European Vending & Coffee Service Association introduced its manifesto to the industry during a virtual membership meeting on Mar. 15. The EVA manifesto outlines the industry’s challenges and “calls for action” for the current parliamentary term.
The webcast heard from a diverse group of high-level stakeholders, including MEPs Brando Benifei and Stefan Berger, as well as Emmanuelle Maire, head of unit in DG ENV.
The webcast addressed important topics for vending such as the circular economy, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, payment innovations and support for the recovery of SMEs following the COVID-19 pandemic, EVA said.
EVA president Paolo Ghidotti kicked off the discussion and outlined the association’s plan to build a strong, sustainable and innovative vending and coffee service industry.
With 80% of vending machines located in factories and offices, it was no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the industry - with fewer people commuting to and working at the office, food and beverage consumption dropped dramatically.
Nevertheless, Ghidotti believes the pandemic has also presented opportunities and room for innovation whether it be vending machines selling personal protective equipment, or as eventual replacements for larger cafeterias.
The EVA president called on the EU to recognize the big steps the industry is making with regard to energy efficiency and highlighted the need for the EU institutions to be conscious of the practical constraints which affect the vending industry.
He also asked for the vending sector to be adequately factored into any revision of the European electronic payment rules.
Ghidotti called on the EU to collaborate with the vending sector to promote better health and nutrition.
“We hope for greater collaboration between EU decision-makers and our industry to promote better health and nutrition capitalizing on the potential for vending machines to offer healthier products in a convenient manner” Ghidotti said.
When asked whether EVA would sign the upcoming EU Code of Conduct for responsible businesses, Ghidotti confirmed that EVA would play its part to ensure a wider range of products are available in its machines, is participating in the stakeholder meetings on the code and hopes to be in a position to sign it later this year.
Through an EU lens, Emmanuelle Maire provided an overview of the commission’s actions when it comes to the circular economy.
With grants and loans available under the Next Generation EU programme and the multiannual financial framework, Maire highlighted that there are multiple grants available to industries pioneering a circular economy agenda.
Maire also highlighted the importance to further work on the sustainable design of products. “We are looking at revising and widening the ecodesign directive beyond energy-related products and beyond the energy efficiency” Maire told EVA.
Taking us to another policy area, MEP Stefan Berger touched on digital payments and ways in which the vending industry can make them easy and seamless.
“Non-cash payments have dramatically increased with the pandemic ... this is a trend we cannot stop, and we should not stop” Berger said.
With Berger confidently asserting that cryptocurrency and tokens will dominate future payments, EVA observed, he encouraged the sector to invest in these forms of payments.
“The real revolution in payment is yet to come,” added Berger, who acknowledged that the European Parliament is currently reviewing how to establish a digital Europe with a digital euro.
The EVA webinar was concluded by MEP Brando Benifei. Aware that the vending industry is comprised of 99% of SME’s, Benifei recognized that the pandemic has disrupted supply chains across the sector and assured those present that these disruptions were taken into account when debating and deciding the new SME strategy.
Benifei gave an overview of EU support to SME’s and commended EVA for their willingness to embrace the green transition despite being hard hit by the crisis.
The webinar touched on some crucial topics crucial for growth of the vending sector. EVA is ready and willing to invest and adapt to a green and digital future, but expects and needs the EU to take into consideration the views, expertise as well as current challenges faced by the industry.
Founded in 1994 and based in Brussels, the European Vending & Coffee Service Association is a not-for-profit organization representing the interests of Europe’s coffee service and vending industry. Its membership is composed of 13 national associations and some 100 individual companies across Europe.