The healthy snack vending industry is the fastest-growing sector of the vending industry. With the rise in awareness of the need for healthy food and snacks, healthy food vending is rising faster than ever.
Smart Snacks in Schools
Opportunities for vending locations in schools are especially hot in today’s market. The USDA recently published a science-based set of nutrition standards for snack foods and drinks sold to children at school during the day. Under the USDA All Foods Sold in Schools standard, which creates an opportunity for businesses offering healthy vending options? Naturals2Go is uniquely positioned to offer new operators an edge in today’s convenience snack market.
A Nationwide Trend
Outside of schools, the demand for vending machines that offer healthy snacks and beverages continues to grow. More and more people are looking out for their health and are becoming more aware of the foods they consume. In a 2014 Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking, more than 30,000 consumers in 60 different countries were polled, and the results were conclusive.
Most people today are actively looking for ways to improve their health. Inclusion of healthy drinks and snacks in the vending machines is a result of the trend towards awareness of the unhealthy ingredients in the snacks people consume.
Recently my wife was visiting our local community center noticed that they did not have a snack vending machine. So she seized the opportunity and asked the director if it would be ok to install a snack or snack/soda combo machine near the restrooms of the center. She was told that if we could provide healthy vending options, they would consider it, but that they did not want to promote junk food.
Just last week I was feeling philanthropic & I called the Director of the County Parks Department to see if they would allow me to place a small bulk candy machine in the nature center, and I would donate all of the proceeds to help fund the new nature center expansion, for which they are still soliciting funds. The definite answer has not come back yet but it appears that they too do not want to promote candy, even if it generates $200 per year in revenue for them without any work on their part.
Stories like these are nothing new and they are only going to increase as society is placing a higher value on health, which is a good thing, right? So does that means that Vendors across the nation are going to suffer as schools & other organizations are demanding healthier products? If we do not offer healthy vending choices in our machines, then yes, & we will not weather this new health craze storm. I hear some vendors say that they would stock the healthy stuff if the people would purchase it. And then we hear the people say that they would buy the healthy stuff if the vendors would stock it. So how do we break this stale mate?
I have found that it does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You do not have to go out & buy a new vending machine that has photos of strawberries, and fruit juices plastered all over the machine. You do not have to stock the machine entirely with nutritious foods & give up all the chocolate. What you can do, if your clients are asking for it, is to dedicate 30% of the selections to healthy options. This will be enough so that those individuals who still want their traditional snacks and carbonated soda drinks can have them, but those people who want healthier choices may also have them. You don’t need to go out and buy a new vending machine- in the majority cases your existing machine will work fine.
In 2007 the National Automated Merchandising Association (NAMA) launched FitPick, which is a system that utilizes stickers for vending machines that make out nutritious products. What they recommend is placing a large healthy vending sticker on the vending machine which shows their customers how to pick more nutritious products. Then the vendor should also place little FitPick stickers next to the selections which are healthy as defined by the FitPick rules where the product must have no more than:
35% of total calories from fat
10% from saturated fat
35% from sugar by weight
Healthy vending business
A study by Vendingtimes.com shows that when you switch 30% of your vending products to healthy products & you group those items together, and advertise them with the healthy vending sticker, then your sales can actually improve by 20%. If you want more information on the FitPick program or to order stickers for your vending machine, you can visit them at www.fitpick.org.
When i was doing the vending machine business in the early days, i was introduced to a location in the east side part of town.
I was a newbie and most of my locations back then was in the offices.
I just abhor the idea of going to downtown and the streets are in such a maze.
I finally gotten used to it and there is much more opportunities in the main city than finding locations in other places.
I had some decent margins and was happy to visit a location and just collecting $20 to $50 dollars per location during my early vending days.
I simply enjoy the freedom and flexibility of doing at your own convenience and not hearing to people who likes to throw their weight around you all the time when you are acting as an employee.
I was acquiring locations in the west and east side and i had a chance to talk to a big vendor.
The big vendor who is already retired hesitates to expand in the east side of the neighborhood and all just wanted orderly and maintaining locations in the west side of the neighborhood.
As a vendor who didn’t grew up in Vancouver. There is honestly no discrimination on my part as a vendor visiting the west side and east side locations since they are all customers. It is my obligation to treat everyone the same and high regards with locations that are outstanding in performance.
When i was in the Philippines there was strong distinction on which neighborhood that you are staying. The neighborhood there is in extreme differences.
On the boundary where you cross all establishments are extremely chic and pretty expensive and is not in anyone’s reach.
Whereas on the other side, everything is cheap and affordable but you have to be very alert on security especially your house, everything has to be checked all the time to avoid break ins and theft.
But from all of these comparisons, there is no east or west borderline in the city where i live in the Philippines.
I lot of people in the expensive neighborhood is reluctant to associate and do business in the other side of the boundary, i think you get the picture and consequence if you do business with less prestigious establishments. Maybe you run the risk of bouncing checks and insufficient funds.
During my tenure in the Philippines i was very flexible in conducting my business in all sectors of the neighborhood.
I had no discrimination on which part of the neighborhood when i set my foot.
This comes back to the retired vendor here in Vancouver that is selling his locations to me. I asked him if he has locations in the east side part of town.
He told me he just likes to stick business in the west side and mostly offices and big companies. I understand his plight because he doesn’t want to deal with people complaining all the small things when you have a location in the east side.
I just shoved aside the idea on doing business in the east or west, it was just like when i was conducting business in the Philippines, whether i was in a slum neighborhood or high end it doesn’t matter as long as people pay me and i just provide outstanding service.
In the west side everything is very well laid out and people like more variety of products and sales is as strong as compared to the sales on the east sectors.
On the contrary, if you are venturing the east side locations, you have lower prices on products but there is more sales. It is more on the bulk sales that you get when you are in the east side of town.
On the west end you have to have a variety of products and offerings and the prices can be varied. Thus your sales is the same when selling common products which are found in your machines on the east side locations.
To be truly succeed in any form and type of business, you have to be flexible in whatever you do and wherever you go.
The downside in the east locations is that sometimes i feel im in the Philippines with people shouting, comments, negative feed backs, asking for freebies all the time etc etc but it boils down to just doing your business and being flexible with all kinds of locations.
Every self-employed person according to my observation is quite flexible and have a certain emotional intelligence when dealing with all sorts of events that evolves around their businesses.
Being on a one track mindset will get you nowhere and perhaps you will be ending in a dying business!
It would be absolutely essential to provide good service to everyone and treat everyone the same to stay afloat.
I heard some stories on some security following certain individuals who looks suspicious when entering local stores to buy things here in Canada.
Sometimes it is not the surface on judging people, i really wanted everyone not to be a shallow hollow mental attitude in all aspects of life.
In order to have a 100% entrepreneurship mindset these thoughts are to be repeatedly inculcated and this doesn’t come with your university education.
Flexibility is the key not only in business but also in relationships where you can to give way on certain events and situations.