The vending industry is constantly expanding as technology advances, and we are continuing to see companies push boundaries with exciting new innovations. So which trends and innovations are set to take over the vending industry next?
In March 2018, the UK government proposed a deposit return scheme (DRS), which aimed to reduce the levels of wasted plastics. Veolia estimates Britain fails to recycle around 40% of plastic bottles simply by being placed in the wrong bins, ultimately leading to an estimated 240,000 plastic bottles going to landfill each year. Ever-increasing consumer concerns over single-use plastics have led to an important industry trend of ‘reverse vending’, in which beverage containers are deposited and money or vouchers are returned to the consumer.
UK supermarkets Iceland, Tesco and Co-Op have all launched reverse vending trials within the past year. Similarly, on an international level, The Coca-Cola Company launched ‘VenCycling’ in China last October, a reverse vending machine allowing consumers to return used packaging with the added feature of facial recognition technologies and a voice interactive system.
Reverse vending is a prime example of industry supporting a circular economy and providing an easy way for consumers to reduce plastic waste. As a DRS has been proposed by the UK government, it will be interesting to see reverse vending appear in more places and see how it develops throughout 2019.
There has been a recent shift in consumer behaviour and the days of carrying cash around are slowly fading. In 2017, the amount of non-cash payments in Europe increased by 7.9% to 134 million compared to the preceding year, according to research from the European Central Bank.
Cashless payment solutions for the vending industry are nothing new, but one significant trend we will be seeing a lot more of in 2019 is the industry’s response to the recent rise in mobile payments. According to Munster, there are over 252 million Apple Pay users worldwide, and the figure continues to grow. Many vending machines can now take mobile payments or can link up to customer’s online accounts via apps.
For example, earlier this year, Nayax fully integrated Visa’s sensory branding technology as part of Nayax’s Monyx Wallet app, to cater for mobile vending payments. We very recently saw the likes of Reis & Irvy’s choose Nayax Australia as the exclusive cashless payment supplier for its automated Froyo Robot ice cream kiosks.
The vending industry is evidently making conscious moves to help cater to a cashless world. As this is now extending to both a cash-and-card-less world as mobile payment increases in popularity, how will we see vending technology develop to align with these shifts in consumer behaviour?
Automated retail takes things a few paces further than your typical vending machine. From unmanned kiosks to fully unattended grocery stores, we are seeing a lot of innovation within the industry.
Back in January 2018, Amazon opened its first checkout-free supermarket with ‘just walk out’ technology that automatically keeps track of a virtual cart. We’ve also seen the likes of Starbucks join the automated retail train with their on-the-go self-service solution with vending services supplier Selecta.
Last year, Kroger partnered with vehicle manufacturer Nuro to trial an autonomous grocery delivery service in the US. In 2019, PepsiCo became the first major food and beverage brand to utilise snack delivery robots, or ‘snackbots’, at the University of the Pacific. Through an app, students are able to order food and drink, which autonomous bots will then deliver to over 50 locations on the campus. Only this week, Amazon was given permission to start testing commercial drone deliveries in Australia.
Automated retail, and now autonomous delivery, enable a simple and more independent type of retail experience for consumers. How much further will we see the industry go throughout the course of 2019?
The vending industry has come a long way from a big box to feed rattling coins into. Constant innovations and technological developments have seen the industry offer more modern, on-the-go solutions that align with shifts in consumer behaviour.
The April/May 2019 edition of Refreshment magazine will have a primary theme of vending innovation, while the June/July edition will take a look at healthier vending choices. Don’t miss out; be sure to subscribe to Refreshment magazine today.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023