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VENDING & WATER COOLERS


vending, something that has been the subject of many a conversation over the years!


NPD has contributed greatly to improving the overall perception of vending, which has changed considerably over the years and continues to do so. With the market focused on manufacturing innovative machines that now use premium quality ingredients in order to vend a quality beverage, consumers are now able to enjoy a superior vending experience. With the overall quality of vending constantly improving, it is no surprise that consumer choices are reflecting the type of purchasing seen on the high street. Coffee, for example, is the most popular (70%) drink bought by consumers from a vending machine; with white coffee (37%), cappuccino (27%) and latte (15%) preferred. These choices show how vending can now compete with the types of products offered by the coffee chains – in fact, 60% of consumers who buy drinks vended in a paper cup would ‘up-size’ to a larger, high street-style 12oz or 16oz size if it were available; and nearly half of consumers (45%) would happily pay more for their vended hot drink if it were sold in a premium quality double wall cup. These aspects are extremely valuable considerations to facilities managers, and can certainly help make a difference to the bottom line!


With environmental awareness amongst consumers at a high, it comes as no surprise that customers not only want to know more about the environmental credentials of the vending cups dispensing their drinks, but are willing to pay more for them to be compostable. Over three quarters of consumers (76%) want to know about the ‘green’ credentials of the paper vending cup being dispensed – like whether it’s recyclable or compostable; made in the UK; or made from paperboard sourced from responsibly managed forests.


Facilities managers should therefore consider the ethical credentials of their vending service, from the provision of ethically sourced beverages – just over half of consumers (51%) know whether


www.tomorrowsfm.com


including healthy choices, hot foods and cold snacks – accommodates the round-the-clock nature of vending services, and ensures choice. Consumers can then choose what they want to eat, at whatever time of day; which makes vending a particularly attractive option when canteens are closed and catering staff are no longer on-site.


“COFFEE IS THE MOST POPULAR


DRINK BOUGHT BY


CONSUMERS FROM A VENDING MACHINE.”


the hot drinks sold in the vending machine they use are Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance (or neither); and of those who knew, almost a quarter (24%) said that drinks were Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance – to the use of compostable cups. Our research shows that of the consumers who pay for their vended drinks, 76% would pay 1p more for their drinks to be served in compostable vending cups.


Of course when it comes to refreshment vending, beverages are not the only choice. The appeal vending has when it comes to convenience and availability makes it a service from which consumers also buy food – be it hot or cold choices, or snacks (sweet or savoury). Our research shows that 74% of consumers who had bought a drink from a vending machine also bought food and/or a canned/bottled drink. Stocking food choices, therefore –


Whether it is food or drink being bought from a vending machine, consideration of course needs to be given to payment! Advancements in technology have led to the introduction of non-traditional methods of payment, but what’s most popular? Well, when it comes to paying for vended hot drinks, our research shows that cash is still very much king – it is the most popular method of payment amongst consumers, in fact, 94% of consumers pay by cash (coin or notes). This said, there are certain sectors in which consumers opt to pay by a different method. Those consumers who buy vended drinks within an educational establishment, for example, are most likely to pay via a non-cash method – such as by using a pre-paid card, token or Smartphone.


The research shows that consumers nowadays want hot beverage vending to emulate that of the high street coffee shops which we have all come to know and love; and so in order to be able to give the ultimate gourmet coffee vending experience, it isn’t just the type of machine and the choices which it makes available that have evolved – so too has the vending cup, which has become integral and by far more than just a means of dispensing vended drinks. The overall presentation of vending is therefore of upmost importance to facilities managers looking to offer a service which meets the expectations of the consumers who use it – from the coffee, to the cup!


The vending research commissioned by Huhtamaki follows previous independent research commissioned by Huhtamaki into consumer attitudes towards takeaway hot drinks in the UK.


www.foodservice.huhtamaki.co.uk TOMORROW’S FM | 53


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