Vending snacks are getting healthier

A vending census by the Vending and Automated Retail Association (AVA) has revealed that on vended snacks and drinks are now far more healthy than they have been in the past.

Traditionally, vending machines were stocked with a range of snacks and drinks that were often high in sugar, saturated fats, and artificial additives.

However, as people have become more health-conscious and concerned about the environmental impact of their food choices, there has been a surge in demand for healthier and more sustainable options.

According to the AVA census, the sugar levy and commissioning for quality and innovation requirements have significantly impacted the stock-keeping unit offered through vending, leading to improved nutritional profiles.

Cold drinks now have less than 5g of added sugar per 100ml in 80% of pre-packaged options, up from 44% in 2017. Additionally, 79% of confectionery and sweet lines now have 250 calories or fewer, compared to 35% in 2017.

Savoury snacks limited to 30g or less have increased to 38% from 22% in 2017. In the sandwiches and other pre-packaged ready meals category, 17% of products now contain 400 calories or fewer and less than 5g of saturated fat per 100g, up from 10% in 2018.

These changes reflect the industry’s response to regulations and consumer demand for healthier vending options.

David Llewellyn, chief executive of the AVA said: “Vending operators should continue to focus on diversifying their product offerings. They should make the most of the rise in vegetarian and vegan diets and provide those customers with the products they need and want, ensuring a wider range of options for consumers.

“Operators should also regularly update their inventory based on emerging ingredient trends and consumer preferences. Promoting the availability of healthier choices and clearly labelling vegan and free-from products can attract a larger customer base.”

An example of a new healthy vended drink is the new Caraboa SPORT drink available in ornage and mixed berry.

The launch of Carabao SPORT follows new consumer research which reveals that 60% of regular Isotonic sports drink drinkers who exercise weekly are very concerned about the presence of aspartame in sport drinks.

With added B vitamins, natural colours and flavours and lack of aspartame the soft drink is said to be appealing to the consumer demand for more natural category solutions.

The formulas also contain only 4.4g of sugar/100ml and 113 calories per bottle.

Speaking on the launch, John Luck, chief marketing officer at Carabao said: “Carabao SPORT includes the carbohydrates and electrolytes required to support prolonged exercise that you would expect to find in a sports drink, but it is our combination of aspartame free, added B vitamins, 100% natural colours and flavours and fantastic flavour that makes our drink special.”