The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) held its Coffee, Tea, and Water conference in Nashville, TN on November 12-14. The annual conference includes educational sessions and new product showcasing, and typically gives attendees a peek at what the industry can expect to see in the coming year. This year’s conference touched on topics such as the future of coffee, the growing tea market, and customer expectations in 2014.
One of the biggest wave-makers at this year’s conference was the micro-market educational panel session, a subject matter which had never before been included in the Coffee, Tea, and Water show. From 2011 to 2012, micro-market installations increased by 170% in the U.S. From the same study came the prediction that within the next decade, there will be over 35,000 micro-markets in the U.S.
Micro-markets have been growing in popularity within the vending industry for a few years, due in part to their broad product variety, which often includes fresh, healthful, and locally sourced items. The inclusion of the micro-market panel in this conference, however, makes it clear that micro-markets present an opportunity for everyone in the automatic merchandising industry, even if a company’s focus is on coffee, tea, or other beverages, rather than food vending.
The micro-market panel was beneficial to operators who already work with micro-markets, as well as companies who are less familiar with them. The panel shared ways to take advantage of the revenue opportunity presented by the growing popularity of micro-markets, even for providers whose focus is on office coffee services. In addition, micro-market representatives in the panel, who reported that managing the hot beverage program can be a challenge, shared and discussed challenges and tips.
For more information on the conference, copies of the education session presentations may be available from NAMA in the future.
With micro-markets sweeping into all corners of the automatic merchandising industry, don’t miss your chance to share a piece of the success. Visit Canteen to learn more about either an office coffee service program or a micro-market setup, or both, for your business.