Convenience, one of the major food trends of the moment – never has there been a time when UK consumers were busier, more time crunched, and more attracted to convenience foods. It even goes beyond this – convenience is a key factor in consumer purchase decisions, with consumers constantly looking to minimise food preparation, reduce cooking times, and pick up more and more items on-the-go.
It is the on-the-go market that’s expanding hugely – with consumers tending towards smaller meals and more snacks for convenience, rather than the traditional three larger meals and the tendency to avoid snacking. The growing prevalence of technology and innovation supports this further, enabling us to get our hands on convenience food faster than ever before.
What better to combine these two areas – technology and convenience – than the humble vending machine? Vending machines may not immediately come to mind as being the cutting edge of food technology having dispensed chocolate bars and energy drinks for years, and have long carried the stigma of being associated with ‘junk food’ – but it certainly seems we are overlooking their advantages.
Countries such as Singapore, the Netherlands and the US have truly cottoned on to the benefits and practicalities of vending machines – not just in cold food, but in offering full meal solutions for those on the go, frequently providing healthy options. Here are four notable examples we’ve seen around the globe:
Launched in the US in 2014, Farmer’s Fridge has taken the States by storm, providing a healthy alternative to the typical vending machine. The machine offers freshly prepared, ready to eat salads – both sweet and savoury; as well as breakfast options such as granola and yoghurt portions, marketed as providing consumers with a quick on-the-go meal which doesn’t compromise on nutritional value or taste.
Paline Pizza ATM
Although not within the ‘healthy’ arena, Paline Pizza ATM is open round-the-clock, dispensing freshly prepared pizzas within three minutes of ordering – providing a variety of topping choices. The machine is reasonably priced, temperature controlled and capable of holding 70 pizzas at once – this really is technology we expect to see utilised more regularly.
Muscling in on the huge US trend for Mexican-inspired food, Delish has brought into the UK market a fully automated dispensing kiosk designed to vend out burritos in less than 90 seconds. It boasts multiple temperature controlled apartments enabling the customer to choose from a variety of fillings and sauces, as well as a live video-chat function should there be a problem with the final product.
Originally established in Singapore 2001, Chef-In-Box heats and serves bento meals available in a variety of flavours; western food such as spaghetti Bolognese; and a range of indulgent snacks. The machines use the latest freezing/cooking technology to seal the nutrients within the meals, and dispense hot meals in under three minutes.
With technology being able to preserve food items for longer and offer a greater degree of convenience through proximity and time-saving, the humble vending machine is well and truly positioned to take advantage of its attributes and take the market by storm.
Are you looking to launch a vending machine in the UK? Call us on 01803 203387 or email Hannah@food-and-drink.marketing