There are very few industries in the world today that don’t have to worry about things like government regulations and the dramatic shift caused by disruptive technology. If you ask any vending machine manufacturer, they would tell you that they’re dealing with both of these issues on a daily basis and with increasing frequency as time goes on. New government mandates, coupled with shifting consumer expectations and incredible leaps forward in technology, are poised to change the work of vending machine distribution and similar organizations all around the world.
Foods Sold on School Campuses
In recent years, government regulations have dramatically changed what vending machines are allowed to stock and where they’re allowed to stock it in certain circumstances. The United States Department of Agriculture, for example, recently put forward a list of requirements for vending machines on school campuses.
Any vending machine in this environment needs to have plain water, unflavored low-fat milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted by water and carbonated beverages that can have no more than 40 calories per eight ounces or 60 calories per 12 ounces. This was done in an attempt to help the younger generation not only eat healthier, but to educate them about the dangers of obesity moving forward.
The Smart Generation
At the same time, vending machine technology has also taken a bold leap forward over the last several years thanks to the “smart” movement. Vending machines are more than just drink dispensers – they’re actually data mining operations that can shed valuable insight into consumer buying habits in nearly any context. With the right software inside a vending machine, companies can determine a host of new things: like how likely a person is to buy product B if they’ve already purchased product A. Companies can also see what is selling and where, allowing both providers and distributors themselves to make more informed decisions regarding what they stock and where they choose to stock it, thus increasing revenues at the same time.
Studies have also shown that the younger generation prefers cashless options when it comes to vending machines, which is something that technology has also paved the way for by way of solutions like mobile payment systems and digital wallets; which is why U-Select-It developed the Greenlite Cashless Payment solution.
Make no mistake: the vending machine industry is in the throes of transformation, thanks in large part to new government regulations and technological advancements that appear to be happening at roughly the same time. This isn’t a bad thing at all, however – not only has it led to healthier products getting into the hands of consumers with greater ease, but it’s also empowered distributors, manufacturers and consumers with the actionable information that they need to help the industry itself spring back from the decline it has been experiencing over the last few years.