Members of the vending industry helped the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) break its previous attendance record at its OneShow, which took place April 27-29 at McCormick Place in Chicago. At the annual trade show, NAMA announced its new plan to appeal to generation Y and drive consumers of all ages to use and prefer vending.

“This plan is a game-changer for the vending industry, and our members have responded with an overwhelming promise of support,” said NAMA Chairman Craig

A. Hesch, NCE5, in a statement. “We presented the plan to the full membership, and a select number of larger members have assured the association they will support the [Industry Growth Strategy] with both financial and human resources. They understand that we must embark on a breakthrough program to ensure that all Americans view vending as a preferred, convenient, value-driven retail option.”  

The Industry Growth Strategy (IGS) is based on new research conducted by NAMA that revealed more than 80 percent of consumers view vending favorably, despite the industry’s increasingly prevalent belief otherwise. In particular, generation Y, who are consumers ages 18 to 27, showed the highest opinion of vending, and thus has been identified as the most receptive target for a consumer-focused initiative promoting vending.

Because of the frequency that generation Y uses debit and credit cards for transactions, NAMA is strongly encouraging operators to adopt cashless payment systems and other new technologies by purchasing new machines or retrofitting older equipment in order to ensure customer satisfaction and increase sales, it says.

In addition to announcing its IGS platform, companies also exhibited products and technology.

Apriva previewed two of its latest Apriva Vend features: the “Vending Machine Alarms” tool provides operators with real-time notifications about machine-related malfunctions or performance issues and allows operators to constantly and remotely monitor machines. It also showcased its “Reporting” feature, which expands the set of detailed financial reports that operators can run on vending machines deployed throughout the network.

Arrow, in cooperation with its system support team of Coinco and InOne, showcased its Remote Data Collection System, The Cashless Reader and Intuitive Management Software. Cashless Reader products give customers more ways to pay and more incentive to spend, the company says.

Cantaloupe Systems featured its wireless monitoring services, such as Seed. A Seed wireless device harvests data from a DEX serial port machine and sends the information wirelessly to the cellular hub, the company says. The hub also is responsible for relaying all the information it receives from machines to Cantaloupe System’s headquarters, which is encrypted and stored in robust SQL database, it says.

Coca-Cola Foodservice and On-Premise promoted The Coca-Cola Interactive Vender (CIV), its video vending machine. CIV is currently being tested by select Coca-Cola customers as the company evaluates future deployment strategies. CIV combines a large-format LCD touch screen with multimedia functioning, including Flash technology, motion graphics, high-definition video messaging, Bluetooth capabilities and click-through promotions. Features of the machine are its three media zones: a customizable display, intended for media placements such as brand commercials; a selection zone where products can be scrolled through and packaging can be selected and “spun” 360-degrees to review product information; and the static advertising window, which also is customizable and interactive.

MEI featured information on its products including the MEI Cashflow Series 2000 VNR Vending Recycler. The Cashflow VNR accepts $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills, and stores either $1 or $5 bills for use as change for future purchases. The product features a high-visibility bezel that indicates to consumers which denominations are accepted using bright, low-powered LEDs, the company says. The high-visibility bezel can be replaced with the MEI 4-in-1 bezel to enable the Cashflow VNR to accept credit, debit and contactless payments.

Omnipure Filter Co. announced its newest product line: the L-Series of filters. Made of highly durable injection-molded polypropylene, the L-Series is constructed from 100 percent National Sanitation Foundation certified materials. Featuring a patented keyed design to ensure product integrity with a simple one-quarter turn, and available with or without auto-shutoff, the L-Series was developed to offer Omnipure’s customers easy change-outs, it says.

PepsiCo launched its Social Vending System, a networked unit that features full touch screen interactive vending technology, enabling consumers to connect with PepsiCo brands right at the point of purchase. Using digital technology, the Social Vending System enables any user to gift a friend by selecting a beverage and entering the recipient’s name, mobile number and a personalized text message. There’s also the option to further personalize the gift with a short video recorded right at the machine. The gift is delivered with a system code and instructions to redeem it at any PepsiCo Social Vending system. When the recipient redeems his or her gift, they’re given the option of either thanking the original sender with a gift of their own or paying it forward and gifting a beverage to someone else.

Sanden Vendo in partnership with CFL International LLC showcased Aquablubox, an ecological 3 and 5 gallon pre-filled bottled water vending machine. The Aquablubox is a new market delivery system for the bulk bottled water industry that provides a strong alternative, if not replacement, to the way consumers currently buy bulk water, the company says. The company also displayed a pouch vendor that flash cools fresh beverages into pouches. It reduces waste from bottles with its pouches and bag-in-box concentrate and uses 80 percent less energy, a company spokesperson said.

Sunny Delight Beverages Co. unveiled its 5.5-ounce Veryfine lineup that meets the School Beverage Guidelines for elementary schools. The lineup is available in Orange, Grape, Cranberry and Apple varieties. BI