There is another screen with interactive graphics where you follow the decision path to make your choices.
We've watched the hot and cold beverage categories for many years. Beverage consumption has been fragmented in recent years. It has been interesting to see younger people switching morning and afternoon beverage breaks away from soft drinks to upscale coffee -- lattes, cappuccinos, and various teas.
Branded Vending Concepts Rise
At the Sweet & Snacks Expo, which caters to retailers, Branded Vending Concepts offered a bulk vending machine where the shopper can select from five columns featuring candy, nuts, trail mix, cereal and small-piece snacks. The machine can also be set to dispense breakfast cereals. With the cereal offering, the machine can be set to slave to a milk vending machine.
This machine combines easy-to-use graphical customer interface a with smooth robotic arm to collect and deliver the product. Shoppers can take up to three selections from five bins of product, giving the shopper countless combinations to choose from.
According to Kevin Zimmerman, president of Branded Vending Concepts, they will be announcing new brand partnerships across several product categories. At NAMA we saw their Discovery line of machines including the bulk candy, soups, and soft serve yogurt with toppings.
Branded Vending Concepts is at work on a branded dry cereal machine dispensing from bulk columns. This vending machine is connected to a refrigerated machine which will dispense single serve milk. Juices, packaged fresh fruit and cereal bars will also be available. There will be a single menu board and one payment system to permit menu pricing. Products will be delivered simultaneously from both machines.
Reverse Vending Machines Evolve
Next at the National Restaurant Show was the PepsiCo Foodservice booth where they were showing the Dream Machine. This new unit does not dispense cold beverages. Its purpose is just the opposite -- to accept and recycle empty cold drink containers, either plastic bottles or aluminum cans. Using the Dream Machine is simple. Simply scan the UPC bar code and you'll be directed to drop the aluminum can in the slot on the one side or plastic bottles on the other side. You can register with the Dream Machine and earn points that can be collected and redeemed for rewards.
My view of the future is that the ability to customize what we order will be very important for the future of vending, OCS and onsite foodservice. These new machines being developed match up well with what shoppers, especially younger shoppers, want in customizing food purchases.