Healthy vending is here. Turnkey healthy vending companies like HUMAN, Fresh Healthy and Vend Natural are gaining momentum (and locations) because of their ability to offer items that consumers are demanding. Last month, Fresh Healthy Vending International made the announcement that it was entering into a non-binding Letter of Intent with a proposed master franchisee partner to sell and develop at least 150 sub-franchises across Australia over the next 10 years. The company also reported gaining six new franchises in May and adding 101 machines in April. And all of this is in addition to its entry into the micro market segment last month as well.
Some vending operators see turnkey healthy vending franchises like circuses: here one day, gone the next. However, these same franchises are also meeting a need that is evolving—the desire by locations to be offered better-for-you items. It’s a trend that isn’t going away and is, in fact, gaining traction.
Just last week, VendingMarketWatch reported on an Illinois operator who won a hospital contract because he could offer healthy vending options. Having the option of “healthier” items can be the difference between scoring a location and losing one; operators need to be aware of healthy trends and begin to take seriously the offering of healthier items.
Where “healthy” comes from
In 2005 NAMA created its signature nutrition outreach initiative called FitPick designed to provide consumers with nutrition information. This year, it released its new FitPick healthy vending program at the OneShow. And equipment manufacturers at the OneShow exhibited machines specifically for healthy vending items while food manufacturers are developing and marketing products that meet specific “healthy” guidelines.
All of these actions are stemming from changing consumer preferences and evolving government nutrition standards.
Why it matters: healthy vending isn’t going away
Already within 2014, AM/VMW has reported on the partnership of HUMAN and Sodexo, Sprout Healthy Vending’s merger, Vend Natural’s Minneapolis public school healthy vending contract win and Fresh Healthy’s March sale of 96 healthy vending machines. Just to name a few.
Fresh Healthy Vending International’s announcement of potentially entering into Australia is just one example of how healthy vending companies are expanding, and they wouldn’t be expanding if there wasn’t a demand.
Traditional vending operators shouldn’t ignore healthy vending as just a trend. Understandably, one common echo from U.S. operators is that the sale of healthy items solely depends upon location and region. While this may be the case, it’s important that operators look at each location individually and assess whether or not additional “healthier” items might bring more profit.
For now, healthy vending isn’t subsiding, so traditional operators, think about ways in which you could offer healthy options in order to stay relevant with location demands.