In the UK, vending is seen in isolation as an easy way to pick up confectionary and drinks while on the go – and very little else. Compare the UK to Japan, who have embraced the vending industry wholeheartedly, where picking up a MICHELIN STAR ramen meal from a vending machine is as easy as grabbing a mars bar (so long as you are prepared to queue).
In Japan, vending is a key part of the retail experience, in fact, there is a vending machine for every 20 people in the country and the average vending machine – whether selling Michelin star food or cigarettes takes in $15,000 per year. In Tokyo – Tsuta, the restaurant in question, quite literally allows you to buy the best Ramen in the world from a vending machine and to enjoy them in a minimalist dining experience.
Although at Healthy Nibbles we have no interest in attaining Michelin stars for our vending machines just yet, it is clear that vending has a place in almost every retail industry and actually could be a huge disruptor in the UK market. High labour costs, lack of space, and new attitudes toward retail consumption have made vending machines the ideal way to modernise services across the UK. People in 2018 want things immediately, think about social media and delivery searches like Amazon Prime, and how we as a society have a fixation with consuming information first and getting things quickly – these attitudes tie in perfectly to vending.
The next generation of vending, that we at Healthy Nibbles is part of will not consist of on the go, over-priced unhealthy snacks, but could be one of the main ways we purchase things. Coffee, hot food, meals to go, and healthy snacks are all growing in the UK’s vending market and the convenience, speed, and cost of vending has led many to foresee vending being the key disruptor in the UK’s retail market – “On paper it’s a hyper-rational solution: for customers a quick, easy, seamless and, ideally, contactless fix. For merchants, it’s a low-cost, low-energy, low-maintenance, box-ticking no-brainer.”
Specifically, at Healthy Nibbles, we have seen how modernising vending can be crucial to improving healthy eating. Our vending machines are sleek, contactless and environmentally packed, as well as being stocked with nutritionally approved products that can be selected on dietary information – such as allergies and diet types.
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