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Vend of the day

Vending machines have become ubiquitous with workplaces, universities, hospitals, just about
anywhere groups of people get together. But with the modern obsession with the green agenda,healthy eating and wellbeing FMJ looks to find out how Vending machines are changing to meet the latest demands from customers

Facilities managers might complain that theirs’ is an underappreciated profession, with the other occupants of a building just expecting their cleaning, security, catering et al to be taken care of by the magic fairies responsible for such things. Do people in FM think the same of vending?

These days there seems to be a vending machine around every corner, a coffee machine on every counter. But though everyone is rushing to keep up with the latest CAFM trends, who is keeping an eye on the progress in the vending industry? FMJ asks some key figures in the industry to update us.

Unknown“Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of blaming the vending machine if you don’t like the food and drink choices it offers…” Ian Reynolds-Young, editor of Planet-Vending.com insists. “You can’t possibly have missed the furore surrounding vending machines. We’ve got a growing obesity problem in the UK – pun intended – and what easier target could you imagine than a vending machine? There have actually been calls to ban vending machines in hospitals and schools, apparently because of their invidious influence and their shocking culpability in a nation’s demise. Talk about demonisation!

“It’s a load of old tosh. Don’t politicians and interest groups realise that a vending machine is just a shop in which you can offer for sale pretty much anything you like? Vending machines are just as good at selling products that are gluten-free, hypo allergenic, low-fat and what-have-you as they are at selling chocolate bars and fizzy pop.”

A vending machine these days is fully in-line with society’s health and environmental aspirations, as Dave Ward, MD of machine manufacturer N&W and chair of vending’s national body, the AVA, explains: “We continued to invest in R&D even in the midst of the recession we left no stone unturned in our mission
to create the most energy efficient machines possible.

“For instance, we are using high efficiency chillers and LED lighting to reduce energy consumption and we’re building features into our machines designed to conserve resources. You can turn features off when they’re not needed, for instance overnight, and a machine will go into energy-saving ‘sleep’ mode during quiet periods.

“The extreme flexibility of configuration allows the consumer to choose between snacks, drinks in tetra pack, fresh dishes, fruit and yoghurt. So, if you have people on your site demanding a greater selection of fresh, healthy food and drink, a modern vending machine can easily do the job. It’s not just a simple vending machine, it’s a true automatic canteen.

“These days, of course, retailers are responsible for making purchasers aware of a product’s ingredients and their allergens. Modern vending machines carry this information on screen, so you’ll remain compliant.

“There is an upsurge in demand for healthier food and that means there’s an upsurge in demand for healthier food ‘out of home’. Keep your customers onside by responding to this trend and offering them the food and snacks they crave and take another look at vending – all the tools you need for the job are available.”

About Sarah OBeirne

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