As summer approaches, many people in the UK will be reaching for a cold drink to quench their thirst. One of the most convenient ways to do this is by using a cold drinks vending machine. Cold drinks vending has become a staple in many public places, from schools to train stations to shopping centres, as well as in workplaces up and down the country.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at the world of cold drinks vending machines and uncover some interesting statistics.
Latest Trends Around Cold Drinks Machines
According to the UK’s Automatic Vending Association, there are currently over 420,000 vending machines operating in the UK, with a turnover of over £1.5 billion per year. Of these vending machines, around 40% are dedicated to selling cold drinks.
So, of the approximate 170,000 cold drinks machines in the UK, what are the most popular cold drinks sold from these vending machines? Unsurprisingly, water is the top seller, with around 35% of all cold drink vending sales being for a refreshing, chilled bottle of H2O. This is followed by carbonated drinks, which make up around 30% of sales, and fruit juice, which accounts for around 15%. Other drinks, such as sports drinks and energy drinks, make up the remaining 20%.
Interestingly, there has been a shift towards healthier options in recent years. According to a study by Kantar, sales of low sugar drinks in vending machines increased by 51% between 2014 and 2018. There is no doubt that in the five years since these figures were released, low sugar and low calorie drinks have continued to rapidly grow in popularity. This trend is likely to continue, as consumers become more health-conscious and demand healthier options.
Cashless Payments for Vending Machines are Increasing
Another interesting trend in the world of cold drinks vending is the rise of cashless payments. According to a report by Vendman, cashless payments now account for over 50% of all vending machine transactions. This is a reflection of the wider trend towards cashless payments across the entire UK economy, as more and more consumers choose to pay with their smartphones or contactless cards.
Sustainability is a Key Issue With Cold Drinks Vending Machines
However, with the rapid growth of both cold drinks machines and the products sold from them, comes some challenges. One such challenge facing the cold drinks vending industry is the issue of sustainability. With millions of plastic bottles and aluminium cans being sold through vending machines each year, there is a growing concern about the environmental impact. Some vending machine operators are taking steps to address this, by offering recycling facilities or switching to more sustainable packaging options.
This challenge is one that the UK Government is taking seriously, with plans now drawn up for a mandatory deposit and reverse vending scheme for bottled drinks being implemented by 2025, to reduce plastic waste and encourage recycling. Similar schemes already exist in some European countries, and will help to reduce the waste footprint of drinks brands and vending operators.
The cold drinks vending industry in the UK plays a key role in keeping the nation hydrated, refreshed and productive. As consumer trends continue to evolve, the range of beverages available from drinks machines will broaden to support these new trends, and consumer choice is only set to increase.
While there are challenges to be faced, such as the need to offer more sustainable options, there are also opportunities to embrace new technologies and respond to changing consumer preferences. Whether you’re grabbing a drink on the go or taking a break from work, cold drinks vending machines are likely to remain a popular choice for many years to come.
Looking to buy a cold drinks vending machine for the office?
You’re in the right place! At Connect Vending we sell a range of cold drinks vending machines and combination vending machines to fulfil the varied requirements of businesses and their consumers.
To find out more about how a cold drinks machine can benefit your organisation, speak to our friendly sales team on 01865 341011, or contact us.
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