanksgiving Weekend

Looking Forward

We will be conducting the surveys sometime next week, as we have already finalized our survey questions and have completed the pilot survey. Before handing out the surveys, we wanted to let you know that we came up with our null and alternative hypothesis for our research:


  • Ho: UBC vending machines with the Gage Vending Snack Model is not a success.
  • Ha: UBC vending machines with the Gage Vending Snack Model is a success.

In other words, our null hypothesis is “The Gage Snack Vending Model at UBC Vancouver is not a success”, and our alternate hypothesis is “The Gage Snack Vending Model at UBC Vancouver is a success”. In order to determine whether or not the GVSM is a success based on surveys, the surveys will include Yes/No questions and a rating (1-7) system:

1) Yes: Success; No: Not Success

2) 5-7: Success; 1-4: Not Success

We are planning on dividing the 250 surveys equally to each group member. Each group member in turn will locate themselves to different parts of the campus at different times of the day and hand out their survey. By the end of next week, we should have all the surveys completed so that we can determine the results and to incorporate these results to our CBEL research paper.

Enjoy the rest of the sunny weekend!

Group 26

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Thanksgiving and Research Proposals: Ways to Further Improve Our CBEL Project

Summary of Research Proposal Presentation

On Wednesday our group had to present our research proposal, summarized below:

Our group will be taking steps to assess the current healthy snacks offered in UBC vending machines under the Gage Snack Vending Model (GSVM). This research is being conducted in order to understand what aspects of the GSVM work versus what aspects need work, and to incorporate community feedback into its design. Our aim is to find a working compromise between consumer preferences and what healthy options the vendor is able to bring in. The GSVM’s introduction was a positive change, but the model is not yet ideal so to follow-up and continue developing the GSVM, our CBEL project will focus on the following:

  1. What improvements can be made to the Gage Snack Vending Model already in place on UBC campus?
  2. How can the scope of the model be expanded to include beverage vending machines?

Vending Machine Taken by Tyra Duggan

Our research will be conducted using qualitative (observation) and quantitative (surveying) methods. In this mixed-method design, the benefits of using both allow us to answer our exploratory research questions through detailed note-taking (a qualitative approach), while still being able to compile meaningful statistics about our research population through surveys (quantitative analyses). Key sources of information we will use are past research done by LFS students on UBC vending machines, the Healthy Choice Vending Machine Policy, communications with our community contact, and the Coca-Cola Canada website.

To begin our research, we will perform an audit on all GSVM and beverage vending machines to see how closely the HCVMP is being followed. In addition, we will be looking at sales, correct signage, and cleanliness. Our audit will be followed by observation of consumer habits at the vending machines. We will then use surveys throughout the campus to retrieve information on community preferences. The surveys will mainly consist of ranked questions, with one or two open-ended questions. We will also conduct taste-tests for already-available healthy products (as per the GSVM) to determine which are well-liked and worth keeping.

We created a timeline to help us organize our time and accomplish our goals. Listed below is a general summary of our expected outcomes:

Autumn Leaves After Some Rain Taken by Rosemary Wright


  • Review the BC ministry policy
  • Conduct audit on GVSM machines and beverage machines
  • Conduct surveys at different locations across UBC campus


  • We will report group CBEL findings and analyze the survey
  • Arrange a final meeting with Victoria and Liska
  • Divide the work for the CBEL project final report
  • Divide the work to prepare and rehearse the CBEL project plenary presentation.

By following our work plan, we hope to efficiently meet our project goals: determining any current problems with the GSVM, and suggesting changes to establish a better working model for snack and beverage vending.

What we Learned as a Group from our Proposal Presentation

We received much feedback from our substitute TA after the presentation. First and foremost, our research questions, which was composed of several questions was refined to two very specific questions. By having more specific questions, we can directly navigate our attention to what our goals are. We also considered some questions that can be incorporated into our surveys. Three questions will be asked: 1) When was the last time you used a Gage Snack vending machine? 2) How often do you use vending machines? and 3) When have you bought snacks from the vending machine?

A Sunny Autumn Day near the MacMillan Building on UBC Campus Taken by Rosemary Wright

What to Expect Next

Our group will be navigating the reading group discussion this week on an article: Should We Go Home to Eat?: toward a Reflexive Politics of Localism written by E. Melanie DuPuis and David Goodman. The authors’ main point in this paper is that the term “local” is too ambiguous, and by not being clearly defined, localism as a political movement is resulting in unreflexive localism as demonstrated by the local food movements in the US and the EU, leading to potentially undemocratic and unrepresentative solutions. The next main point is about inequality: Food reform is largely being controlled by consumers of particular class and ethnicity. This is a problem because corporations are taking advantage of and minorities are not being considered. Like previously mentioned, we will lead a critical discussion based on this article on Wednesday.

As for our CBEL project, now that we have a clear understanding of what we are planning to accomplish, we will plan a group meeting in the near future to discuss potential survey questions among other things. We are expected to finish our survey questions and have them ready to distribute to students for the following week. As we plan our surveys and taste test, we will be taking some time off to enjoy the holiday with our family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Group 26


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CBEL Project: Meeting with our Community Partner

This week was quite busy with midterms and assignments, but we managed to organize our time and meet up with our community partner, Victoria, and project manager, Liska. We also had our first official group meeting outside of class time, where we discussed suggestions that were given to us by Victoria and Liska and re-examined the project together to make sure we had a shared understanding and a unified approach to it. We also used this opportunity to split the CBEL proposal and presentation into different sections and group members volunteered for the parts they wanted to work on.

Outcome of Meeting with Victoria and Liska

Tyra and Judy met up with Victoria and Liska on Monday, September 23rd, to discuss and ask questions regarding the Gage Snack Vending Model. Two of the more relevant and important topics for our project were:

  1. Implementing healthy beverage options across campus
  2. Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the Gage Snack Vending Model that was created by previous LFS 450 students in April, 2012.

In terms of beverages, our selection of healthy beverage options on campus is limited to drinks from within the Coca Cola brand family, the campus’ contractor. We therefore need to visit Coca Colas’ Canadian website and compile a list of beverages that we, as a group, recommend and think are healthy to add to the campus vending machines. Odwalla, Minute Maid, and Zico coconut water are all possible examples. If you are personally interested in what is available, here is the link to their website: http://www.cocacola.ca/brands.html

Rehearsing our project proposal presentation

Meanwhile, we need to research previous work that has been done involving vending machines on campus. Victoria wants our group to audit the snack options and ensure that each snack from “choose most” to “choose least” is labelled correctly, by assessing their nutritional value. We need to remember to keep in mind that snacks that can go in the vending machines need to be shelf-stable at room temperature: snacks such as yogurt and cheese are therefore not suitable. Lastly, we need to make sure the vending machine is visually appealing (dust free, signage is displayed nicely, etc).

Our group got together shortly after the meeting with Victoria and Liska, to discuss their suggestions. We exchanged ideas on how to meet our community partner’s expectations: for example, suggesting VendMaster to bring in more local companies to provide healthy products for UBC vending machines. To promote healthy products, we discussed the idea of putting brightly coloured labels on healthy foods in the vending machines to help encourage consumers to try them.

Once we have our beverage and snack options approved, by both Victoria and Liska, we will work on creating consumer tasting surveys and set up stations at the Student Union Building (SUB) on the week of October 14th.

Progress on our Project Proposal Presentation and Paper

As the deadlines for our written project proposal and presentation quickly approach, our group decided the best way to efficiently finish the project proposal was by assigning specific components of the paper to each group member. The task for each member is as follows:

CBEL project proposal:

  • Introduction of our team team and community: Rosemary
  • Research Question: Tyra
  • Methods: Alex
  • Work plan: Avier
  • Budget: Judy
  • References: All group members
  • Editing, and addition of ideas to each section: All group members!

CBEL project presentation:

  • Summary of project focus: Carmen and Rosemary
  • Narrative of Discussion that has taken place in the group: Judy
  • Personal Reflections: All group members
  • In addition to this we had someone in charge of working on this blog post: Katherine

A rainy day on UBC campus on October 2, 2013

Our group is planning to meet up on Wednesday, October 2nd, to rehearse our CBEL project proposal presentation together. Prior to the meeting, all members will have rehearsed their parts on their own. After the presentation, our group will have another meeting at the end of the week to add finishing touches to the CBEL project proposal and to discuss previous research done by LFS 450 students on the vending machines. Our goal for this week is to fully understand our role in this CBEL project and to use this to appreciate what UBCFS is trying to do to promote healthy lifestyles on campus.

 Attitudes and Perceptions Towards CBEL

Our group feels privileged to be working on this CBEL project as our contributions have a small but important impact on the UBC community; trying to improve sustainability in vending machines takes time and effort, and only with patience and dedication can this project advance. We, ourselves, are facing many challenges with this project. For instance, we find it challenging to nutritionally assess two very similar already existing products in UBC vending machines (that are locally produced, healthy, and tasty) to be compared by consumers in time for our taste testing event. Nevertheless, we are confident that we can solve this problem by researching these products for the taste testing event, which will be conducted by our group from October 15th to October 18th at the SUB. The goal is to collect student input on potential vending machine snacks. We are optimistic that the event will attract hundreds of interested consumers and impact the food choices consumers within UBC make. Moreover, these changes on vending machines provide UBC members to have healthier lifestyle. We are glad that the CBEL project is providing us an opportunity to allow us to apply our knowledge on healthy and sustainable food systems into a community we call home.

To our fellow students, good luck on your midterm exams and projects!


Group 26


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Our Perception on Truth and Reconciliation

As a brief aside from our LFS project, today we are posting about a very important event that has taken place here in Vancouver, BC.

On September 18th, 2013, all classes at the University of British Columbia were suspended in support of British Columbia Reconciliation Week, an awareness week held by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). The most important part of the week was the British Columbia National Event, which took place in Vancouver at the Pacific National Exhibition grounds from September 18th to 21st.  UBC’s unusual act of suspending classes was taken in order to ensure that everyone on campus had the opportunity to attend the event. Furthermore, we, as residents of British Columbia, can reflect on the truth behind what really occurred in Indian Residential Schools.

Thunderbird statue on UBC campus

What is the event about?

British Columbia Reconciliation Week and the British Columbia National Event are being held to inform Canadians about the lasting effects that the Indian Residential School System–which operated in Canada from 1875 to 1996–has had on the countless individuals who were affected by it, in order to facilitate healing and reconciliation for them, and foster understanding in our culture as a whole. Specifically, children were taken away from their Aboriginal families and were forced into schools where they were abused into forgetting their cultural identity and traditions. The former Indian Residential School students who were affected include First Nations, Inuit, and Metis. It has also had lasting effects on their communities, the Church, and the Government.

Our Experience and Opinions on the Matter

As a group, we are glad that the issue is being addressed publicly, and we feel that UBC’s decision to suspend classes demonstrates the University’s commitment to promoting positive social change. As students of UBC, we feel proud to be a part of the campus community and, through our own actions and the actions of the University, a part of the change we want to see. Sadly, Aboriginal history is unknown to many, including many Canadian residents. As TRC becomes more widespread, we hope more individuals will be aware of the cruelty and injustice several Aboriginal Canadians had to face.

We hope that events such as this one can help to improve social relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. By participating as a school, we are recognizing and acknowledging its importance.

You can click here to find out more about the event:

This week’s Itinerary

Healthy Choices

The CBEL project proposal deadline is fast approaching and we are still unclear as to what our research question(s) should be. We are having our second official group meeting this upcoming Thursday. We will be critically analyzing the Gage Snack Vending Model and coming up with ideas on ways to replace unhealthy snacks with healthier ones. Since we do not have class this Wednesday, our group has decided to use the extra time to come up with ideas for our CBEL project proposal, which will be shared during our first meeting.

More to come from our group this upcoming week: specifically, we will be discussing our meeting with Victoria and Liska, our community partner and project manager, respectively. We will also be posting our research question onto our blog shortly.

Hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather,

Group 26

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Introducing Group 26: A Fresh Look on Finding Healthy Options in UBC Vending Machines

Welcome to our blog! We are LFS (Land and Food Systems) students at UBC (The University of British Columbia) looking to incorporate our classroom learning into the outside world. In this blog, we will be focusing specifically on our chosen project from our course “LFS 350 – Land, Food, and Community”: to audit our campus’ snack and beverage vending machines, find out what students want from them, and help ensure that healthy options are available and easily identifiable.

UBC Campus Taken by Rosemary Wright

This project is a part of UBC’s SEEDS Program (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies). The last such project, completed by a previous team of students in April 2012, resulted in the recommended healthy snack vending model that is currently in use at UBC, known as the Gage Snack Vending Model. Our project is in many ways a follow-up to theirs, and a part of our work will involve assessing how well the Gage Snack Vending Model is performing.

Our responsibilities for this project will include–but are not limited to–working with the University Nutritionist to review the products that are currently available (in terms of nutrition, stocking, and signage), conducting surveys on UBC campus to understand student snack and beverage preferences, and conducting taste tests of new potential products in collaboration with UBCFS (UBC Food Services) and our campus’ contracted vendor, VendMaster.

In order to accomplish these tasks, we set out a few ground rules for ourselves:

  1. Attend all group meetings
  2. Check emails, text messages, and Google Docs frequently
  3. Share ideas and thoughts from research
  4. Avoid procrastination!

We have decided to split the group work up into different categories and assign each category to one or two members from the group:

  • Community contactor: Judy Tung
  • Blog administrator: Rosemary Wright
  • Main Researchers: Aveir Chang and Katherine Wang
  • Meeting Coordinator: Alexandra Tan
  • Survey Organizer: Carmen Sham
  • Taste Test Organizer: Tyra Duggan

We have been using Google Docs to communicate and share ideas about healthy snacks and beverages that can be placed in UBC vending machines. We would like to share these opinions with our community partner, Victoria Wakefield and project manager Liska Richer. We are in the midst of scheduling an appointment to meet them in person, and should hear back from them soon. We are planning on meeting with them sometime this week (week of September 16) or at the latest, the week of September 23.

Snack Options In Gage’s Vending Machines Taken by Aveir Chang

Beverage Options in Gage Vending Machines Taken by Aveir Chang










Our goal this week is to understand the current context of the Gage Snack Vending Model, explore the vendor’s website, and come up with answers to two important questions:

1) How do we define “healthy”?

This question is extremely hard to answer because each individual has their own definition of the word “healthy”. For example, some people think energy bars are a good source of energy, while others argue that they are too high in calories and low in fibre. We, as a group, need to find a balance that satisfies our aim to replace current snacks with healthier options, and still ensures the buyer’s satisfaction with their purchase.

2) What are the criteria to allow snacks to be placed in vending machines?

Fruits are a perfectly acceptable snack; however, the warm conditions in the vending machine will cause fruit to rot within days of being added. Our group needs to come up with not only a list of health snack and beverage options, but also take into consideration the shelf life and cost of each product.

Keeping these two questions in mind, we will make a preliminary list of snack and beverages we believe are suitable for UBC vending machines.

If you have questions regarding our project, please place them down below!


Group 26

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