Despite years of declining prominence, the food and beverage vending industry may be on its way to a revival. With the aid of new vending machine technology that promises fresher, higher-quality food and beverages, increased consumer interaction, and greater convenience, Packaged Facts predicts a 1.5% market increase by the year 2015 in a just-released report on Food and Beverage Vending Trends in the U.S.
When it comes to the vending industry, the snack is king. By product segment, the $11.7 billion food and beverage vending market in the U.S. draws 83% of sales from the cold beverages and candy/snacks/confections segments alone. According to Packaged Facts survey data, a majority of consumers consider vending machine purchases as snacks, which accounts for about 57% of consumer vending machine and mobile vending purchases.
Packaged Facts reported the fast-growing Hispanic population, which makes up 12% of U.S. households, ranking among the top consumers for food and beverage vending. While Hispanics make up 10% of U.S. household income, they are responsible for 20% of consumer vending machines/mobile vending revenue.
David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, forecasted that technological innovation holds the key to future growth in the vending market. Social and interactive vending, touchscreens and wireless supply-side networking can help make vending purchases more attractive to consumers, while technological advancement may enable vendors to provide fresher, higher-quality products. Sales of fresh food are growing, and natural vending solutions could bring the promise of higher-status food and drinks to the market.