It’s no surprise that modern vending customers are demanding different choices in their snacks than previous years or decades; every industry goes through peaks and valleys of interests. However, where vending machines had been historically seen as a source of less nutritionally or gastronomically fulfilling options, current vending machine distributors are seeing a dramatic shift towards fresh, healthy, and nourishing treats. But what are the specifics of these new, more beneficial, offerings and what does that mean in regards to vending machine distributors?
- Focus on Freshness. Consumers are actively seeking items that have shorter shelf lives, in an attempt to choose foods that are seen as more healthful. Examples include juices, fresh baked goods, or fruit.
- Balanced Snacks. There is an ideal balance of fats, proteins, and carbs that health oriented snackers are looking for. Foods offering this golden ratio include granola bars, sunflower seeds, and various nut options. Often these include a small amount of a sweet ingredient, such as a few chocolate chips, to increase palatability.
- Emphasis on Protein. Despite the Atkins diet’s disappearance, the cultural focus on eating more protein more often has remained, particularly for individuals involved in weightlifting or other high-energy exercises. Some foods in this category are protein bars, unsalted nuts, and popcorn.
- Healthy Fats. “Fat-Free” used to be the healthy rallying cry, but it has been replaced by snacks that include healthy fats, such as omega 3’s and 6’s. These snacks range from seeds to nut butters and even dark chocolate.
- “Exotic” Foods. Foods perceived by consumers as exotic, such as plantains or kale chips, have seen a huge boom via vending machine sales. Whether the appeal will last is still in question, but the health benefits of these fresh choices are clear.
For a vending machine distributor, it is important to understand that, while mints and gums–and even a few sweet snacks–should always be offered, more and more buyers are looking for foods that at the very least purport to be healthy. At the same time, the definition of healthful continues to broaden based on each consumer’s individual needs and concerns, allowing for vending machine distributors to carry a wide array of beneficial and attractive offerings.
U-Select-It has been involved in the manufacturing and distribution of vending machine products for over 85 years. Our website and our blog offer more helpful information for current or potential vending machine distributors looking to increase or improve their sales.