In recent years, the growing trend toward automation (of nearly everything: communication, finances, retail, and even grocery shopping) is undeniable. This means 2014 is bound to be a big year for the vending and office coffee services industry. There are a number of growing trends within the industry that we predict will be especially important to embrace throughout the coming year. These include: a greater attention to wellness in vending, an ever-growing micro-market sub-industry, and an increased demand for upscale and specialized refreshment services programs.
There has been a growing attention to wellness in the United States in recent years, which we expect will continue and even increase in the new year. We predict that in 2014 consumers will desire (and require) a greater variety and availability of healthful products. This means more whole grain and vegetable-based snacks, less preservatives and refined sugars in foods and beverages, and more fresh and locally-sourced ingredients, all desired with the level of convenience offered by vending machines and micro-markets.
Canteen’s Choice Plus program incorporates better-for-you products, which meet nutritional standards designed by our team of nutritionists and registered dietitians, into any vending or refreshment services program. Our various vending, micro-market, and refreshment services can improve customer access to healthier snacks and beverages, with products that meet the nutritional standards for vending in schools, hospitals, and public spaces that will go into effect in 2014.
One main impact of the trend toward automation is an evolving meal and grocery shopping experience. Micro-markets are the fastest-growing segment of the vending industry, and we have no doubt this will continue to be the case in 2014. Convenience remains a priority for customers and patrons, but modern-day consumers don’t want to sacrifice quality and variety for that convenience, and micro-markets offer a place where they can get it all. An average vending machine offers 20-30 different products, whereas a micro-market offers between 100 and 200.
Industry experts predict that there will be over 35,000 micro-markets in the United States within the next decade, with some estimates predicting as many machines in just 3-5 years.
Canteen’s Avenue C micro-markets offer a wide variety of products, including fresh, organic, and locally-sourced ingredients when possible. Additionally, our micro-markets and vending machines can be equipped with Canteen’s Digital Merchandising tool, which tracks sales and helps providers cater the product selection to customer preferences and take the growing trend of micro-markets one step farther.
3. Specialized Refreshment and Pantry Services
In mid-2013, we shared a report showing that 83% of adults in the U.S. had consumed coffee in the past day, with average daily consumption at 63%. The referenced study also noted the increasing consumer preference toward specialized, single-cup brewers. Toward the end of 2013, coffee production surged, and as a result, worldwide coffee prices have fallen. This means that for 2014, we predict an even greater rise in both of these trends.
In 2013, only 41% of consumers had access to coffee at work, and of those, only 22% had access to gourmet or specialty coffee drinks. In 2014, with coffee prices down, we expect to see many more workplaces providing bolstered refreshment services to their employees. And beyond refreshment services, we’re seeing a growing trend toward full-service pantries and kitchens, which may come to replace corporate cafes. Many employers are expanding their pantries or kitchens to include refrigerated coolers for soda, juice, milk and other beverages and merchandising racks filled with fresh fruit, bread, bulk cereal and granola, microwavable meals, and additional snack and meal options.
Canteen Refreshment Services has all of the top-quality gourmet and single-cup coffee products and equipment, as well as an extensive offering of beverages, snacks, and additional pantry supplies that employers and consumers will be looking for in 2014.
With many other forms of food and beverage retail moving the way of the vending and refreshment services industries, 2014 is bound to be a great year for automatic merchandising providers, especially if they’re prepared to embrace the growing trends within the industry. As a leading provider of office coffee services and vending services, you can expect Canteen to be at the forefront of these industry trends for years to come.
Continue to check the Leading the Way section of our blog for industry news and developing trends throughout the year.