- UK vending industry turnover has stabilised at £1.5bn
- Hot beverage market shows marginal growth for the first time since 2004
- 14% of snacks sold in 2015 were categorised as ‘healthy’
The Automatic Vending Association (AVA) has announced the findings from its 2015 UK Vending Industry Census.
The major highlight of the census report was the encouraging news that the UK vending industry turnover has stabilised, with the hot beverage machine market showing marginal growth for the first time since 2004, driven primarily by the growth in bean-to-cup machines.
This growth, together with the first increase in the average price of hot beverages since 2011, has helped compensate for consumption levels, which have continued to decline. An average hot drink machine now dispenses 282 units per week compared to 385 units per week in 2005. While the volume units consumed has fallen, the consumer preference for high quality beverages, larger cups and fresh milk is still high as the high street remains the main trend-setter for hot beverages with the ongoing premiumisation of vended coffee.
Healthier products are also experiencing growing popularity and in 2015, 39% of cold drinks sold were low sugar and 14% of snacks sold were of a healthier variety, including those labelled low calorie, diet and low in sugar. Vending machine design is also undergoing a transformation as the industry continues to innovate with the number of screens used for on-machine advertising doubling in the last 12 months.
The report identified a number of key challenges that the industry currently faces including the National Living Wage, which is set to be £9 per hour by 2020, a figure that many believe will lead to further price increases and efficiency drives. The government’s recently proposed sugar tax and the ongoing media scrutiny of the ‘healthiness’ of vended products were also identified as key concerns.