The vending environment is changing. The influence of technology on stock control, supply, payment and consumer choice and customisation is in its infancy. The standard and choice of food to go outlets, featuring globally influenced menu items and made-to-measure beverage choices has raised consumer expectation in the out of home sector. This influence has driven an uplift within the vending market which looks set to continue and grow.
Brands like Costa Express which now has over 5,000 self-serve coffee bars, featuring fresh milk, freshly ground beans and an extensive range of menu choices is an example of how a vending solution has raised its game to meet customer expectation and demand. The Coca-Cola Freestyle app which lets consumers custom blend their vended fizzy drinks from a selection of over 100 and save their choices on their phones is another example.
Sector influences are affecting vending market growth too. The healthcare sector is under increasing government pressure to lead the way in terms of healthy food provision and several NHS trusts are reviewing the content of vending machines for both visitors and staff as a result. The replacement of high fat, sugar, salt and calorie snacks and drinks by healthier alternatives is what will be driving vending stock decisions in hospital trusts in the future. Catering for hospital staff in a 24/7 working environment relies on vending machines when serviced catering outlets are closed and quality, healthy, hot vends are another area set for growth in this sector.
In essence the vending industry is an exciting place to be right now, with plenty of opportunity for innovation and growth; see for yourself at Vendex Midlands on the 24 April!