The European Vending Association recently held its annual general assembly at Thon Hotel Bristol Stephanie in Brussels, Belgium.
Michael Maurer, treasurer of the EVA, presented an overall positive, financial picture of the association for 2011.
Catherine Piana, EVA director general, presented the results of the bi-annual satisfaction survey. Amongst the highlights for 2011 were: a noticeable increase in membership (10 new members in 2011, that is, more than a 10 percent increase), the hard work of the committees, the increase and improved use of the EVA’s communication tools, including social media – the EVA LinkedIn activity reached almost 1,000 direct contacts in 2011. She introduced some of the hot topics for 2012, in terms of regulation and lobby, which would be: environment, final steps of the food information proposal, presentation of the new coin design handbook at the mint directors conference, and the obesity debate.
The following day, the session was opened by Arnaud van Amerongen, who presented the state of the industry over the past year. It was announced that the EVA is working with an external consultant, David Hoskin, an expert who will be gathering market figures for 2010 and 2011. The results of the study will be available as of spring 2012, and will be free of charge for members of the EVA.
After the lunch break, Ger O’Keeffe, retail/digital signage segment manager from Intel, presented his view on the range of possibilities for the industry when applying his concept of “intelligent vending.”
At the end of the day, the chairpersons of the seven roundtables presented the conclusions of the three sessions that took place throughout the day.
Jan Marck Vrijlandt, group sales and marketing director from Selecta, named the opportunities that the sector may encounter in the near future: changes in consumer lifestyle such as meals on-the-go and “premiumization” of the hot drinks. Thanks to technology moving forward, new communication tools, such as social media networks, should facilitate capitalizing on these opportunities.
Brian Tustain, chief executive of Associated Vending Services, concluded that despite today’s struggling economy, consumers are ready to pay more for their coffee when quality is met.
Michal Piotrowiak, managing director of Mastercup, noted the fact that a vending operator should resemble a retail operator, which would greatly help to improve our image and visibility.
Paul Theobald, managing director, EMEA Vending from MEI, mentioned the numerous tools that can be used as means of payment and concluded that machines would not be able to accept all of those.
Arnaud van Amerongen, managing director from Aequator noted trends related to the coffee offer were mentioned: cup size (especially in Northern countries), the use of water filters, the shift from plastic cup to paper cup, branding in the coffee experience, increased interest from the consumer on coffee origins and all kinds of coffee specialties.
Lucio Pinetti, public relations and communication manager, and shareholder from Liomatic explained the main tips on “capsule technology moves into vending.” He gave a brief background of capsule technology and its origins dating back from 1981, and its evolution into vending when the solution was sold to Lavazza.