Vending machines are a handy way to pick up a quick snack, drink, or meal if there is the need for one. Some vending machines sell healthy options. Others sell junk food exclusively. Although vending machines can provide easy access to unhealthy eating options, the sales statistics below might surprise you.
The average vending machine accounts for just $76 of revenue every week for the company that both owns and services their machines.
Vending Machine Sales
This means a vending machine makes about $300 in profit every month for the company running it. Of course this doesn’t include figures from the products that are being stocked in the machine, but overall, people are not spending very much for a quick pick-up snack or drink when they have a need. The average person, in fact, spends just $27 per year at a vending machine.
- The average cash transaction at a vending machine in 2013 was $1.16.
- Cashless transactions had an average transaction of $1.71.
- 3 out of every 4 vending machine transactions are based on cash.
- The total profit that is generated by the snack and vending machine industry, on average, every year is over $64 million.
- Annual spending through vending machines in the United States tops $7 billion annually.
- There is an estimated 4.6 million vending machines in the United States right now.
- 56% of vending machine sales were for cold drinks, including soft drinks, juices, and other sugary options.
- The sales of healthier snacks outpace traditional snack foods by 3x, but most vending machines are still stocked with mostly junk food.
- The first American vending machine sold gum. The first English vending machine? It sold apples and postcards.
It’s interesting that the biggest concern that the vending machine industry has about transitioning to healthier snacks is a loss of sales. The statistics show that stocking healthy snacks in a vending machine could actually triple their sales. More than 3 out of 4 people are conscious about the weight they are carrying and 65% of Americans are actively trying to diet in some way right now. By only stocking sugary drinks and junk food in a vending machine, the industry is dramatically limiting their market size. Is there a risk in changing a business format? Certainly. Without any risk, however, there is rarely the chance of having a great reward.
Do Vending Machines Encourage Unhealthy Eating?
- In Italy, a vending machine is able to make a full pizza in just 3 minutes.
- Before being banned in the United States except in specific establishments, cigarette vending machines were the most popular machine.
- From 1978 to 1995, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reported 37 deaths and 113 injuries due to people shaking vending machines.
- About 30% of total vending machine sales come from schools, although in 2015 vending machines in schools will not be allowed to sell soft drinks, cookies, or candy.
- There are three vending machines in the greater Los Angeles area that sell caviar, including a 400g tin of Beluga caviar for $1,600.
- Japan has about the same amount of vending machines that the United States does and their machines sell everything from tomatoes to live horned beetles to whiskey.
- Some Japanese vending machines estimate a person’s gender and age to recommend specific beverages for them.
It is the US vending industry that is rebelling against the idea of selling new products, but their hand is being forced by laws that are going to be enforced in 2015. Healthy snacks and alternative food items are going to be required. If noodles can be a popular vending item in Japan and if made from scratch pizza can be accomplished by an Italian vending machine, then there’s no excuse for the American market to adapt. The world vending machine market has proven that alternative products can be popular and profitable. Now it’s up to the American vending industry to pick up the ball and run with it.
Will Requiring Calorie Counts on Vending Items Cost The Industry?
- Calorie document requirements are believed to bring about a cost to the vending machine industry at $25.8 million initially and $24 million per year after that.
- It would only take 0.02% of the American population with a BMI of 30 or higher to eat 100 fewer calories from vending machines per week to make up that cost.
- The new vending regulations are about to apply to over 10,000 American companies that operate 20 or more machines on a regular basis.
- More than 75% of American vending machine companies have 3 or fewer employees.
- The average cost of new documentation requirements is expected to be about $2,400 per machine.
- A 2011 study showed that only 1 out of every 6 people even bother to read calorie or ingredient information that may be available on a label.
Most people are going to eat the things they want to eat because they feel like it. If people want to know calorie and ingredient information about the snacks they’re getting out of a vending machine, then they likely already have that information. If they don’t have it, with easy access to the internet through mobile data, it literally takes 5 seconds to find out the information that is needed with modern search technology. The problem here, however, is that we’re addressing symptoms instead of the core problem. More people would purchase alternative, healthy products from vending machines – but maybe not in schools. 30% of sugary sales are disappearing in 2015 for the vending industry. By the end of 2015, the American vending industry will have either transitioned into something more profitable, or it will find itself counting quarters in order to survive for another year under the current business plan.