The vending machine industry has been around for a long time: since 1888, to be exact. Naturally, a lot has changed since then, with the industry evolving along with commercial, technological, and cultural innovations and trends.
Lately, some of the biggest shifts in the vending industry have taken place in the realms of wellness and sustainability. As consumers show an increasing preference for making healthier, more eco-friendly choices, vending machine owners and operators are making adjustments accordingly, many choosing to build a more eco-friendly vending machine business.
Any modern vending machine operator – and those interested in getting into the industry – should be aware of these trends in order to make informed decisions about how to run their vending business. To help you out, this article explores the latest in green vending machine business trends.
Changes in the Vending Industry
Technological advances and changing consumer preferences have driven several changes in the vending machine industry in the last decade. In addition to a move toward cashless payments, personalization, and remote monitoring and maintenance, two of the most significant changes are related to health and sustainability.
As consumers become more and more educated about nutrition and health, they increasingly seek out healthier food and drink options. The vending industry has responded by offering more nutritious healthy vending machine products. Similarly, along with the general global move toward more environmental consciousness, vending machine companies are showing an increasing focus on sustainability, with many new eco-friendly vending machines being designed to use recycled materials and less energy.
Health, Wellness, and the Environment
While they may not seem to be related at first glance, there is a strong relationship between the trends of health and ecology in the vending industry. Generally, healthy food options are more sustainable, often made with organic and locally-sourced ingredients and packaged in eco-friendly materials. This means that customers are supporting sustainable agriculture and reducing their environmental impact while choosing a healthier snack.
Sustainable vending practices can actually improve health, too, as a reduced carbon footprint contributes to a healthier planet for all. Today, it’s becoming more common practice for vending machine operators to stock products that meet both criteria, being locally sourced and organic as well as low in sugar, fat, and salt. Operators can even use their machines as a tool to educate customers about health and sustainability, providing information to the consumers about the nutritional content and environmental impact of different products and packaging materials by advertising on their machine or payment device screen.
A Healthier Vending Machine
Wellness is one of the most prominent vending machine trends in the industry today. Some of the ways that vending machine owners and operators are striving to offer healthier choices include:
- Stocking products with healthier ingredients, such as plant-based proteins, natural sweeteners, and whole grains
- Offering more organic and non-GMO choices
- Offering portion-controlled snacks
- Stocking more gluten-free and allergen-free products
- Offering fresh food options such as salads, fruits, and sandwiches
These trends are particularly relevant in locations such as schools, universities, workplaces, and hospitals.
Green Vending Machine Trends
Some key green vending machine trends today include:
- Energy-efficient machines that use LED lighting, motion sensors, and energy-saving modes to reduce environmental impact and energy costs
- Green vending machine products that use eco-friendly materials for packaging, such as biodegradable plastics, recycled paper, and compostable materials to reduce waste
- Sustainably-sourced products such as fair-trade coffee and tea, organic snacks, and locally sourced products
- Promoting recycling by placing recycling bins near machines, using recyclable materials for products, and even building in recycling capabilities such as crush and compact features
- Using renewable energy sources such as solar power to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the carbon footprint of the machine
- Efficient machine and inventory management that reduce visits to the machine location and therefore the use of fuel
The Business Case for Green Vending Machines
Green vending isn’t only the responsible choice for the environment; it can also have beneficial outcomes for vending machine business ownjkkiers by creating an improved customer experience and driving customer loyalty.
First, going green is a way to appeal to eco-conscious customers, which is most of them: one 2023 McKinsey survey found that 66% of all respondents and 75% of millennial respondents say that they consider sustainability when they make a purchase. In offering eco-friendly vending machines, operators can attract and retain customers who prioritize sustainability.
A commitment to the environment can also enhance brand image, as 70% of Americans believe it’s important for companies to make the world a better place, and 77% of consumers are motivated to purchase from companies committed to doing so.
By offering healthy, eco-friendly options and using energy-efficient features, vending machine operators can demonstrate that they are not only concerned about their profits, but also care about customers’ health and the environment, creating a positive customer experience that builds brand loyalty.
To drive customer experience and loyalty even further, consider using a platform and payment app like Monyx Wallet. It enables cashless payments, which help future-proof your business and allow you to keep up with the latest trends in vending while increasing convenience for customers and creating a superior customer experience. Monyx’s built-in digital loyalty programs help you increase engagement with a variety of reward options, including punch cards, employee discounts, and gamification, boosting customer retention and sales.
Green Vending: Good for Business, Good for the World
Overall, green vending can contribute to a number of positive business outcomes for vending machine owners including attracting new customers, building brand loyalty, boosting sales, and improving retention rates. By adopting sustainable practices, vending machine operators can create a competitive advantage while contributing to a healthier planet.
To learn more about vending machine solutions that will help you keep up with the latest trends in the vending industry, contact Nayax today.