New branding for AVA

With additional input from across the membership (both actual and virtual) the AVA Board volunteers got together recently to review direction, strategy and activity for the AVA over the next 1-5 years.

The AVA has launched a new name as it sets out its vision for the future, ensuring the organisation and the industry it represents continues to be agile, innovative and deliver for its members against an ever-changing retail landscape. From now on, the AVA will be known as the Vending & Automated Retail Association to better reflect the full range of services its members offer to consumers around the UK.

The AVA, which was initially established in 1929 as the ‘Coin Operated Machine Association’, is the trade body representing owners, operators, buying groups and manufacturers in the vending and coffee dispensary services. It consists of 160 members which manage the 460,000 vending machines across the UK employing around 25,000 people and adding £1.46bn to the UK economy.

The AVA’s new vision is for the vending and automated retail industry to meet the needs of our 24/7, on-the-go society by making high-quality, innovative food and beverage services accessible wherever and whenever people need them.

David Llewellyn, chief executive of the AVA said: “The vending industry has come a long way from its coin operated machine roots and over the last couple of years we have seen a real shift in consumer demands and the challenges our members face. It was important to reassess our focus and reshape the vision of the AVA to better reflect the wide range of services our members offer, plus the innovation and resilience the industry has demonstrated in turning challenges into opportunities.”

With the impact of Covid-19, 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for those in the vending and automated retail sector. With office closures, next to no commuters and leisure and retail facilities closed for much of the year, the sector was badly hit by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

More recently, supply chain issues arising from the recent fuel and HGV driver shortages have caused further challenges to the sector and those working in it. However, despite this disruption, the sector has shown resilience, collaboration, and innovation in terms of the products on offer and how they are dispensed.

Mr Llewellyn continued: “Throughout the past 18 months, we at the AVA have been a source of information and guidance to our members, providing updates on support or funding available and sharing successes to encourage advances. As an industry we are currently facing an impact from almost 40 pieces of upcoming legislation with everything from the proposed Deposit Return Scheme to the Single Use Plastics Tax, to changes in refrigeration gases having both practical and financial implications for our members. We know our members look to us for support and as the challenging times for retail and food to go specifically look set to continue, our new vision will help us to focus on and communicate the innovation and collaboration which will fuel growth and success for the industry.”

The AVA will be launching its new brand and vision at the Vendex North exhibition, taking place this week at Elland Road in Leeds. The one-day exhibition, which has been running for 16 years, welcomes business owners and senior management from vending operators, contract caterers, service providers and facilities managers from across the country.