It’s a familiar scene. Late for her next meeting after skipping lunch, a working mom finds herself staring at the vending machine. Candy, chips and trail mixes with enough sugar to put her into a coma. Are these really the best choices?
The answer is often yes, but it doesn’t have to be.
According to a survey on snacking by the consumer-centric research experts at the Hartman Group, more than half of respondents stated healthy snack food and beverage options are important to them. And now, there are some new trends and players in the vending machine market who seem to get it. HUMAN Healthy Vending is one such player who is trying to provide the Whole Foods experience to the on-the-go eater. In their machines, you’ll likely find a SoyJoy bar rather than the traditional bag of chips.
But your brand doesn’t have to be confined to the health-specific vending machine to reach the healthy snacker. Here are a few trends that can help your brand stand out in the everyday vending machine:
- Mini-Meals – While some snackers may be looking to satisfy a craving or a sweet tooth, many are looking for what Hartman calls mini-meals. Still calling it a snack, consumers are actually eating multiple mini-meals throughout the day while on the go vs. sitting down to a full meal.
Smart brands have tuned into this behavior and have created mac and cheese vending cups and mini lasagna portions to go. The one thing they are missing- HEALTH! That’s why we love Farmer’s Fridge and their line of jarred salads and snacks.
- Sustained Energy – Most vending machines are lacking sources of balanced foods. Rather than the calorie-portioned serving of carbs that are sometimes positioned as the healthier option, brands could think outside the carb box for more energy sustaining options. When it comes to energy, consumers typically look to a mix of carbs, protein and healthy fats.
Epic bars are a great example of a brand who is doing this well, balancing the three benefits of protein, gluten-free and natural while providing an energy-sustaining snack.
- Diverse Beverages – From caffeine fixes to antioxidant boosts, the health minded consumer is looking for many of the same beverages as the average consumer, but with a twist. Instead of coffee – it’s now fair-trade certified coffee. Instead of tea, it’s matcha. Instead of spring water, Alkaline water or coconut water are growing in popularity. Functional beverages are alive and well and what the actively healthy consumer is looking for (and willing to pay for).
Bottom line, if vending machines in Singapore can serve live crabs, I think we can find a way to go beyond a bag of chips.