Traditional vending litters our hospitals, schools, universities, businesses and leisure centres. The need for healthy vending is strong, with a growing number of the health conscious looking for healthy alternatives. We’re here to tell you that, contrary to popular belief, healthy vending done right will increase sales.
Whilst an expanding number of people within in the UK are calling out for healthier products, many vending companies are still providing only traditional sugary snacks and cold drinks from their machines. One reason for this is that it is widely and wrongly believed that switching to healthy will mean a drop-in profits.
This resistance continues despite a report from August which showed the impact of healthy vending in hospitals, based on a trial. The trial took place at one of the biggest NHS Trusts in England and revealed that hospital vending machines offering healthier snacks and cold drinks led to staff and patients consuming more water and dried fruit and fewer crisps and sugary drinks.
It was reported in August that the NHS organisation which runs Leeds two largest hospitals has made over £60,000 from their traditional vending snacks. The trust wants to encourage healthy eating but the vending contradicts this selling crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks.
Councillor Stewart Golton, a member of Leeds City Councils Health and Wellbeing Board said, “Patients, staff and visitors are a captive audience, and the hospital has a responsibility to make sure that people often already struggling with their weight are not left relying on a vending machine plying high sugar and salt foods to keep them going during long, stressful hours on a hospital corridor.” (Source: Yorkshire Post, 2018)
We agree. And although the NHS are already feeling the pressure in terms of funds, we have proved that switching to healthy does not mean they lose profit and can even earn more. More of that in a second, but first let’s look at the difference in products.
When we started our Doozy brand we said goodbye to standard vending products and welcomed an entirely new range. Previous experience has demonstrated that adding a row of healthy is not enough to divert consumers away from the big-name brands. Introducing healthy therefore, means a complete menu transformation.
The average vending machine in the UK contains only 39% low sugar, diet or water drinks (Source: Public Health England, 2018). Of those, companies rarely stray away from the big brands and still choose ones filled with artificial sweetners. The cold drinks market now offers so much more than this. From Juicy Fuel Cola, a natural alternative to Coke and one of your five a day, to Vit Hit, a tasty drink containing vitamins, the choices are endless. Our Doozy drinks machines contain 100% ‘healthier’ drinks, not a diet in sight.
It is even more astonishing that just 14% of the average snack machine is labelled as healthier (Source: Public Health England, 2018). The healthy snack market has exploded, with exciting new products being introduced every week. We are always trying samples at Doozy HQ so it is crazy to us that such a small section is allocated for healthier products. Our machines allow for 80% healthy, including Graze products and Portlebay popcorn, as well as a variety of nuts and seeds options. The remaining 20% avoids big name brands but does provide some treat products such a brownies and flapjacks. Beside being better for you, healthier products are also often suitable for those with allergies and dietary requirements.
Vending supplier, Automatic Retailing, releases their top best sellers for the vending industry frequently. Unsurprisingly most often hitting the top spot for cold drinks is Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Whereas for snacks it is Twirl bar and Cadbury Shortcake Snacks. This is a sharp contrast to our best-selling products. For August, our top selling healthy drinks (after water) was Juicy Fuel Cola and Juice Burst Orange. For snacks, Popchips BBQ came top, followed by Metcalfes Skinny Ricecakes. Take a look at our Doozy product menu here.
In a hospital environment, for those who do want a sugary snack or cold drink, they are readily available. But vending companies need to bridge the gap and offer healthier alternatives which they can’t get elsewhere in the hospital. In addition, because vending is so convenient, they make sure the healthy option is the easy option, available around the clock. Instead of limited product choice, healthy vending is simply extending what is available at the hospital.
In 2015, Salisbury District Hospital introduced Doozy to its patients, visitors and staff. Their vending caters for a large number of people including 4,500 regular staff, 450 beds and 10,000 visitors a month. After a successful trial, Doozy installed healthy vending and despite concerns profits would dip without favourites such as Mars and Coca-Cola, sales doubled.
In fact, in comparison to Leeds Teaching Hospital’s traditional vending, Salisbury Hospital make considerably more per machine selling healthy products. This reliable option means that even staff who have to work overnight, can get a healthy snack at any time, 365 days of the year.
Paul freeman, General Manager Support Services, from Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, had this to say, “Doozy have worked in partnership with us to deliver a vending service that is highly regarded by our customers and one that meets our aspirations around the provision of healthier snacks and beverages,
The combination of efficient machines that are well stocked, clean and well maintained, together with products of good quality, has led to high customer satisfaction and an income level higher than expected.”
It is now the right time for healthy vending to change the face of vending forever. Leave behind the Coke and the Mars and introduce a whole new range of exciting food and drink.