Healthy vending is not a crave that is going away. Society today is striving to make healthier eating habits and that includes what they buy from vending machines. People want to know what they are eating, and laws are being enacted requiring companies to display nutritional facts on all food being sold. The vending industry is no exception. We have been the poster child for unhealthy food and drinks, but we can change this stereotype. I have blogged about Fit Pick in past blogs, and this is still an excellent program for promoting healthy snacks in vending machines. In fact, it offers over 500 products which can be labeled as “healthy” and over 175 government agencies and 100 schools have adopted it to help promote healthy vending. (http://www.vendingtimes.com)
I’d like to show you one more tool that will be very helpful in promoting healthy vending. Last month I attended the NAMA One Show in Las Vegas where all the major vending manufacturers showcased their latest products and technologies. I was amazed by the products on the market today- especially the many products that enabled additional nutritional value information to be displayed on the vending machine. There are a number of companies that are offering this technology including VendScreen, AirVend, Vendors Exchange, and others.
Some of these devices are a small 6” screen that can be added to a vending machine to display ads, promotions, and display the nutritional information. Some products are even combined with the credit card reader and can be used to track real time product data, and provide pre-kitting information back to the office. The companies that sell the touch screens have also provided a database of the most popular foods and beverages which can be uploaded with the nutritional value information already built in. If your product isn’t in their inventory, then you can upload your own nutritional values into the system.
At Piranha Vending, we pride ourselves in keeping our prices low and that means finding products that are affordable. We won’t be discussing a topic here unless it can be sold affordably in our on-line store. We are now offering the Air Vend on our vending machines which will provide the nutritional value information and also process credit cards.
Some folks say that this is a waste of time and money and that their customers don’t care about nutritional information on their candy bars and sodas. Although most of their customers don’t care about the nutritional values, there is a growing percentage of customers who do care and they are not buying from our vending machines because they have the perception that it is all “junk food”. By providing nutritional facts on all the products sold in the vending machine, you are proving to that potential customer that the snack is indeed healthy and hopefully you will convert them as a customer. The demand is here, the technology is here, and it’s actually quite affordable too.