In a new report released this month, the market research firm Packaged Facts forecasts 1.5% market growth for food and beverage vending in 2015. The report, “Food and Beverage Vending Trends in the U.S.,” says that the sector’s bounce back from years of declining sales will be primarily attributed to technological innovations like social and interactive vending, touchscreens and an increase in cashless payment acceptance.
With that in mind, it may be best to prepare for the future by considering five key takeaways from Packaged Facts’ February 2012 survey on motivations for vending machine usage.
1. Healthier food options are well received across the board
Reflecting current health trends, 49% of vending machine users and non-users alike said they would be more likely to make a purchase if the machine offered more healthy food options. Part of Packaged Facts’ projection involves an increase in the availability of higher-status, higher-quality foods via natural vending solutions, and companies such as Canteen already have healthier options available.
2. Location is key
Convenience is key when it comes to making a vending purchase. According to an article in the University of Rochester’s Campus Times, students were much more likely to use vending machines located on parts of campus where campus dining options were inconveniently far away. Additionally, machines lacking student ID purchase options located in residence halls were less likely to receive purchases. Packaged Facts’ research shows that 44% of users and 36% of non-users were more likely to make a purchase based on the convenience of a machine’s location.
3. Cashless payment options matter
It’s no secret that more people are carrying less cash (or no cash at all) these days. According to a June 2012 Huffington Post article, the percentage of point-of-sale purchases made with cash is expected to drop four points to 23% by 2017. According to the survey, 37% of users and 27% of non-users said they would use vending machines more often if they allowed card payment, so why are so many vending machines still missing credit/debit options?
4. High-quality coffee and coffee drinks have marginal influence
Though people love their coffee, the quality of coffee and coffee drinks available in vending machines have less of an impact on consumers. Just under a quarter of vending machine users reported that a higher quality of available coffee and coffee drinks would increase their machine usage. Among non-users, only 17% and 13% would purchase from vending machines more often because of higher quality coffee and coffee drinks.
5. Tea drink variety and quality has even less impact
Despite the “green tea craze” of recent years, higher variety and quality of the tea drinks available in vending machines have the least effect on a consumer’s decision to use a vending machine—especially among non-users. Only 9% of non-users reported that a wider variety of tea drinks would influence them to make a vending purchase, and 7% said higher-quality tea drinks would sway them.