A hot balmy late summer sun welcomed visitors to Eu’Vend, Germany’s premier vending event. The fact that the exhibition was in hall 8 of the mega large Koelnmesse made visitors wish they had taken a taxi ride rather than strolled over from central Cologne. However the cleanliness and open cool environment made the event most pleasurable to walk around, the aisles were spacious with clear company markings and a pleasing mix of open and sided stands with the usual large representations from major suppliers.
The only negative point from a personal view is that l still find it rather rude to be met by sales person with a cigarette in their hand then watching them juggling it around whilst trying to give me a demonstration – the cigarette still merrily burning away. Alcohol was also flowing in abundance on many stands and it make me ask the question – where is the health and safety manager??!!

The exhibitors seemed to be grouped around the front of the hall leaving a large open space to the rear, which was cleverly filled with antique cars and old vending machines and an operators’ area for clients to sit and meet.

The UK representation was only minimal with each of the major suppliers and manufacturers having their own German arm exhibiting. Speaking to Charles from Umbrolly he was pleased to say that though the number of visitors was low, they all asked the right questions and he felt these leads will pay off and help expand his European arm. Charles finds trade show are a great way to expand business and had recently come back from the States with a contract for a sub division of Wal-Mart – need l say more!

Each time l saw a lull on the Safer Systems stand some other person would step onto it, which again indicates the interest in UK products. This company is dedicated to the security aspect of vending machines including locks and bags. Again speaking to the team we find the quality of enquiry was excellent.

Westomatic exhibited at the show all the way from Devon, foot fall was good and a lot of interest was taken in the new Prelude, a table top machine not only offering a super cup of drink in 40 seconds which is either freshly brewed tea/ bean to cup or soluble drinks, but also able to offer a massive 200 cup capacity. This beast of a table top machine was neat and elegant which is great due to the size of the machine and l am told very durable and reliable. Some of the Westomatic staff at the show also took time out to sit in on some of the seminars on offer and found these enlightening.

On those hot days it was nice to see the Vending Corporation and Mini Melts with ice-cream chilled vending machines on show. The Vending Corporation, European distributor for Dixie Narco, Bevmax Kiosk and GPL, were pleased to announce a successful event.

Oasis from Ireland were demonstrating the KaliX; their most recent offering and specifically designed for the European market, this water cooler gained a great deal of interest. With a European manufacturing arm their growth is already evident.

Another company were Veriplast which have manufacturing facilities all over Europe. Veriplast, with a well-positioned stand and a good display of their plastic based cups, reported a lot of interest in larger sized cups now as well as the branding opportunities. The cup industry is very competitive and one that has to been on a constant drive for innovation. The demand for eco friendly products has to be taken into consideration. In terms of cost the ongoing development of these products will really depend on the willingness of consumers to pay more as current operation find it difficult on margins to be green!

Most of the products on show were much as those we saw at AVEX, however one that stood out was the Netherlands company SoupO’matic. Speaking with Wim Schilders l was told they are already UK leaders in the vended soup offering: the company rolled out in the UK as we as a country showed most interest in vended hot soups. With 14 different flavours and an all fresh product, this super machine is currently found in schools and universities. It is a great product which l feel will come on in leaps and bounds, not only with the coming of colder weather but as an ideal fit with the new education legislation. Hospitals are already working closely with the team and they feel that lots of other markets are suitable including motorway services and truck stops. The equipment and ingredient is manufactured by the company and includes computerized food management and a self-cleaning system.