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CORAL GABLES, FL -- Students and faculty now have healthier snack options to eat on-the-go, as "Del Monte" fresh fruit and vegetables are being sold in vending machines across university, college and school campuses, nationwide.

The University of Notre Dame, the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College are among the early higher education institutions taking concrete steps to help students and faculty lead healthier lives by offering convenient, fresh produce in their vending programs. Primary and secondary schools in south Florida and several school districts along the East Coast have also begun offering healthier snacking options.

The “Del Monte” fresh fruit and vegetable vending line has products that are specially packaged to ensure freshness, and include four- to six-ounce single serving sizes of fresh cut “Del Monte Gold” extra sweet pineapple chunks, grapes, apple slices, baby carrots, celery and tomatoes. A few of the mixes also contain light or low-fat dips. The whole bananas are specially packed in “Del Monte's CRT” proprietary banana packaging, which helps to maintain the fruit's freshness and appearance. All items in this line are completely natural and have 120 calories or less.

"We are excited that so many educational institutions, at all levels, have decided to include 'Del Monte' fresh fruit and vegetables in their vending programs," Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for North America at Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., said in a Feb. 9 press release. "With the rates of obesity among children and adults rising, and the increasing emphasis on the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, it is important to give consumers healthier options in as many venues as possible. Offering students and faculty these healthier choices in vending machines is a great way to help them stay healthy when on the go and perfect for their sometimes hectic and time-crunched lives. We are confident that this is just the beginning of our efforts to expand our produce offering in vending machines across North America."