Posted in Kafevend Blog

In the main the Kafevend blogs are concerned with tea and coffee, but occasionally we like to take a look at what's going on in the wider world of vending machines and today is one such day. Let us update you on some recent developments in vending machines in the USA and Australia before bringing you back closer to home.

Vending machine drinks and snacks were, until quite recently, a lucrative business in the United States. However, recent nutritional guidelines set by the government have greatly reduced sales in locations such as schools, hospitals and government buildings where the guidelines must be strictly adhered to. Fizzy drinks, iced tea, chocolate, sweets, crisps and the like are no longer deemed suitable, as the government does its best to stall the obesity epidemic and reduce waistlines. Nevertheless, convincing people that healthier fare like water, trail mix and carrot sticks is worth putting money in the slot for is proving a tough challenge. One company with a contract in some 500 New York schools saw their sales halved when the new regulations came into force. In order to keep the business afloat they've been turning to non-food items instead, such as phone chargers and headphones.

Shifting a national psyche is doubtless a major undertaking, while carefully targeted, smaller scale projects are often more readily achievable. Dane Blackburn and Laura Anderson are a perfect example of the latter. The Australian entrepreneurs seek to provide customers with a healthy option through their 'Füd Revolution' vending machine launched in Melbourne last month. The temperature controlled machine was custom built from recycled timber and the snacks and meals inside are freshly prepared each day from locally sourced produce.  A wide range of dietary requirements is catered for: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, even sugar free. Healthy breakfasts and desserts are also on offer, meaning that busy but health conscious Melbourners can grab food on the go. More machines are planned for other locations in Melbourne as the year goes on.

As it happens, there's no need to travel as far afield as Melbourne to find a vending machine specialising in veg. We need only go to Dundee! Farming cousins, Peter and Euan Grewar, big names in potato farming north of the border, wanted to find additional ways of selling their produce to the public that would help to raise their profile and forge more of a connection with the public. Following the success of vending machines installed on their own farm and then two further farms, they decided to launch another in a very different location. Last December a Dundee shopping centre became their fourth venue and a very successful one too. The Grewars provide various varieties of potatoes, while other friends and family in the farming community contribute a wider selection of vegetables, fruit and eggs. The cousins are considering the viability of extending the service to Scotland's main cities, but in the meantime machines are currently being installed at a petrol station and a Perth shopping centre.

Considering their versatility, not to mention convenience, it's no wonder that vending machines here in the UK continue to do so well. Don't forget to visit yours when you next fancy a cuppa!

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