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What’s Next for the Vending Machine?

by Darren Hatlestad on October 24
Woman use of soft drink vending system paying by cellphone

The future of vending machines is looking bright, and we're throwing out the dinosaurs of yesterday. In the last few years, we’ve been rethinking the concept of vending entirely. This new perspective is allowing vending machines across the country and internationally to dispense items that may be more novel or more needed than snacks. For Bernick’s, vending is about more than food. It’s about giving people what they need in the most convenient manner possible. We’ve listed some of our favorite cases below, and encourage you to challenge your presuppositions about the future of vending machines.

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Education

One of the first stories we heard about in the last year about new vending machine ideas came from the great state of New York. Before this story broke, no one had really ever considered how a vending machine could impact education. Sure, there are vending machines in school hallways across the country, but how many of them benefitted students with something other than food?

A school in Buffalo recently installed a vending machine that dispenses books to kids. The vending machine was designed to engage students to read more and become enthralled with the world of literature. The children are given tokens for class activities that they can redeem at the machine for numerous book titles. The school stocked the vending machine with over $1000 dollars of books for the students to enjoy.

One For The Road

As commuters board London’s complex train network, they often grow bored and have nothing to do. That was all until the French company Short Édition stepped in. The company thought it would be a great idea to place three vending machines at the Canary Wharf train station. These vending machines couldn’t dispense normal books. A normal book takes hours to read, and commuters would not be able to finish a novel in the amount of time it took for them to reach their destinations. Utilizing this fact, the bright minds at Short Édition decided to stock their three vending machines with short stories. This project made for a few futuristic vending machines that did more than just dispense beverages and candy.

Obscure Eats

Some new vending machine ideas came in the form of offering obscure or luxury food products you wouldn’t find in conventional vending machines. Claudio Torghele, seeing the lackluster of older vending products, invented the vending machine that bakes you a pizza in three minutes.

The Odisha district of India has produced a futuristic vending machine that dispenses milk in order to prevent citizens from purchasing plastic cartons. The Odisha district is aiming to protect the environment while satisfying the people’s need for milk.

Meanwhile, in Germany, citizens are enamored by vending machines that are serving sausages of all things. This machine was made to satisfy customers who have midnight cravings for a couple of links. The creators claim that the primary motivation for the machine was serving areas that were rural and underserved. The shops that would provide meat, eggs, and bread often close early and vending can provide late-night solutions for getting the essentials.

In true New Orleans fashion, back across the pond, The Ritz Carlton has developed and implemented a futuristic vending machine for champagne. The machine sits in the lobby, enticing visitors to the hotel to celebrate with a bit of bubbly whenever they so desire. The Ritz Carlton also made a successful scavenger hunt out of the whole thing, imploring citizens to search for coins to the machine around the French quarter.

Last but not least, Reese’s designed a new vending machine idea for you to exchange the Halloween candy that you hate. This concept presents a lot of cool vending machine ideas involving the principle of trading in one item for another. We’ve had a few brainstorms to think about all of the unique and interesting concepts a vending machine can utilize with the ability to make exchanges.

Future vending machines are expanding their selections. Some machines are simply stocking healthy items. Sometimes vending machines expand to include obscure food items. Occasionally a futuristic vending machine will provide high-quality basics that every person needs and cooks with on a daily basis. No matter which, both instances highlight new vending machine ideas that can revolutionize how we perceive these machines. That’s exciting.

Luxury Goods

We noted luxury food items previously, but did we mention that there are other luxury items that vending machines are stocking? There are a few futuristic vending machines that are sweeping the nation with their creativity and unapologetic extravagance. We’ve included just a few of these machines.

For one, there’s the vending machine at the Hollywood Burbank Airport that dispenses jackets to future passengers. The future of vending machines is looking bright for the company UNIQLO who designed the machine. They designed this new vending machine idea to accommodate passengers who may be traveling to cold regions from the warm climates of California. Who would have thought?

For the artist in all of us, a futuristic vending machine in Little Italy is serving up original works of art. This will undoubtedly save you time when looking for a little decor for your bedroom or hallways. The Porto Vista Hotel has the machine in its lobby and partnered with 1805 Gallery to stock the machine with beautiful masterpieces.

Finally, we have one that will definitely shock you if you remain unphased. What’s one thing you would never expect to find in a vending machine? If one of your answers was a car, you might be mistaken. This new Carvana vending machine was just installed in Kansas City in May. And it’s not the only one! There are currently 18 nationwide. You stop in to finish the paperwork you started online and are gifted a giant coin. The giant coin rolls into the slot and you roll off with a new set of wheels.

What’s Next?

What’s the future of vending machines? We’re already seeing it in motion. Vending machines have been pigeonholed for a long time as a way to get your favorite bag of chips or a nice cold can of pop. The reality is that futuristic vending machines can do a lot more. The products within can be infinitely customized to tailor to any group.

New vending machine ideas have been circulating around and have been implemented in America as well as Germany, London, and India. We love seeing people’s creativity come to life, and are always pleased to see these kinds of projects. While what's happening across the globe in vending might not resonate with consumers stateside just yet, a broad view was fun to share from the lens of one of our biggest business segments. 

In the future, vending machines probably won’t have very many limitations. They will be used to dispense an abundance of items. Whether it’s clothing, obscure food, medication, or even automobiles, don’t be surprised if the next time you stumble across a vending machine, you find something that you never expected to be there.

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Topics: Vending, Products, Fun, Bernick's Products

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