Over the course of 2013, there were some major developments in the vending industry that will change the way vending operators service their customers for the foreseeable future.
Below, we review the top shifts that took place over 2013 and reveal how these events will require a shift toward healthy vending in the upcoming year.
“Smart Snacks In School” was Finalized
What is this? On June 27th, 2013 the USDA released its interim final guidelines to the rules governing “competitive foods” sold in schools which, as the first update in over thirty years, represents a huge shift in policy regulating the vending industry. “Competitive foods” are foods sold in vending machines, student stores, and a la carte lunch lines, meaning the vending machines populating the 100,000+ schools across America that accept assistance through the National School Lunch Program will have to make some major changes for the 2014-2015 school year. The new guidelines, known as “Smart Snacks In School,” not only set limits on calories, fats, sugars, and sodium but also require specific nutrient levels within these snacks to encourage consumption of whole-grains, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Schools must comply by July 1, 2014. To download HUMAN’s free 4-page guide, please visit our resource site, www.SmartSnacksInSchool.com.
What does this mean for the vending industry? With vending machines available in 52% of all schools, healthy vending companies like HUMAN are poised to grow massively in 2014 as schools look for operators who can take care of Smart Snacks In School compliance without extra oversight by school administrators.
The FDA Announced the Calorie Disclosure Requirement
What is this? In 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released legislation that will require vending operators with 20 or more machines to display the calorie count for each product “in close proximity to the article of food or the selection button.” The Calorie Disclosure Requirement comes as part of the Affordable Care Act and is still pending finalization; though, the finalized version of the new regulation is slated for release in February of 2014. Read more about the Calorie Disclosure Requirement HERE.
What does this mean for the vending industry? Independent vending operators and franchise systems with 20 machines or more will have to create innovative solutions to display calorie counts for each product in their machines. Though the industry will likely have a year or more to fully comply once the final legislation is completed, HUMAN Healthy Vending has already released its newest machine, The HUMAN Touch, that will comply with the regulation via its 46” touch screen, which displays the product in 3-D, including the nutritional label, prior to purchase.
Vending Moved Outside the Box
What is this? In 2013, vending moved away from simply selling products out of traditional vending machines toward automated retail through unstaffed, self-checkout convenience stores known as “micro markets.” These new vending platforms are found in high security locations with low numbers of transient traffic (like office buildings) where consumers can physically pick up products before purchasing.
What does this mean for the vending industry? The expansion of micro markets will increase the vending industry’s potential product offerings. Via open shelving and coolers, micro markets offer infinite new possibilities to stock product options, including full fresh meals, that won’t fit or vend well in vending machines. They also offer vending operators the opportunity to employ the highly effective tactics of retail merchandising that aren’t available with traditional vending machines. Furthermore, because consumers can pick up products and read nutrition labels before purchasing products, those looking to lose a few pounds or maintain a healthy diet will have the chance to make more informed food decisions.
Millennials Made Their Mark
What is this? Over the course of 2013, health-conscious millennials demanded more convenient, healthful food options. A recent article in Franchise Times (full article below) noted that the younger generations “know what they need, and they need it now: healthy food options they can grab on-the-go.”
What does this mean for the vending industry? The same article in Franchise Times explains, “The rules of healthy-food franchising have changed, and you’re either in—or you’re out on this one,” meaning that franchisors in the vending industry must also move to meet the demands of a more health conscious consumer base or risk losing those consumers altogether. HUMAN’s mission to make “healthy foods more convenient than junk-food” aligns perfectly with the next generation’s insistence on nutrition, which likely explains why HUMAN was the fastest-growing franchisor of healthy vending in 2013 and why HUMAN will retain this position in the coming year.
What other trends in the vending sphere during 2013 indicate that 2014 will be marked by a major move toward healthier options? Let us know in the comments!
Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to ride the wave of healthy vending due in 2014! To learn about becoming a franchisee, download “The Ultimate Insider’s Guide To Launching & Growing A Healthy Automated Retail Business.” We’d love to get to know you and answer all of your questions.
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- Healthy Micro Market Expansion at Edmunds.com - June 10, 2014