Taking a bigger slice of the out of home market

Vending gives the high street a run for its money

Faulty machines serving substandard hot beverages saw vending lose out to the high street some years ago; the choice was ‘warm and wet’ from a vending machine or fresh and full from a coffee shop. A no brainer for the consumer, it’s taken a while to change that perception. The results, however, speak for themselves. Fresh, high quality ingredients are being used to make a range of drinks, all in larger cup sizes than before and served from high tech machines in seconds….no queue, no fuss, just the perfect cup every time.

It’s cheaper than the high street too, which is even more of a bonus in these straitened times. Placed alongside hot food and snack machines that serve a range of options for all purses and pallets and suddenly the consumer has no reason at all to nip to the high street.

Aimia Foods is predicting interesting changes for the vending industry, as the sector continues to up its game and take advantage of major events in the 2012 calendar. Vended drinks will, more than ever, start to offer tempting points of difference for operators and consumers, and standards will be pushed higher as consumer expectations from on-the-move drinks increase.

Martin Armitt, Marketing Controller at Aimia Foods, explains: “From the Olympic Games to the Queens Jubilee and Euro 2012, vending machines will play an important role in supporting, and substituting for catering teams during busy periods and staff holidays. Our industry will certainly be keeping the nation supplied with beverages this year.

“Vending machines enable operators to offer their own unique brand, not seen in the high street coffee shops, meaning they can fill the machines with quality ingredients and set the price at a realistic point to deliver great margins. The variety of coffee concepts out there is certainly growing, which we welcome.”

“Brands sell,” insists DarenthMJS Marketing Manager Guy Woodcock. “There are numerous examples of this within the Western World; even in the current economic climate, customers will buy their Nike, Christian Dior, and Apple products. The strength of brands is also evident in the world of coffee, particularly in the case of the branded coffee shop market which saw a further 10% growth in 2011.”

To compete with the High Street it would seem wise to conclude that the Vending Industry requires strong brands that will attract the consumer to a vending alternative. This is the route that leading British machine manufacturer DarenthMJS has taken with the already highly successful Roma Bean to Cup.

Offering a free customisation service in the front window of the Roma Bean to Cup, DarenthMJS give operators the opportunity to build their own unique brands to compete with the high street. Alternatively operators have the option of taking advantage of the highly formidable partnership between DarenthMJS and Douwe Egberts.

Senior Account Manager at DarenthMJS Vicky Johnson comments: “We are extremely pleased to be working alongside Douwe Egberts with the Roma Bean to Cup. We feel that both parties share the same vision of bringing high quality to the vending market.” Johnson continues, “We have already experienced unprecedented success with the Roma Bean to Cup, but I must admit that we are extremely excited about the potential that this new branded version will offer.”

Emily Stoten, Concept Development Manager, Selecta UK believes that consumers will opt for the vending alternative if the offer is right: “The secret to increasing revenue and getting customers to stay on site for their speciality coffee is to bring the high street to the customers. When it comes to coffee, customers want something different to what they experience at home, that means that speciality coffees such as cappuccinos, lattes and mochas sell incredibly well, justifying that higher price and giving customers that feeling of indulgence. A site that can offer premium ‘cafe-style’ speciality coffees, in large paper cups at better value than the high street, can be highly profitable.”

Emily also highlights the importance of regular machine servicing to ensure “…a great tasting, speciality coffee, every time.”

Despite the strain of the wider economic climate, continuous product development will ensure that vending emerges stronger than ever. Offering value for money when it is needed most, high tech machines that detail a drink’s origin and ingredients for the health conscious, ethically aware consumer; or those that link sales by suggesting additional purchases, present the biggest challenge to the high street yet. Sleek styling, cool branding, great tasting products and convenience; the beauty of vending is that it is there just when consumer needs it. This is all great news for the UK economy, which is set to benefit from the events of a truly historic 2012.