For over a decade now, the popularity of healthy products has slowly but steadily been increasing. Hence, it came as no surprise that a few years ago, this trend was introduced in the vending niche. Due to restrictions in the past, vending machines had the capability to store products that are easy to maintain and preserve, like chips, biscuits, etc. As a result, vending machines became synonymous with “junk food” and with the advent of the “health revolution”, consumers began drifting away from vending machines.
However, with the introduction of smart vending machines with technologies like zonal cooling, you can now store products in different temperature ranges within the same storage unit. This enables vending business owners to store a variety of products based on their consumer preferences!
But, what are the driving factors that brought about this popularity of healthy products in the vending ecosystem?
The Paradigm Shift
Ever since its inception, vending machines are known to store munchies and snacks that are not exactly healthy but tasty and convenient. So, what changed?
The answer was presented in 2017, at the AVEX conference in the UK. Cyril Lavenant of NPD, the most significant research company in the food industry, combined with the main factors that impacted this paradigm shift in six consumer trends as given below:
Quality of the Product
Today, questions like, “how many calories are in this?” “Is this gluten-free?”, etc. are commonly asked by consumers before they purchase any food item. Hence, consumers want access to healthier options. Moreover, while the nutritional value of the product is printed on the snack packets, with smart vending solutions like the Vendekin consumer app, users can view these details easily on their smartphones.
Perception of Freshness
Health-conscious consumers are taking over the entire consumer demographic. These consumers need to know that the food they consume is not only healthy, but also safe. Hence, they should be able to check the expiry dates.
Transparency of Sourcing
Consumers are more aware of their surroundings as well as global affairs. They also take an interest in what they consume and where it originates from. Hence, due to reasons like supporting the local crowd and lack of trust in imported goods, consumers prefer locally-sourced products. An ideal example of this is the extremely popular trend of sausage vending machines in Germany. Not only are the machines extremely popular in small towns as they sell locally sourced food, but they are open 24/7- which is a huge benefit for consumers as most shops are closed on Sundays.
With encouragement in the form of campaigns from the likes of Michelle Obama, consumer demand for healthy products increased tenfold. That being said, despite the growing population of health-conscious consumers and the ability to store these products, the vending industry has seen some resistance to the rise of healthy products. This is because a lot of business owners are concerned that healthy products might severely impact their product turnover due to factors like spoilage or wastage. Moreover, certain studies show that healthy and organic products may expire faster.
Due to these opinions, the vending ecosystem is currently in an equal split with just one question; traditional or healthy snacks? So, which one is best for you as a vending machine operator?
The Need For Healthy Snacks
Before choosing one type of product, it is essential to understand what the hype about healthy snacks is in the first place. There are a couple of reasons that indicate the need for healthy snacks. The first being obesity. According to a report published by the Times of India, about 9.8 million men are overweight and 20 million women are obese in India.
Obesity is a hazardous disease, which not only impacts the body but can have adverse effects on the mind as well. Hence, if vending machines provide healthy snacks for children, it’s a step in the right direction for the overall betterment of society. Another is providing variety to consumers. By providing a healthier option, vending machine owners will be able to provide their consumers with more variety and options to choose from. Moreover, by selling healthy products, brands can show that they care for their consumers, which ultimately leads to increased customer loyalty and overall happy customers!
The Move From Traditional To Healthy
If the reasons mentioned above were able to help you choose healthy products over sticking to traditional items, it is essential to understand that there is always a level of risk involved when changing a business model. The risk is even higher if you follow what’s trending or what other business owners are doing, without doing your due diligence. Hence, once you’ve decided to give the vending machine that healthy touch, you need to come up with an effective strategy.
Vendekin vending solutions can enable you to execute this strategy!
It isn’t always the best idea to replace all your products in one go. This might result in you losing your loyal customers who use your vending machine to buy their favourite products. Instead, you can start by adding a few healthy products in addition to your existing offerings.
Using the Vendekin platform you can monitor consumer behaviour and improvements in sales to products that you gradually replace in your offerings. After all, when it comes to business decisions, it’s all about data.
Once you have relevant data in place, the Vendekin analytics portal helps you analyze data and make decisions based on these facts. If they look promising, continue replacing traditional snacks with new healthy snacks. By slowly introducing products, you will be able to surprise your consumers with a new product every week, which will keep them coming back for more! Just ensure that regardless of the new products you add, you are providing diversity and variety to the consumers.
For more tips on starting your vending machine, or to know more about effective vending solutions for your machine, contact us today!