Healthy, natural food products hold a distinct advantage over conventional “junk food” snacks; they are considered premium products –and they sell for a premium price. The higher the sale price, the higher the net profit on each item sold. Consumers wanting a healthy snack are also more inclined to purchase larger packaged items that are currently not offered by conventional junk food vendors. The upside potential in healthy snack vending is in place.

Sustainability Energy LLC operates a healthy vending machine business division that promotes sustainably sourced and nutritious products. The details regarding the division can be found below:

SE Vending Machines use state of the art technology that promotes energy efficiency and power consumption savings. The machine that is used is the Alpine VT 3000 which is a combo dispensing system that provides users with snack and beverage options. Currently, the snack and drink options are sourced from companies devoted to sustainable agriculture and food processing. For example, we carry the following range of snack and drink products:

  • Sun Chips
    • Whole Grain
    • Garden Salsa
    • French Onion
    • Harvest Cheddar
  • Happy Planet
    • Extreme Energy fruit smoothie with yerba mate and maca
    • Extreme C fruit smoothie with camu camu & baobab
    • Extreme Green fruit smoothie with spirulina and moringa
    • 100 % pure orange juice
    • Grass Fed Chocolate Milk
    • 2% Organic Grass Fed Milk
  • Nut Harvest Deluxe Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Pistachios, and Hazelnuts)
  • Simply Organic Doritos White Cheddar Chips
  • Simply Lays Sea Salted Thick Cut Chips

Initial lineup includes:

  1. Dairyland Chocolate Milk
  2. Dairyland 2% Milk
  3. Tropicana Apple Juice
  4. Tropicana Original Orange Juice
  5. Aquafina
  6. Glaceau Vitamin Water Energy
  7. Sunchips French Onion
  8. Sunchips Garden Salsa
  9. Sunchips Harvest Cheddar
  10. Lay’s Oven Baked Potato Chips, BBQ
  11. Clif Energy Bar, Chocolate Chip
  12. Larabar Fruit & Nut Energy Bar, Apple
  13. Munchies Trail Mix
  14. Planters Peanuts, Salted
  15. Blue Diamond Almonds, Lightly Salted

As you can see, there are a variety of fruit juices, milk options, and healthy yet sustainable snack food choices made for every user with a preference.

Our machine has a variable temperature zone control model and a heated glass that is ideal for humid locations. Health and safety are custom programmed for each product and selection row to ensure that all products are optimally maintained until consumption by vending users.

The infrared sensor system brought to you by iVend ensures that every customer receives their product or their money back. This airs out any potential mechanical issues that may occur with payment or the vending process.

Several payment methods are accepted at the vending machines. Firstly, coins and bills including $5, $10, and $20 increments are accepted. Furthermore, the CoinCo Iris system accepts all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, and Debit through Interac Flash. This ensures a customer-friendly experience whereas payment options are concerned.

The vendor is very energy efficient and uses only 3.8 KwH per day at 24 degrees Celsius and 45% relative humidity. LED lighting also ensures minimal power consumption. The foaming that refrigerates the food inside is made with an ODP eco-friendly process.

To further our mission of accessibility, the lighted keypads are identifiable by a braille reader.

Brief Background of Vending

The North American Vending Industry has experienced strong sales years for the last four decades. Vending Times, the most committed and dependable source for vending industry information and statistics, reports that total vended sales volume for 2013 came in at $42 Billion. To put that in perspective, $42.7 Billion Dollars breaks down into over $11 Million deposited into vending machines every day. While these are impressive, high numbers, the feeling among industry’s insiders (myself included) is much different, however. The shared belief by those that are on the inside track is that the vending industry is on the cliff of extensive change.

Private companies and organizations from coast to coast are following uniform, demanding higher quality and healthier snacks and drinks for their employees. The days of the old junk food vending machines are numbered.

Wellness in the workplace is a significant focus of corporations and organizations now. Management notices the improvement in productivity from their employees when they have healthy options available. No longer do they have to deal with the daily requests for healthy premium snacks and drinks in the workplace.

Premium and healthy products provide benefit to all groups and classes of people. Listen to what your customer’s request; offer them exactly what they want and watch your business thrive.

Revenue Generation

Part of running a successful vending business with still having sustainability in mind involves generating significant revenues. One of the easiest ways to increase revenue generation is through the installation of multiple payment acceptance methods. For example, including credit, debit, coin, and bill options almost guarantees a sale to those clients that are looking for a healthy snack or drink. Where junk and unhealthy food relies primarily on temptation, healthy vending snacks will promote good thinking habits and contribute to improving the health of your customers.

Another way to boost revenue is through having multiple SKUs available. Usually, vending machines are configured in a way that allows you to choose between snack, granola bar, bottle, and can size configurations. This may limit your ability to vend certain products mainly because they won’t fit into the pre-selected configurations. That is why you must select the correct configuration depending on the sizes of the products you have selected to sell.

Pricing of the goods are generally based off how competing convenience stores generally price the identical goods. As a result, you have competitive pricing but do not undercut the MSRP. Usually, we like to enforce a markup of $1.25 on each product so that in any given day that makes 10 sales you can get a total gross profit of $375 per machine per month. If you have a 10 percent conversion rate of the total foot traffic you would need to place your vending machine in a location that has at least 100 encounters to get 10 sales per day.

Securing a Location

Sometimes it is necessary to pay a commission or rental fee to the locations that you are operating your vending machines out of. This is simply because high-traffic areas are generally difficult to get into. When choosing a location, you want to observe how many people pass by a location within 10 minutes. This will give you a sample of the foot-traffic and you can multiply it by 6 to get the hourly average and then by 24 to get the daily average. Think about it, if only 1 person passes by a vending machine location in the 10-minute period, then you have a foot traffic of about 144 people per day (considering its open 24 hours. That is another thing you must pay attention to is the level of foot traffic during the nighttime. Certain vendors can take advantage of the night foot traffic at subway or SkyTrain stations or even inside employee lunchrooms where businesses operate throughout the night. These are more likely to help you earn more money because you have around-the-clock service that you can provide to potential customers. Some examples of locations in which you may consider placing your vending machine include:

  • Car dealership. These locations are generally open for around 12 hours but have high foot traffic during the time period. There is likely a seating area for guests and clients that have oil change and service appointments. Therefore, people are sitting around waiting for a hour or two during each visit which is time within they may view your vendor and make a purchase.
  • Sports and recreation centers including Gyms. Gyms, recreation, and sports complexes are great because people are performing physical activity after which they may feel the need to refuel their bodies. Having healthy yet delicious snack and beverage options available to these active people is a good selling proposition.
  • Performing Arts Center
  • Employee lunchrooms
  • Laundromats
  • Car washes
  • Airports
  • Health clubs
  • Veterinary hospital
  • Doctor’s office or pharmacy
  • Hospitals
  • Schools/colleges
  • Government buildings
  • Factories

Demand for healthy snacks is not just coming from government agencies. We are rapidly seeing socially aware companies and institutions that care about their employees, students and clients attempting to find healthy snack and drink machines in America with limited success. Currently, the consumer demand is far greater than the will of the traditional vending companies to change. There is the general feeling from industry insiders that the days of the junk food vending machine are limited. As soon as locations learn the benefits and advantages of having clean, nutritious food for their employees they will make the switch. They will be further enticed by the offer of receiving a brand new “healthy” vending machine at their location.

Why is Healthy Vending Important?

In a word – it is disease. We cannot turn on a television or open a newspaper today without uncovering a new health issue that is directly related to our poor dietary choices. Today food is abundant and relatively inexpensive, but at the same time, much of the food we eat is highly refined and processed. We are now starting to see the damage caused by a steady diet of such processed foods.

Type 2 Diabetes: A new study published June 25, 2011, by the World Health Organization provided some shocking information. Nearly 10 percent of adults worldwide have diabetes, and new research suggests the rate of new cases is rising rapidly. Over the past three decades, the number of adults with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes has more than doubled -¬‐ jumping from 153 million in 1980 to 347 million today.

Coronary Heart Disease: Every 7 minutes in America, someone dies from heart disease or stroke. Heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in America. These statistics are based on 2006 data (the latest year available from Statistics America). In 2006 cardiovascular disease accounted for:

  • 30% of all deaths in America (69,019 deaths – or more than 69,000)
  • 30% of all male deaths
  • 31% of all female deaths

Obesity: According to Statistics America’s published data, the rate of Americans in the obese category (BMI higher than 30kg/m2) has almost doubled between 1978 and 2005, rising from 13.8% to 24.3% of the adult population -¬‐ that is nearly 1 in 4 individuals. In 2005 (the year of the latest study) the number of obese Americans 18 or older was 5.5 million; 36% of the adult population was considered overweight, and only 39% had a healthy weight. Underweight individuals represented 2% of the population.

These and other horrifying statistics can be directly linked to lack of exercise and poor diet choices of many Americans. The good news is that we are finally waking up to these sobering facts in America. Many are exercising daily, reading labels, demanding better food options from the places where they dine. We have now reached the “tipping point” in the vending industry. American consumers are now demanding healthier, nutritious food from their vending machines.

The American vending industry is long established and remarkably frozen in the “old way” of doing business. Most route operators have been very slow to respond to the consumer’s demand for healthier fare. At best, we see some operators add one or two healthier items (usually a granola bar) into the standard mix of fried potato chips and sugar-¬‐laden chocolate bars. Healthy consumers are accustomed to the selection in the old `black box` style vending machines and they simply walk on by. A new, focused strategy is needed for healthy snacks and drink vending machines. This strategy should utilize the latest technologies. Machines should be bright, shiny and new with enticing graphics identifying it as a “healthy vending machine”. Some vital considerations are

Product Nutritional information available for consumers.

  • Coin Acceptor/ Changer (must give change).
  • Bill acceptors are necessary in the American market.
  • Credit card payment system to accommodate higher priced premium item sales.

Incorporate both Healthy Snacks and Cold Drinks in one combination “healthy snack-¬‐drink” machine.

  • Machine exclusively sells healthy products.
  • Different looking machine than the old “black box” to interrupt the day to day pattern of consumers.

Franchising

We have franchising opportunities available for those interested in helping us further the reach of our sustainability mission.

The features and benefits associated with becoming a franchisee of our vending division includes:

  • Low franchise fee of $3500 and no other hidden costs and no sales commissions
  • Easy way to make a positive ecological impact and a profit
  • Combo-vending machines that support coin, bills, and credit/debit cards.
  • Wide variety of food selections and access to our retail accounts
  • Special online training to help you run your business profitably.
  • Discount on vending machine purchase or get access to financing.

You will have to incur the franchise fee, the cost of buying or financing the vending machine, and first month’s rent for the location you will position your vendor at. It is a relatively low-investment with very high chance of success. You can also access volume discounts and prevent yourself from overcharging your customers by using our retail accounts. We have accounts with two major food companies that provide us with over 13 different SKUS as outlined above.

You can contact us directly at [email protected] to get started. We will guide you through the entire process and help you set up a profitable, sustainable, and healthy vending business.

Summary

This industry in transition presents an opportunity for individuals who wish to offer a new platform for vending healthy snack and cold drink products in the USA. I stress the point that an entirely new approach with a machine specific to natural, healthy options is the only way to be successful. This new model will include a device which is branded for healthy products and provides nutritional information to prospective clients. A wide array of menu items should be made available to clients. Interaction with clients to determine specific menu choices at each location should be conducted when initially installing a machine and repeated every sixty to ninety days during the placement of each machine to fine-tune the best product selection mix thus increasing daily sales per machine. There is a potential for profits for healthy vending route operators. By offering the correct selection of natural snacks and drinks, utilizing the latest technology including a cashless (credit card) interface on machines route operators can build and expand a multi-machine route.

In conclusion, you can easily get started with a profitable, sustainable, healthy vending business that can bring you dividends for years to come. Email us for further information and get started on the path to making a real difference in the world of sustainability.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The concessionaires in our office didn’t renew their contract. Some of my co-workers are suggesting that it would be better to look for a full line vending service provider than can serve fresh and delicious food to the employees who are unable to bring packed lunch. Thanks for highlighting the importance of setting up healthy vending machines to avoid serious illnesses and any cardiovascular disease due to excessive eating of highly refined and processed food.

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