NAMA OneShow 2015 Showcases Vending's Trends

April 24, 2015

The 2015 NAMA OneShow in Las Vegas, NV, has been record breaking, according to Chairman Pete Tullio. With 263 exhibitors, 75 of those attending for the first time, this year's expo for vending, micro markets and office coffee service (OCS) offered a tremendous array of solutions centered on the core business aspects of the future. 

Due to the increasing need for products that meet nutritional standards, an abundance of better-for-you products hit the show floor. There were protein-rich foods such as chips made of beans, vendible hummus and pretzel packs, tuna, new flavored nuts and jerky. Low calorie snacks were also making a splash. Popped chips came in salted, spicy, sweet or savory. Popcorn was light, fit and smart. There were quinoa puffs and bean puffs. All these healthier items meshed nicely with the traditional and indulgent options giving operators plenty to choose from. 

Technology is driving growth

The growth of the micro markets as a successful segment in the industry was another trend reflected at the OneShow. More micro market suppliers entered the space in 2015, many focusing on the healthy selection side of the micro market business. Technology innovation in the form of mobile payments and promotional offers within vending apps was another area that increased. Suppliers are pushing the boundaries of the traditional vending offers and payment model, making it more similar to retail with the same digital advertising and consumer packaged goods rebates as other segments enjoy.

Operators talked candidly about the necessity of adding technology not only to accept whatever payment the consumer had, but also to manage the operation. Vending management systems (VMS) are no longer 'nice-to-haves', but instead have become 'need-to-haves.' The ability to both visit a machine only when necessary and prekit products for the route driver, are allowing tremendous growth and unparalleled control over the business by the operator. Suppliers presented systems to meet this opportunity with more sophisticated and robust features. 

Coffee growth continues

The busy OCS area of the tradeshow floor illustrates the outstanding increases in the coffee segment. There were many equipment suppliers who were first time NAMA exhibitors, especially with bean-to-cup and automatic espresso brewers. This is a trend that is evolving and in great demand by locations and consumers.

Single-cup options launched by smaller roasters was at an all time high. Operators were overwhelmed by the number of choices, but glad to try the new cartridge style coffee along with their national brand favorites. Equipment used to dispense cartridge-style units enjoyed a resurgence at the show.

The 2015 NAMA OneShow brought together the latest trends in the vending industry, including thought leaders. Their message was to embrace change and use technology to thrive. Operators were shown evolving workplaces, ways to boost sales with specialty drinks, how to combo items to increase same-store revenues and so much more. Based on the buzz as the expo came to a close, new talent, new ideas and new innovation have energized the industry -- giving it a bright future. 

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