Traditional vending machines have long been a way companies have provided their employees with convenient and fast access to snacks and drinks.

Whilst the typical snacks of salty chips and high sugar chocolates often satisfy people’s 3pm cravings, their regular consumption are linked to weight gain and the development of chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes.

According to Diabetes Australia, 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes, with more than 100,000 Australians having developed diabetes in the past year. Given this, a healthier eating lifestyle is absolutely necessary in today’s place of work.

Vending in Australia

Over recent years, employers have been demanding their existing vending operators introduce healthier options in their machines. Various government initiatives, including Get Healthy At Work NSW have released guidelines on creating healthier vending machines.

The majority of traditional vending operators in Australia have, however, been reluctant to adopt the recommendations, largely for fear of loss of sales. The reality is, unhealthy food and drinks will often cannibalise the one row of healthy options in a machine due to their lower pricing and well-known brands.

Why is the Global Vending Industry in Decline?

A recent report by Automatic Merchandiser, “State of The Industry”, details the fall in the number of US vending machines from 3.5 million in 2016 to 2.1 million in 2017. That is a whopping 40% decrease over one year.

At the 2017 AVEX conference in the UK, Cyril Lavenant of NPD, the largest market research company in the foodservice industry, highlighted the decline in the global vending industry has been driven by 6 important consumer trends:

  1. Perception of freshness; consumers want convenient access to fresh food and the ability to view expiry dates
  2. Quality of product; consumers want access to healthier options
  3. Experience; consumers want a more interactive experience
  4. Mega convenience; consumers want cashless and the ability to pre-pay
  5. Transparency of sourcing; consumers want to buy locally sourced products
  6. Experiment & customise; consumers want variety and products more suitable to their daily work and eating habits

Why Micro Markets Are The Future

The consumer trends causing the decline in traditional vending are exactly why the micro market industry in the US has been experiencing solid growth year on year.

A micro market is an open market that can provide fresh food such as salads, wraps, ready to go meals, fruit, snacks and drinks using a fully-automated payment system. The consumer picks a product from an open rack display, or reach-in refrigerator, and scans the item at a self-checkout kiosk.

Micro Markets vs Typical Vending

Micro Market Typical Vending
Catering to fresh, healthy foodsUnhealthy snack foods
Large variety of 150-400 items with no restrictionsLimited range of up to 45 items with restrictions
Open product access with ability to view nutritional informationNo product access until purchase
Multiple payment options and product purchasingLimited payment options and single item purchase
Minimal delivery problems being completely cashlessCommon issues of payment and product jamming
Customisation of product offering to the locationStandard product offering

Helping Employees Be Healthier with Morsl

Providing employees convenient access to healthy and fresh food is just one of the ways that an employer can enhance an employee’s overall health and wellbeing.

Morsl is one of Australia’s first micro market operators, offering employers a sustainable and fully integrated food solution via its self-serve food and drink marketplace. With onsite convenience and a focus on healthier options, Morsl is a key strategy for employers to make a healthy workplace a little easier.