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If your young co-operative is really pushed for time but you still want to be able to continue to promote fair trade products in your school, why not organise for a fair trade drinks vending machine? This must still comply with new nutrition standards for snack foods sold in schools.

Setting up a fair trade vending machine 

Drinks vending. Because of the new nutrition standards for snack foods sold in schools, many healthier items are likely to be perishable – so they need careful handling, and you need to check that the products are still within their 'best before' date. The easiest way to start with fair trade vending is to choose a drinks machine.

Renting a machine. Check with your school that it is OK to rent a machine. You can find out more from the website: Fairtrade Vending is a company that can provide young co-operatives with some free stock, which when sold will cover the rental of the machine. Young co-operatives can then have control over ordering, re-stocking and overseeing sales.

Promote! Find a suitable place to put the machine in your school. A common room or hallway will mean the drinks are available to lots of pupils. Decorate your fair trade vending machine with posters and promote your young co-operative.


CASE STUDY! We did it! 

If you have a success story to tell about a fair trade vending machine in your school please contact Hannah Williams by emailing:

Young Co-operatives is a not-for-profit organisation that offers young people (usually aged 13-17) a practical introduction to fair trade and co-operative ways of working. It gives them the chance to run their own co-operative selling fairly traded products, acquiring valuable business skills and making a real difference to the lives of producers in poor countries and their families. For more information visit:

The School Food Trust website provides full information on the nutrition standards for school food, and its staff are able to answer any direct questions you may have:

This publication has been produced by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming on behalf of Young Cooperatives and supported by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Healthy Schools & Fair Trade: Sustain was contracted by Young Co-operatives to assess the implications of the new school food standards for fair-trade food and drink products sold in schools. This work was supported by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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