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Vending: There's Something for Everyone

Paul Partyka |

CHICAGO — Tired of just offering chips and drinks at your laundry? Plenty of new snack options were introduced at the recent National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) expo in Chicago, including healthier snack alternatives.The vending industry continues to grow. Combination venders, such as this food and ice cream unit, can satisfy many tastes.The NAMA displays included a diet food vending machine that featured only foods compliant with the South Beach Diet program as well as 100-calorie packs of sports cookies and cheese crackers in sports-equipment shapes to appeal to children.If you prefer to offer both cold and frozen items, such as salads and ice cream sandwiches, there’s a vender for you. If warm is more your taste, you might want to take a look at the unit that serves up fresh grilled hot dogs and sausages in soft, warm buns.Fast food, or some form of it, can never totally be ignored. Burger King ketchup-and-fries-flavored potato snacks are new, and a Burger King hamburger-flavored chip is headed for market as well.With vending, there are always other concerns, such as pricing and payment options. One vender allows users to pay for a purchase with up to a $20 bill and get change back in bills — ones or fives — along with coins. With more items increasing in price, some customers may be reluctant to pay with higher bills because they don’t want to receive a pocketful of change back. In addition, this feature allows customers lacking singles to still pay for items.Operators can also expect to see more machines accepting credit and debit cards for payment. About 50% of vending machines are expected to accept credit and debit cards by 2010, according to a show speaker. 

About the author

Paul Partyka

American Coin-Op

Paul Partyka was editor of American Coin-Op from 1997 through May 2011.

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