The vending and refreshment service industry has been progressing by leaps and bounds this year, with technological advancements and shifting customer preferences driving many changes within the industry. Having crossed the halfway point of 2013, we thought it’d be a good time to take a look at the trends we’ve seen so far this year, as well as what you can expect to see in the remainder of 2013.
1. Technological Leaps and Bounds
Worldwide, we’re seeing a huge shift toward LCD touchscreen and cashless vending technologies. Automatic merchandising equipment manufacturers are teaming up with major IT developers like Intel to create vending machines as intuitive as modern-day computers. These advanced machines provide increased product information through interactive touchscreen technologies, as well as reduce billing time, streamline the purchasing process, and offer cashless payment options, by credit card or even mobile phone.
2. Targeted Product Selection
Along with the increased convenience presented by emergent LCD screen and cashless vending systems, new technologies present the opportunity for an ever-changing product selection, as well as customer tracking and loyalty programs. Emerging technologies track customer preferences and demographics, and go so far as to use cameras and eye sensors to monitor where a person’s eye moves as he or she browses products. Canteen’s Dynamic Merchandising tool is one example of taking advantage of this trend, by helping you cater your product selection to your customers’ preferences.
3. Evolving Shopping Experience
With convenience a priority for both customers and patrons, 2012 saw the growth of the mobile grocery shopping experience, commuter grocery shopping, and pop-up grocery stores. A company even launched the placement of small vending machines inside NYC taxicabs. As more customers become comfortable utilizing shopping formats outside of traditional grocery stores, there is an opportunity for vending providers to expand their own product offerings, locations, and shopping experience. Canteen’s Avenue C micro-markets are a great way to offer an experience at the meeting point between vending machines and a traditional grocery market.
4. Coffee Consumption, Single Cup Growth on the Rise
A recently published study by the National Coffee Association revealed that 83% of adults polled in the United States had consumed coffee in the past day, with average daily consumption at 63%. The study also suggests that use of single-cup brewers is on the rise, with a rise from last year in the percentage of those polled opting for gourmet or espresso-based beverages. The NCA predicts, as supported by the most recent study, that coffee consumption will continue to trend upward as convenience and variety remain a priority for coffee providers. CanteenRefreshment Services has all of the convenient single cup, top-quality, and sustainable coffee options that offices are looking for.
5. Health First, Across the Board
The trends toward wellness from recent years show no signs of slowing down. With new legislation affecting food and beverage options in schools, hospitals, and various work environments and public places, we’re seeing more whole grains and vegetable-based snacks, less preservatives and refined sugars, and more fresh ingredients. Bottled water, natural juice, and sugar-free beverage sales are expected to overtake soda sales.
6. Snack Time
According to a study done in early 2012, 48% of consumers snacked at least twice a day (compared to 25% in 2010), which is great news for the vending industry. From the same study, 33% of consumers expect to eat more healthful snacks in the coming year, reiterating the importance of offering healthful snack options.
7. Fresh is Best
Nestle predicts that companies will invest more money in regional production of foods and beverages, to ensure freshness when delivered to their customers. Canteen has one leg up on this trend, with our existing priority on sourcing food locally and sustainably whenever possible.
With many other forms of food and beverage retail moving the way of the vending and refreshment services industries, players within the industry have the opportunity to adapt and stay one step ahead of their new competitors. The best way to compete with the changing vending and refreshment services market is to do what automatic merchandising does best: offer your customers what they want, exactly when and where they want it. As a leading provider of office coffee services and vending services, you can expect Canteen to be at the forefront of industry advancements. Continue to check our blog for industry news and developing trends throughout the remainder of the year, and to be prepared for the even greater changes we see coming in 2014.