Category Archives: Research

Best Vending Machine Products Of The Year

This year’s Best Vending Machine Products  is

The winners of the Automatic Merchandiser’s Readers Choice Awardsawards_product for “Products of the Year” were recently announced in a number of categories. Winners for new products of the year include:

  • Cookie category – LLC’s RUGER® Strawberry Wafers
  • Candy category – DOVE® Silky Smooth Cookies and Creme bar
  • Food category – Pierre Drive Thru Deluxe sandwich
  • Snack category – Kellogg’s Special K® Cracker Chips
  • Cold beverage category – Nestlé Sweet Leaf Tea
  • Hot beverage category – Barista Prima Coffeehouse® Vanilla Latte Café Beverage
  • Pastry category – Mrs. Freshley’s Cinnabon® Honey Bun

Learn the winners of micro markets, all-natural healthy, and OCS categories at VendingMarketWatch

 

Best Vending Machine Products are the cookie category winner, RUGER®, LLC’s RUGER® Strawberry Wafers, is served in multi-functional pouches perfect for traditional vending or micro markets, as is the Best Vending Machine Products diverse packaging sizes of the candy category winner Mars Chocolate North America DOVE® Brand Silky Smooth Cookies and Crème bar. The Best Vending Machine Products  in food category winner, AdvancePierre Foods Pierre Drive Thru Deluxe sandwich, fits the growing micro market trend by offering restaurant-style food.

Wellness focused, the Best Vending Machine Products snack category winner, Kellogg’s® Special K® Cracker Chips is regarded as a healthy choice snack low in sodium and calories. In addition, the cold beverage category winner, Nestlé Sweet Leaf Tea, is viewed as a healthy beverage alternative, made with pure cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup.

Consistent with the demand for café-quality office coffee, the Best Vending Machine Products is Barista Prima Coffeehouse® Vanilla Latte Café Beverage for the Keurig® Vue® system, has won the hot beverage category.

The last category is representative of a consumer favorite Best Vending Machine Products — Mrs. Freshley’s® Cinnabon® Honey Bunwhich won in this year’s pastry category.

US Consumers Eat Snacks Not Meals

US Consumers Eat Snacks Not Meals  The Hartman group has completed a recent consumer survey on eating habits and found that among US consumers in 2012, more than half of all eating occasions were snacks on a daily basis.

US Consumers Eat Snacks Not Meals  More consumers said they considered eating smaller meals more frequently to be healthier and that snacking helps to bridge the gap between meals.

Although most said snacks need to be healthy, chips and soda topped the list for consumers who snack.

If you are in the consumer snacks business, how have you found this research to pan out in your business?More Vending Videos  School Vending Machines Have A Healthy Option

Learn more: Survey: Consumers Snack More Than They Dine     

Energy Saving Vending Machine

Energy Saving Vending Machine  Coca Cola Japan has announced what they call the peak shift vending machine. It shifts the use of power from the peak daytime hours to the nighttime to reduce the strain on the power supply. In the summer, the machines can produce cooled products for 16 hours and at the same time reduce daytime power consumption by 95%.

Energy Saving Vending Machine  Pretty impressive. This machine hasn’t launched yet and it’s unclear whether Coca-Cola will bring this technology to the US.  You are listening to the Vending Business Show  Energy Saving Vending Machine    More interesting Blogs  Take Over A Vending Route Or Start Your Own?

Read more: http://www.vendingmarketwatch.com/news/10833583/coca-cola-japan-launches-power-shifting-energy-saving-vending-machine

Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd. recently announced what it called the most innovative vending machine in these past 50 years, “peak shift vending machines.” The peak shift vending machine shifts the use of power for cooling from the general daytime peak demand period to nighttime, when relatively less strain is placed on the power supply. In summer, these machines can provide cooled products for 16 hours while reducing daytime power consumption by 95 percent. Power consumption is also reduced in winter by 20 percent compared to current vending machines and, combined with power consumed for cooling, these vending machines are a global forerunner that can reduce power consumption by 68 percent, according to the company.

Consumers Will Pay More For Higher Quality Breakfast Products

Consumers Will Pay More For Higher Quality Breakfast Products  The latest research from Mintel on the breakfast food market in the US shows:

Consumers WWill Pay More For Higher Quality Breakfast Products  According to latest research from Mintel on the breakfast food market in the U.S., the majority (69 percent) of respondents who eat any breakfast foods during the week consider low cholesterol or heart healthy claims important when selecting food they typically eat for breakfast. Additionally, around the same number (65 percent) think low-fat and high-fiber are significant health-related attributes when selecting breakfast foods.

The majority (57 percent) of respondents who eat any breakfast foods during the week would be willing to spend more on better quality prepackaged breakfast foods, shows Mintel’s consumer research. Furthermore, 41 percent would like to see more organic prepackaged breakfast products.

Overall, the breakfast foods category has experienced solid growth during the recession, with a 20 percent increase in dollar sales from 2007 to 2011, going from $10 billion in 2007 to $12 billion in 2011. Furthermore the market is forecast to continue to grow by nearly 26 percent from 2012 to 2017 to reach a predicted $15.7 billion.  Consumers Will Pay More For Higher Quality Breakfast Products

Carla Dobre-Chastain, food analyst at Mintel, said, in a prepared statement, “Eating at home to save money and the convenience of many products in the breakfast category likely aided in its impressive sales growth. While price will continue to play an important role when it comes to breakfast foods, Mintel’s research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for higher-quality breakfast products. Therefore, manufacturers and retailers need to strike a balance between price and quality in order to stay at the top of the market.”

Despite 45 percent of respondents enjoying pancakes for breakfast, 40 percent frozen waffles and 33 percent packaged sausages, it is in this traditional breakfast food category where consumer demand for healthy claims is highest.

  • Consumers consider low cholesterol or heart healthy claims important
  • Consumers think low-fat and high-fiber attributes are important when choosing products
  • Consumers are willing to spend more on better quality pre-packaged breakfast foods

The breakfast foods category has experienced solid growth during the recession and is forecast to continue to grow by 26% through 2017.  You are on the Vending Business show for more blogs  Gym Vending Machine

Read more: Most Consumers Will Spend More On ‘Healthy’ Breakfast Foods, Reports Mintel

Snack Bar Market UP

Snack Bar Market Up  According to a report by Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group, the US market for snack bars has more than doubled to almost $6 billion over the past decade. “Snack bars have found broad appeal among a large consumer base that ranges from athletes to couch potatoes, from working mothers to professionals on the go.”

Snack Bar Market Up  Many factors have contributed to the growth of the snack bar category:

  • Multi-purpose appeal of snack bars to a broad range of consumers
  • A trend toward increased snacking between meals
  • Broad retail distribution in convenience stores

6.4% annually, according to the report. That far outpaces the 3.5% growth of the $34 billion savory snack market, including chips and pretzels, and modest 2.4% growth of the wider packaged food segment.

“Snack bars are one of the few bright spots in today’s U.S. processed food market,” said Nicholas Fereday, author of the report and Rabobank analyst. “By capitalizing on consumer trends and evolving demographics, snack bars have found broad appeal among a large consumer base that ranges from athletes to couch potatoes, from working mothers to professionals on the go.”

Several factors have helped drive the category’s success, according to the report. One of them is the multi-purpose appeal of snack bars to a broad range of consumers. For example, high-protein bars appeal to athletes looking to bulk up and to dieters trying to suppress their appetites.

Flexibility in where and when to eat snack bars also makes them attractive, relevant and convenient for today’s consumers. Another plus for the category, according to Rabobank, is a trend toward increased snacking between meals, which creates more eating occasions. Broad retail distribution in delis, dollar stores, gas stations and grocery stores encourage impulse consumption, a key driver in many snack and candy purchases.

According to the report there’s room for more growth in the snack bar category based on the consumer trend toward convenience, portability, health and wellness.  For more Vending Business Blogs  School Vending Machines Have A Healthy Option

Read more: Snack bar growth shows no signs of slowing

Youth Market and Vending Machines

Youth Market and Vending Machines Food and Drink Digital interviewed Michael L. Kasavana, Ph.D., who is a NAMA-endowed professor at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business on the topic of the youth market.

Youth Market and Vending Machines Kasavana says a major trend is enhancement of the consumer interface and for vending machines that means a more interactive transaction – one that youth who shop and play games online are used to including payment options available online. “Why can’t you do that at a vending machine?”

Another trend is the products being sold are no longer traditional, but moving toward non-traditional items like energy drinks, trail mixes, things perceived to be more healthy.

Youth Market and Vending Machines  Also product information like nutritional content. The younger generation is watching what they eat. Vending machine manufacturers will soon be required to project the food manufacturer’s nutrition label like you see on most packages.  USA Technologies already has a screen that will retrofit on the vending machine that shows nutritional content.  It is also a credit card reader.  For more information on Usa Technologies  USA TECHNOLOGIES ePORT G9  You are watching the Vending Business show at A&M Vending Machine Sales.  For more videos you can go to www.ameqquipmentsales.com and go to vending business blogs.  Over one hundred vending blogs available.

Read more: Capturing the Youth Market with Vending Machines  

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USA Technologies ePortConnect

USA Technologies ePortConnect  is making available an interface to their USA Technologiescomprehensive USA  ePortConnect service platform for developers and OEMs: QuickConnect.

Some of reasons developers and manufacturers are expected to use QuickConnect include:

  • Programmers can implement the API web service in their code, reducing certification cycle time and speeding up time to market
  • Device machine manufacturers that desire a turnkey solution for enabling a connection to USAT’s comprehensive ePort Connect service independent of card reading hardware
  • Developers of mobile applications requiring a turnkey solution for cashless payment services; and, other developers of unattended devices, such as kiosks, that require an easily deployed cashless option

Read more: USA Technologies Inc. Adds Web Services To Its Technology Portfolio

For more videos on the vending business show   Vending Machine License: Is It Something You Need?

How Vending Operators Can Leverage Technology

Vending Operator- Vending MachineHow Vending Operators Can Leverage Technology

Are you curious how you, the vending operator, can leverage technology into your vending business?  There was standing room only at the 2012 NAMA OneShow in Las Vegas to hear the four panelists explain where things are going.

Chuck Reed, of MEI: “If your machines can take only $1 bills, you’re missing sales.” Currently, cash is used for 50% of small transactions; debit and credit combined represent about 30%. “You can’t force a patron to use one or the other.”

MEI is the industry leader in providing bill recyclers, a device that accepts larger bill denominations and utilizes $1 bills to replenish a reserve. Studies have shown that bill recyclers increase sales per vending machine.

Anant Agrawal of Cantaloupe Systems: “The Cantaloupe Systems principal envisions a not-so-distant future in which someone can tell his or her smartphone, ‘I want a Mountain Dew,’ and the instrument will display vending machines and other retail outlets in the vicinity. The thirsty consumer will go to the nearest machine, tap the phone on the card reader, and receive the drink — plus loyalty points and a discount on a Frito-Lay snack.” All this new technology will make it easier for the vending operator.

Michael Lawlor of USA Technologies: USA Technologies maintains a knowledge base that keeps track of overall card sales through ePort-equipped vending machines. Michael said 21% of card sales were for products costing less than $1, and 34% for items priced above $2. He recommends that operators need to raise vend prices, he predicted that consumers are more likely to choose the cashless option for higher-ticket sales if that option is available to them.

Chris Lilly of Best Vendors and chairs NAMA’s Vending Data Interchange Committee: “Most of you are not software engineers,” Lilly said, “but you want your systems to work together, to pass ‘messages’ back and forth.” The VDI standards describe protocols for those systems.

Read more: Leveraging Technology – Part 2: Cashless Options Multiply, Interoperability Advances

Cashless Vending From an Operator

Cashless Vending From an Operator  As a new comer to cashless, you’re company must have decided to wait before making this investment. Why did you wait to get into cashless until this year?

Were you getting requests from customers to have cashless?

Did you develop a plan before making this investment?

How did you decide which machines to equip with cashless capability?

Did that include hot beverage machines too?

Listen to the podcast at Vending Market Watch as Lisa Leuchter of SnackWorks, Inc shares answers and their experience. Cashless Vending From an Operator

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Cashless Vending From an Operator  Speaker 1: Welcome to the Vending Technology Watch podcast. We’re here today with Lisa Leuchter, the Vice President of Snackworks in Bradenton, Florida. We’re here today to talk about cashless vending. Snackworks has more than 1,000 machines, and the company was founded in 1990. One of the reasons I wanted to talk to Lisa about this is her company has had a fairly recent entry into the cashless world.

Speaker 1: Lisa, my question is as a newcomer to Cashless Vending From an Operator   your company must have decided to wait before making this investment. I’m curious to know why you chose to invest in cashless this year.

Lisa Leuchter: Well, as a smaller local vendor, we’re very aware of cashless, and we’re very attuned to it, and, of course, it has a cost to it for the operator. So, we kept our ear to the ground and really listened to our customers on a regular basis and talked to many of them about cashless, and as we felt it became a more prominent potential issue for customers, we seriously started to look into implementing it. But we were still on the fence. This past fall, I believe it was in the fall, when USA Technologies implemented their jump-start program, it made it easy to make that commitment to implement cashless in our equipment.

Speaker 1: Okay. Now, were you getting requests from customers to have cashless?

Lisa Leuchter: Very few, but we did proactively talk to our customers about cashless. It didn’t seem to be a hot button but, like all things, information grows and customers become more and more aware of options that are available out there, and we always strive to be on the forefront of what we do with our customers, and at the right time we implement new strategies.

Speaker 1: Okay. Now, did you develop a plan before making this investment?

Lisa Leuchter: We did. We developed a plan ourselves initially talking about it, and the customers that we felt would be best to start with, and we found that even with our plan there was still more to learn. So, once we committed to USA Technologies, we spent some time with Jim Turner from USA Technologies and did a full business analysis of our customer type by industry, and then looking at each individual machine, and then the bank of machines those individual machines resided in, in order to fine-tune the locations that we would initially install the cashless with.

Speaker 1: Okay. How did you decide which machines to equip with cashless capability?

Lisa Leuchter: Initially we looked at the industries that historically are known to have the highest usage, the highest acceptance of cashless. Armed with that, we then looked at our highest velocity equipment. Depending on your own personal strategy, you could look at turns, you could look at revenue. And then we had to ourselves make the decision that when we decided on equipment we wanted to put cashless in, to also include, or not, every piece of equipment in that entire bank. We chose to include it in all equipment, even if an individual machine wouldn’t meet our overall criteria.

Speaker 1: Oh. Did that include hot beverage machines too?

Lisa Leuchter: If in the bank, yes, and food, if in the bank, yes.

Speaker 1: All right. Well, I think that’s enough for the first segment of this series Cashless Vending From an Operator  .  Next time we meet we will talk about what some of the results have been to the cashless program to date. Thank you, Lisa.  More Vending Business Blogs  Vending Machine License: Is It Something You Need?

Vending Industry and Nutrition

Vending Industry and Nutrition U.S. Schools have been fighting obesity for six years now despite the financial hardship it has brought on and the vending industry has supported this cause – one example is NAMA’s Fit Pick program.

Vending Industry and Nutrition These wellness issues have been difficult for vending operators to deal with but necessary for long-term planning and changing consumer perception of vending.

The US Department of Agriculture is pressing for new rules for vending machines under the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs.  Vending operators would do well to lead the charge in consumer perceptions of vending, rather than following it.

It has been six years since U.S. schools began removing soda from vending machines. This was a controversial move. Some observers claimed it would create financial hardships for schools but would not change kids’ eating habits.

The removal of soda and other products has certainly created financial hardships for schools. Obesity rates among young people remain high. However, this past week, the journal, Pediatrics, reports that laws that curb the sales of “junk” food and sweetened drinks at school may play a role in slowing childhood obesity.

The vending and beverage industries have largely supported these efforts. They have done so in recognition of the seriousness of the obesity problem and in the interest of being good corporate citizens. The beverage industry has voluntarily removed soda from many schools. The vending industry, led by the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), has promoted wellness through its voluntary Fit Pick program.

Many vending operators have supported these efforts because they recognize they need to be health advocates. But from a profitability standpoint, it would be an understatement to say the wellness programs have been a challenge. At a time when the industry can least afford it, many school accounts have become less profitable.

While the wellness initiatives have been a tough pill to swallow, vending operators need to consider these efforts within the context of their long-term objectives. A key objective has been the need to change consumer perception of vending.

NAMA has invested heavily in a public awareness campaign to improve the vending industry’s image. The campaign has largely focused on promoting new vending technology. Research indicates consumers are viewing vending more favorably, particularly younger consumers. One reason is that the wellness activities are changing the traditional association of vending machines as purveyors of “junk” food.

Today’s younger generation does not see vending machines filled with soda at school. They see machines offering more water and other noncarbonated beverages. They see snack machines with more baked chips and whole grain snacks. These students are tomorrow’s consumers.

Read more exciting articles  Take Over A Vending Route Or Start Your Own?

Read the full story: Nutrition Rules Hurt Short Term, But Ultimately Help Improve Vending’s Public Image