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The future of vending machines in a post-pandemic world

The future of vending machines in a post-pandemic world

It’s been over a year since the emergence of Covid-19 caused unprecedented disruption to life as we know it. 

The vending industry, like most others, took a huge hit during the pandemic. Despite playing a vital role in keeping key workers on the front line across the country fed during a time where other food-on-the-go options weren’t available, the impact of closures across other key sectors such as travel, education, leisure and commercial offices brought our industry to an almost complete halt. 

However, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease and our new normal sets in, we’re set to see an significant increase in demand for out-of-home and on-the-go dining experiences. 

As a result, the landscape for vending solutions is changing. The demand for safe, low contact access to high quality food and drink is on the rise – whether it’s at work, school, the hospital or on their travels – people want easy access to refreshments on-the-go. 

In turn, the global vending machine market is poised to grow by $9.33 Billion between 2021 and 2025, fuelled by this surge in demand for contactless, automated refreshment stations and vending machines. 

The role of technology in the future of vending 

Technology is playing a leading role in the growth in demand for vending machines, micro markets and refreshment stations. 

Cashless payments and contactless transactions via distance selection technology enables consumers to select and pay for their goods seamlessly with low to no contact. With stricter hygiene practices a top priority for many post-pandemic, and sanitisation stations set to stay as part of our new normal, long gone are the days of communal catering where cutlery and crockery are shared between staff. 

We expect to see more and more businesses making the swap to automated, contactless systems to cater to more flexible working conditions, with many taking a more balanced approach to time spent at home vs in the office. 

We recently installed a custom catering system including vending machines, a coffee station and water dispenser in Fenwick Newcastle’s staff canteen, indicating the demand for contactless catering is not limited to offices, but workplaces across a variety of sectors. Seen as a more cost-effective alternative to on-site catering and a step up from traditional vending, our bespoke options provide users with a huge range of tasty food, healthy snacks, and hot and cold drinks.

For catering and facilities managers, our unique telemetry system allows real-time access to your sales, stock and performance, boosting efficiency of restocking and machine maintenance. Not only does it take the guesswork out of refilling your machines and highlights top-performing products, it also allows for efficient replenishment, reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and contributing to a reduction in your carbon footprint.

On-the-go food and drink trends for 2021

Health conscious consumers

A 2020 survey conducted by FMCG Gurus found that 80% of consumers worldwide indicated they were planning to eat and drink more healthily in 2021 as a direct result of COVID-19. Although at present, our top performing food and drink products are as you’d expect in the convenience sector – crisps, confectionary and soft drinks – trends indicate a move towards incorporating healthier stock such as sugar free, low fat and high protein options alongside more traditional choices. 

The rise of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians

For some time now, vegan and plant-based diets have been gaining popularity, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. From new and improved meat substitutes, to the expansion of the alternative milk market, innovation has been key in creating options that cater to changing lifestyles without compromising on flavour.

We can expect to see a diversification of on-the-go vegan product ranges, catering to vegetarians and vegans, plus the environmentally conscious consumers and flexitarians. 

Eco-conscious consumers

Although health was a major factor for many choosing to change their diets during the pandemic – whether it be the move to fully plant-based or a less rigid, flexitarian approach –  environmental concerns was another key driver. 

The entire supply chain is now under closer inspection from consumers on their path to purchase – from ingredient sourcing, production and manufacturing, to packaging, transportation and recycling. As a result, environmental considerations are of growing importance in the vending space, for suppliers, catering managers and consumers alike. 

As well as improved fuel efficiency with our telemetry stock management system, we ensure local sourcing where possible – our Coffee Vending machines and Water coolers are all manufactured in the UK, and our bottled water locally from Harrogate Spring Water – plus we offer recycling bins to sites for improved waste management.

Support local 

With a major push for supporting local businesses throughout the pandemic, and the rise of independent food and drink brands, future vending displays may be set to feature more SME FMCG brands alongside long-standing favourites like Walkers and Coca-Cola. As previously mentioned, Harrogate Spa Water is by far our most popular product to supply at Livewell, showing there is an appetite for quality, locally sourced products, and that they can compete with some of the biggest names in Vetail®. 

What’s next?

As technology continues to evolve, vending is shedding it’s old-school image of clunky functionality and coin counting, upgrading to a seamless, sleek new look. With touchscreens, telemetry, and contactless payments, it’s time for schools, hospitals, offices, universities and gyms to upgrade their on-the-go dining offer, catering to changing consumer needs and simplifying the stock management process. 

Visit our unique Solutions Wizard to see how we can help with your catering needs, it will identify options that are the perfect fit for you and the end consumers.  

 

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Livewell Vending and Cashless Payment Technology

The future of vending machines in a post-pandemic world

It’s been over a year since the emergence of Covid-19 caused unprecedented disruption to life as we know it. 

The vending industry, like most others, took a huge hit during the pandemic. Despite playing a vital role in keeping key workers on the front line across the country fed during a time where other food-on-the-go options weren’t available, the impact of closures across other key sectors such as travel, education, leisure and commercial offices brought our industry to an almost complete halt. 

However, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease and our new normal sets in, we’re set to see an significant increase in demand for out-of-home and on-the-go dining experiences. 

As a result, the landscape for vending solutions is changing. The demand for safe, low contact access to high quality food and drink is on the rise – whether it’s at work, school, the hospital or on their travels – people want easy access to refreshments on-the-go. 

In turn, the global vending machine market is poised to grow by $9.33 Billion between 2021 and 2025, fuelled by this surge in demand for contactless, automated refreshment stations and vending machines. 

The role of technology in the future of vending 

Technology is playing a leading role in the growth in demand for vending machines, micro markets and refreshment stations. 

Cashless payments and contactless transactions via distance selection technology enables consumers to select and pay for their goods seamlessly with low to no contact. With stricter hygiene practices a top priority for many post-pandemic, and sanitisation stations set to stay as part of our new normal, long gone are the days of communal catering where cutlery and crockery are shared between staff. 

We expect to see more and more businesses making the swap to automated, contactless systems to cater to more flexible working conditions, with many taking a more balanced approach to time spent at home vs in the office. 

We recently installed a custom catering system including vending machines, a coffee station and water dispenser in Fenwick Newcastle’s staff canteen, indicating the demand for contactless catering is not limited to offices, but workplaces across a variety of sectors. Seen as a more cost-effective alternative to on-site catering and a step up from traditional vending, our bespoke options provide users with a huge range of tasty food, healthy snacks, and hot and cold drinks.

For catering and facilities managers, our unique telemetry system allows real-time access to your sales, stock and performance, boosting efficiency of restocking and machine maintenance. Not only does it take the guesswork out of refilling your machines and highlights top-performing products, it also allows for efficient replenishment, reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and contributing to a reduction in your carbon footprint.

On-the-go food and drink trends for 2021

Health conscious consumers

A 2020 survey conducted by FMCG Gurus found that 80% of consumers worldwide indicated they were planning to eat and drink more healthily in 2021 as a direct result of COVID-19. Although at present, our top performing food and drink products are as you’d expect in the convenience sector – crisps, confectionary and soft drinks – trends indicate a move towards incorporating healthier stock such as sugar free, low fat and high protein options alongside more traditional choices. 

The rise of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians

For some time now, vegan and plant-based diets have been gaining popularity, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. From new and improved meat substitutes, to the expansion of the alternative milk market, innovation has been key in creating options that cater to changing lifestyles without compromising on flavour.

We can expect to see a diversification of on-the-go vegan product ranges, catering to vegetarians and vegans, plus the environmentally conscious consumers and flexitarians. 

Eco-conscious consumers

Although health was a major factor for many choosing to change their diets during the pandemic – whether it be the move to fully plant-based or a less rigid, flexitarian approach –  environmental concerns was another key driver. 

The entire supply chain is now under closer inspection from consumers on their path to purchase – from ingredient sourcing, production and manufacturing, to packaging, transportation and recycling. As a result, environmental considerations are of growing importance in the vending space, for suppliers, catering managers and consumers alike. 

As well as improved fuel efficiency with our telemetry stock management system, we ensure local sourcing where possible – our Coffee Vending machines and Water coolers are all manufactured in the UK, and our bottled water locally from Harrogate Spring Water – plus we offer recycling bins to sites for improved waste management.

Support local 

With a major push for supporting local businesses throughout the pandemic, and the rise of independent food and drink brands, future vending displays may be set to feature more SME FMCG brands alongside long-standing favourites like Walkers and Coca-Cola. As previously mentioned, Harrogate Spa Water is by far our most popular product to supply at Livewell, showing there is an appetite for quality, locally sourced products, and that they can compete with some of the biggest names in Vetail®. 

What’s next?

As technology continues to evolve, vending is shedding it’s old-school image of clunky functionality and coin counting, upgrading to a seamless, sleek new look. With touchscreens, telemetry, and contactless payments, it’s time for schools, hospitals, offices, universities and gyms to upgrade their on-the-go dining offer, catering to changing consumer needs and simplifying the stock management process. 

Visit our unique Solutions Wizard to see how we can help with your catering needs, it will identify options that are the perfect fit for you and the end consumers.  

 

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Livewell pioneering Healthier Vending Choices

Livewell pioneering Healthier Vending Choices

Livewell® are leading the way in offering modern vending stations with a wide range of healthy products.  We’re bringing the world of vending up to speed with the innovative pace of retail. We call it Vetail®. It’s less about vending and more about smart lifestyle choices.

We are increasingly having some great conversations about our range of healthier drinks and snacks.  The message is starting to get through that offering a choice of products including low and no sugar drinks, and snacks that have lower fat content helps meet the increasing consumer demand for these types of products.

At the recent Vendies (Vending Industry Awards) there was a great list of tasty snacks in the Best Health & Well Being Product category. The winner being the very popular Burts Lentil Waves Thai Sweet Chilli (Burts Potato Chips).  Other offerings included Popcorn and Cereal Bars.

We have recently installed Snack Stations within school sites stocked with these types of products.  They are proving very popular with students and visitors and offer a healthier alternative to traditional crisps and confectionery.

We’ve been supplying vending to the secondary education sector for many years and work with each school to develop a specific and appropriate range of vended drinks and snacks.  Unlike traditional vending, our Livewell® Stations offer a broader range of products (including healthier options) that help meet the specific health and wellbeing needs of school sites.

Many people we speak to are unaware of the latest vending machine developments – our modern vending stations now offer touchscreen technology and nutritional information.  Livewell® Stations can be integrated with schools cashless catering systems (including biometrics) and access can be limited using timers to only allow students to purchase vended products at certain times of day (e.g. breaks).

Our experience also shows that vending can be extremely beneficial in terms of generating additional revenue for schools.

Get in touch today to talk to us about healthier vending within your school or business and how it can work for you.

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How We’re Helping NHS Staff Make Healthier Choices

How We’re Helping NHS Staff Make Healthier Choices

Employee wellbeing is high on business agendas and more than ever employers are taking the initiative to look after their staff. This is especially true for the NHS right now, where Public Health England estimated the cost of sickness absence to the healthcare provider in 2015 was £2.4bn.

Further to this, an NHS staff survey showed that improving staff health and wellbeing would lead to higher staff engagement, better staff retention, and higher quality clinical outcomes for patients.

The 2017-19 CQUIN on ‘NHS staff health and wellbeing’ is one of thirteen mandatory CQUINs and sees the introduction of a number of health and wellbeing initiatives designed to make it easier for NHS staff to make healthier choices.

One of these initiatives, “healthy food for NHS staff, visitors, and patients”, requires NHS staff workplaces to make some major changes to the food offered on their premises and how it’s presented to employees.

Price promotions and advertisements for sugary drinks and foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt are banned, along with the inclusion of these drinks and food at checkouts.

Workplaces also need to ensure that healthy options are available at any point, including for staff who work night shifts.

It’s because of these changes that recently we were contacted by Preston Teaching Hospital to install four of our vending machines in their workplace. Our aim was to help the teaching hospital’s staff make healthier choices with two of our hydration stations and two snack stations packed with choice, including Baked Crisps, Proper Corn (the latter of which is great for giving your brain a boost on the go!) and cereal bars.

Are you responsible for employee wellbeing in the NHS or another workplace? Get in touch to find out how we can help keep your staff healthier & happier.

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Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces

In the last couple of months, “safe” has become one of the most used words. “Stay safe” is the new goodbye. We’ve all learnt two metres is a “safe distance”. Implementing “safety measures” is now part of every business strategy.

And rightly so. None of us have had to deal with a global pandemic before – and it’s vital that we change not only our vocabulary but our actions to keep ourselves and others safe and well.

With companies now starting to plan for the return of employees, clients or customers, some of these changes are going to need to be big.

Livewell’s vending solutions can help.

Safe catering

Many organisations are limiting their in-house catering services – either to minimise infection risk or due to reduced staff numbers on site. But our vending stations provide a safe and simple alternative.

Livewell’s range gives you an easy way to offer your staff a well-balanced choice of snack and drink products, guaranteed to suit varying tastes and dietary requirements. Take a look at our station options.

And crucially, as self-service automated units, they eliminate any person-to-person contact.

Payment is contactless via debit/credit card or smartphone.

Antibacterial gel dispenser units have been added to the front of all vending stations to provide an easy way to sterilise hands before and after a purchase.

Floor signage can be supplied for all installations to remind consumers to keep to a safe distance while queuing.

It’s never been easier to provide safe catering with Livewell.

Safe stations

PPE vending solutions

As schools, gyms and other community hubs start to reopen, Livewell’s vending stations give you a way to offer everyone safe no-contact access to the snacks or drinks they need. Especially important when the usual café options may not be available for some time yet.

Livewell stations can also go one step further in helping you address workplace safety needs.

We can now provide PPE vending solutions with the ability to store and dispense equipment such as masks, sanitiser and gloves within our units. You can set up a dedicated PPE station or offer PPE as selections within an existing station.

Please get in touch to discuss your requirements. We’d love to hear from you.

And above all, stay safe!

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VendSafe takes flight at Leeds Bradford Airport

VendSafe takes flight at Leeds Bradford Airport

We all know the feeling… you’re waiting for a flight and suddenly realise you’ve forgotten your water bottle. There’s no going back through security and you know you’ll want a drink soon. Plus you’re starting to get hungry too. So what do you do?

With even fewer options available during the COVID-19 pandemic, you look around… and a Livewell vending station catches your eye. Drinks, snacks, PPE – it’s got everything you need.

Which is why we’re thrilled to announce our new partnership with Leeds Bradford Airport, where we’ve just installed three of our VendSafe stations to provide passengers with essential travel supplies.

Automated, hygienic and safe.

As lockdown eases and travel slowly resumes, passengers are starting to return to airports. But with new hygiene guidelines in place for air travel, things aren’t as straightforward as before. Many airlines have suspended the sale of food and drink on flights to reduce in-flight contact points – and not all catering options in terminals have returned.

Livewell’s VendSafe stations provide a quick and easy way for travellers to buy what they need before boarding. These self-serve stations are low touch, low contact and low stress…ideal for passengers. And there are added benefits too…

  • Low contact stations with wipe-clean touch screens.
  • Quick and easy automated product dispense.
  • Hygienic, temperature-controlled product storage behind glass screens.
  • Wide range of branded snack and drink choices along with PPE travel essentials.
  • Contactless payment methods via credit/debit cards, ApplePay etc.
  • COSSH approved antibacterial gel dispenser fixed to the front of stations.
  • Floor signage to help aid social distancing.

Leeds Bradford Airport

Passengers flying from Leeds Bradford Airport can now access PPE as well as food and drink from VendSafe stations

Find what you need at Leeds Bradford Airport

We’ve installed three VendSafe stations in the Airport.

One landside, selling snacks, masks, face coverings and 100ml antibacterial spray. All items can be taken through security.

And two airside, located on the ground floor departure lounge, opposite gates 7 and 8. One station sells a full range of snacks, whilst the other has drink options in bottles and cans. You can take any of these items on your flight.

As a Leeds-based business, we’re especially delighted to be able to provide this service to passengers and staff at Leeds Bradford Airport. Offering a safe way to access the food, drink and PPE they need, we hope it will be a reassuring service to those travelling again.

VendSafe really is taking flight!

Learn more about VendSafe and about travelling to/from the Airport.

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A safe catering solution for schools

A safe catering
solution for schools

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been helping schools in the region implement COVID-19 safety measures by providing a simple solution for safe on-site catering and refreshments. Our VendSafe stations, installed in multiple locations around a school campus, give pupils and staff, low-contact access to food and drink during the school day.

With staff needing to change arrangements, to adhere to the latest government guidance for the re-opening of schools, we’ve been working with them to make the safe provision of refreshments as easy as possible.

And catering is one of the biggest challenges. To limit transmission risks, schools now need to control the movement of pupils in separate ‘bubbles’, reduce lunch and break time congestion, and encourage students to stay on-site during school hours. And they’re finding that our automated vending stations can help with this.

With drinks and snacks stored in a temperature-controlled, hygienic unit behind a glass screen, the ‘self-serve’ process results in a low contact solution. Product selection is made via a wipe-clean touchscreen, which has an antimicrobial coating. Integration with the school’s cashless payment system removes the need to handle coins, and the quick dispensing mechanism results in a quick turnaround and fewer queues.

Furthermore, a hand sanitiser is attached to the front of each station, encouraging good hand hygiene. Our VendSafe stations need just a standard plug socket to operate, so can be located at numerous locations around the school site to allow access to different ‘bubbles’.

Aaron Prout, Director at Livewell Vending, says:

“Like many businesses impacted by COVID-19, Livewell has had to rethink many aspects of its operation. As a long-term supplier to many local schools, we have worked quickly to ensure that the VendSafe provision meets their current needs and helps to refresh their pupils and staff safely.”

Mark Newstead, Assistant Principal of Garforth Academy, says:

“Livewell are helping us meet the challenge of implementing COVID-19 safety measures. We want our staff and pupils to feel safe in school and, as a part of the catering service, Livewell’s vending stations provide a low-contact, self-serve solution to safely access refreshments.”

Get in touch to find out more about our safe catering solution for schools.