Category Archives: Snack Vending Machines

Why Vending Machines Should Be Allowed in Schools

Should vending machines be allowed in schools? This is a question that has faced endless argument over the years. We know that some people support the idea and others don’t. Parents, for example, are concerned that their kids will overindulge in unhealthy feeding habits. Most have the notion that vending machines dispense only high-fats and high-sugars. Well, this is not true if we consider a recent CBS News finding.

According to the finding, the US government through the Department of Agriculture issued a directive that required vending machines to dispense healthy smart snacks over junks. Since the directive was issued, we are seeing vending machines dispensing healthier alternatives like peanuts, popcorns, and fresh fruits. If we can recap the opening question, the answer is yes and here are 10 reasons why:

1. Encourage Healthy Dieting

As indicated earlier on, vending machines of today sell healthier options. In schools, they dispense healthy choices like fruit snacks, cereals, milk, and yogurt. Since most habits are taught in school, it becomes easier for the kids to learn how and why to eat healthy because of the availability of vending machines. Besides, schools with food-dispensing vending machines are obliged to follow the government’s directive on combating childhood obesity and other diet-related conditions.

2. An Option During Lunchtime

For schools where lunch is not offered and students are required to carry food, vending machines can help a lot. Since these machines dispense nutritious and healthy food choices, students will find it smart to carry money for buying food from vending machines instead of carrying packed lunch. What’s more, those who have special diet requirements don’t have to settle for what’s offered by the school during lunchtime. It’s just a matter of buying what they want as long as they can afford it.

3. Easy Access

Accessibility is an important factor for all consumers and not just school-going kids. The consumer wants to access supplies easily without having to walk, cycle, or drive a long distance. This is exactly what vending machines promise when they are readily available in schools. Students can access them conveniently during break time and buy whatever they want if it’s available. They can also buy food supplies to take on their way home.

4. The Staff Can Also Benefit

Vending machines are not just beneficial to students. Both the teaching and non-teaching staff can access them and buy from them. Staff members don’t have to be forced to carry packed lunch or go outside the compound to look for food. Knowing that the options are low-cost, they can even buy some to take home. Schools, therefore, need to make an effort to also cater to the needs of the staff just as much as those of the students. If for example, the staff prefers coffee and tea to soda, then the school management should consider it.

5. An Option for Budget Students and Staff

Vending machines are generally an attractive selling point because they are a budget-option. Consumers buy from them because they promise cheaper supplies. So, their availability in schools is positive news to students. They can buy foods and non-food supplies cheaply. Staff members on a budget can also benefit from vending machines. Since foods are low-cost, the staff can plan on their spending every day.

6. Keeps Students and Staff Around

From an academic standing, it’s not a good habit to see students loaming the streets looking for food. Not only does this waste time but it’s also unsafe for the kids. To ensure that they always stick around, it’s worthwhile to invest in a couple of food-dispensing vending machines. The machines just need to sell food supplies that the students prefer to buy. The staff also gets to stick around the school since they no longer have a reason to go out looking for food.

7. Fuels Classroom Concentration

Students like to eat – that’s a universal truth. So, it’s almost impossible for them to concentrate in class when they crave for food. They prefer to snack during breaks and this can be assured by the availability of food-dispensing vending machines. The fact that they are assured of accessing the vending machines during their break makes them relaxed and extra attentive in class. Normally, it’s the worry of not knowing where to get snacks that makes students less alert in class.

8. A Bridge for Nutritional Gaps

Though it’s every parent’s dream to see their kids eat healthy at all times, they don’t have control over what they eat in school. The kids may need essential vitamins and minerals that they can’t get from the breakfast they take at home or the lunch they serve in school. However, such nutrients can be readily available in an array of healthy foods dispensed by vending machines. The foods come rich in vitamins and proteins and are meant to make up for the nutritional gaps that the kids may be experiencing. You’ll want this for your child as a concerned parent.

9. Not Limited to Food

Vending machines may be popular with selling foods but they can also dispense nonfood choices. In schools, they can dish out supplies like pens, pencils, notepads, and tapes. In this case, students will not be forced to go out of class to look for these supplies as they are available in a vending machine. It’s also worth noting that the vending machine technology has improved so much. We now have vending machines that allow students to sign up for after-school events. Others allow the buying of unusual items like personal computers, bandages, and personal effect items.

10. Revenue for Schools

Lastly, schools normally have an extensive budget that they need to meet. For instance, they have to pay utility bills, add new books, and organize trips. These costs can be partly met by the revenue generated by vending machines. Since students and the staff are encouraged to buy from the machines, there’s always profit streaming in. Even though it may not be much, it can help significantly. Generally, a larger school population calls for more vending machines. In turn, more revenue is generated.

Closing Thought:

There’s no doubt that vending machines are a great investment in schools. Both the students and the staff can benefit from them. Schools administrations can earn profit from them and the government’s advisory on child healthy can also be met. It all boils down to proper supervision and usage.

How Many Vending Machines in Japan

One thing is for sure when you visit Japan; there are vending machines in almost every street you walk. From dispensing simple supplies like basic groceries to weird options like underwear and puppies, there are so many options. There are even vending machines for prayer cards, gifts, and surgical masks. According to a survey by the Japan Vending Machines Association, more than 5 million vending units are spread nationally. This means that there’s a vending machine to serve every 23 individuals.

This is not all. The association argues that at least $60 billion is generated in sales annually by local vending machines. Leading the pack are vending dispensers for fast-moving items like sodas, water, hot foods, candies, and energy drinks. If you observe closely, you’ll notice that vending machines epitomize the Japanese culture. You’ll see print details of the Japanese lifestyle in the design of the vending machines.

Why So Many Vending Machines?

This is an obvious question when you first land in Japan, especially Tokyo. If you compare the streets of Tokyo with places like New York or Dubai, you’ll notice that there are as many vending machines in Tokyo as the tall buildings. This is understandable if you consider these factors:

  1. Scarce Labor

For a long time now, the Japanese birthrate has been on a decline with the aging population on a rise. There’s also the aspect of fewer immigrants moving to the country. This has made labor to be scarce. As a way to compensate for labor scarcity, Japanese investors are opting for vending machines. These machines require low human input and can run 24/7. According to a macroeconomics book, vending machines in Japan are slowly substituting sales clerks.

  1. Dense Population

Japan is almost the same size as the State of California. Her population, however, is astonishing. It’s estimated to be 127 million. This is quite impressive knowing that 75% of the country is mountainous. The rugged landscape has pushed most Japanese to the city where they are densely populated. This has opened up opportunities for vending machine investors since a dense population is almost a guaranteed market.

  1. Extreme Weather

The summer can get unnervingly hot in Japan while the winter can get icy cold. Such extreme temperatures require a quick fix. For example, you need a hot cup of tea or coffee when it’s freezing and a cold soda or water when it’s very hot. Such solutions are readily availed by the numerous vending machines that are found in Japan.

  1. Cheap Maintenance

Most vending machines in Japan are automated. This means that minimal labor is required to inspect and clean them. You don’t have to pay any salary to an employee as the machines are DIY. Additionally, they suffer very minimal breakdowns. Investors are generally happy with the idea of having to give just a few hours of their time and go back home to wait for the machines to make money.

  1. Safe Country

Based on a 2010 UN security report, Japan tops the list as the safest country in the world. The security report shows that very few robbery incidences are recorded in Japan. This has made it easy for vending machines investors to set up the units in different places without worrying that someone will vandalize or steal from them. Unlike the United States, most vending machines in Japan are stand-alone.

  1. Cash-based Economy

Investors like this aspect of vending machines since no one buys on credit. They are guaranteed a stream of cash as long as their vending units are working. The advantage to the consumer is that both coins and Japanese bills are accepted. So, you don’t need a debit card or credit card to buy from vending machines. This makes it easy for someone with as little as 10 yens to make a purchase.

  1. Commuter-friendly

Though Japan is known as a leading automaker, most locals prefer to walk to work, use a bike or catch the train. This is quite common in Tokyo. As a result, the streets are likely to be jammed with commuters. As expected, investors have identified the jammed streets as a selling point. So, they put vending machines along these streets to lure the commuters.

  1. Convenient Buying

If you get hungry or thirsty suddenly in Japan, there’s always a sense of relief as you are assured the next vending machine is a few meters away. The same goes for OTC drugs and personal hygiene items. Buying from this outlet is faster since there are no lines as it’s normally the case with retail stores. This is a great thing for a busy nation like Japan.

  1. Robotics Obsession

Japan is historically obsessed with automata. This is according to a 2007 publication by the Japan Times. Considering that vending machines are robotics, it doesn’t surprise that so many resources have been put into their assembly. They are constantly innovating vending machines that are meant to make to substitute human service in most retail businesses.

  1. Affordability

If you want to buy coffee from a vending machine in the streets, it’ll only cost you 130 yen. If it’s the juice that you want, a 500ml bottle will cost you 160 yen on average. At the airport, where it’s often expensive, you may spend roughly 200 yen on a drink. This is slightly above $2. These prices are way cheaper if compared to buying the same in the United States.

Tips for Buying from a Vending Machine

If you have never used a cash-based vending machine before and you find yourself in Japan, you should arm yourself with these tips:

  • Prepare your cash – As mentioned, you need coins or Japanese bills to make a purchase from vending machines in Japan.
  • Put cash into the vending machine – You need to identify the cash slot and put your money there. The lights of the machine will illuminate to indicate that the transaction is initiated.
  • Select the item you want to buy – Use buttons on the vending machine to pick your item. If you don’t know how to read Japanese characters, just buy a product you are familiar with or one that you can see clearly.
  • Collect your change – Don’t leave until you get the change. It’s your right.

Closing Thought:

Japan is undeniably the world’s leading vending machine nation. With so many vending units spread across the country, you can buy virtually anything found in a retail store or a restaurant. The vending machine technology is increasingly becoming advanced. So, we should expect more vending machine innovations in the future in Japan.

10 Ways Snacks Can Boost Your Mood

You probably have heard that regular snacking is not good for you as it’s associated with issues like obesity, weight gain, and hypertension. However, this perception is not entirely true. It’s in fact directed to unhealthy snacking. Healthy snacks like berries and apples are actually beneficial. Remember, your brain is constantly working and thus it requires enough fuel always. The source can be healthy snacks. Additionally, healthy snacks contain high-quality vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that you need to stay active.

Now, there are strong suggestions that snacks could actually boost your mood. Wondering how? Healthy snacks, especially whole fruits, are known to naturally improve serotonin levels. Serotonin is a potent neurotransmitter that’s responsible for calming your nerves and relaxing you. It’s what makes you cheerful. In the end, your self-confidence and social prowess improve. So as you can have a better understanding of how healthy snacking makes your mood better, here are 10 considerations:

  1. Mental Energy

It’s worth noting that the primary reason for snacking is to get extra mental energy. By taking snacks rich in amino acids, you are able to boost your brain power tremendously. What this means is that your brain doesn’t suffer from mental exhaustion easily. Mental exhaustion is what stresses your brain and makes you moody. So, you could save yourself a lot of stress if you take enough healthy snacks. You just have to ensure that you avoid high calories. Your target should by high-proteins

  1. Stable Blood Glucose

When you don’t take enough food, your blood sugar drops, a condition we call hypoglycemia. The problem with hypoglycemia is that it messes up your mood. However, it can be fixed by snacking. Recent research by the University of Illinois suggests that regular snacking maintains your blood glucose. It protects you from becoming too irritated and unreasonable. These issues are related to irregular blood sugar level.

Instead of resorting to junks when your blood glucose drops, you should take some healthy snacks. The advantage is that you don’t have to take too much of it but just enough. This will help to effortlessly normalize your blood sugar levels. Since your body will have enough fuel, then your mood will definitely stabilize. You’ll become more energized both physically and mentally.

  1. Brain Hydration

Your brain needs enough fluid to stay active. If it’s not hydrated sufficiently, then it becomes hard to concentrate. You become too jumpy and your mood changes. For a quick fix, you need healthy snacks like berries and watermelons. They are known to hydrate your body quickly. The biggest beneficiary happens to be the brain. In addition to fruit snacks, you can also take healthy smoothies and herbal tea. However, you need to make sure you don’t take excess caffeine.

  1. Appetite Control

It’s generally possible to have mood swings when you don’t have control over your appetite. If your appetite is high, you need to find a way to hold yourself from going for junk foods. Taking healthy snacks, apparently, is one of them. It’ll help to manage your appetite and to stabilize your mood in the long run.

  1. Excitement Trigger

Snacks generally put you in a happy mood. You become so excited when you know it’s snacking time. The moment you are excited, your mood improves. Scientifically, snacking gives your brain powerful nutrients that it needs to have improved serotonin levels. As you already know, improved serotonin means a better mood. You also have to remember that your brain needs fuel to go through a long and tireless day. Luckily, the fuel can be injected through regular healthy snacking.

  1. Body Calmness

Healthy snacks like strawberries enhance endorphin levels. Endorphins are special neurotransmitters which help to calm your body against physical pain and anxiety. This is important since you are likely to become moody when you are you are in pain or when anxious. You can avoid the setback by taking healthy snacks.

  1. Self-Love

You may not be aware but healthy snacks like bananas and nuts may help you fall in love with yourself. This is crucial for enjoying a better mood. The snacks are known to boost oxytocin levels. This hormone is known to stimulate social connections and to make you happy. So, whenever you are feeling sad, just take some oxytocin-boosting snacks.

  1. Gut-Mood Relationship

Are you aware that your gut health dictates your emotional wellbeing? Actually, if your gut is uncomfortable, so will your brain. Likewise, if you are stressed by something else, your gut will feel the effect. As a result, it can either slow down digestive functions or speed them up. To ensure that your digestion is normal, you need enough fiber and fluid. Fortunately, you can get them from healthy snacks. So, snacks will give your gut what it needs to stay relaxed. In the end, your brain relaxes too.

  1. Enhanced Concentration

A lot of times, you become moody because your brain cannot concentrate on a specific matter. Nonetheless, taking snacks that are healthy between your meals ensures that you are able to maintain focus. In this case, you can go through the mid-morning and the afternoon without becoming mentally disturbed. This is quite important when you are either working or studying. Some of the options to consider for enhanced concentration are leafy greens, whole fruits, and popcorns.

  1. Counters Depression

According to a 2017 review, researchers argue that healthy snacking may help reduce depression symptoms. As you know, your mood is negatively affected when you are depressed. The researchers found that healthy fruit snacks contain probiotics, beneficial bacteria. The bacteria are important for your digestive health.

Another study in the same year shows that taking green snacks like spinach and kales counters depression. The study indicates that leafy greens contain folate which improves the metabolism of neurotransmitters noradrenaline and serotonin. These two are known to enhance your mood and general mental wellbeing.

Benefits of Office Vending Machines

Today, a vending machine is not just a luxury at the workplace but actually a necessity. So, if you don’t have one in your business, then you are missing a lot. For starters, these machines can dispense different foods and drinks and not just candies. This means that your workers can grab a cup of hot cocoa or some cereals conveniently. This is not all.

The technology has advanced so much that vending machines of today can accept card payments. Therefore, change challenges are eliminated as it used to be the case of coin-operated vending machines. These machines are automated to follow the instruction of the customers. They are able to dispense what the customer wants to buy.

Moreover, the machines are quite mobile. This means you can change their positioning from time to time depending on where the market is concentrated. Though they may face issues like fraud and vandalism, vending machines are known to bring about so many benefits at the workplace. Here are the top 10:

To the Staff

  1. Accessibility

Vending machines are usually stationed in peculiar places to be easily accessible by the staff. During office breaks, employees can walk to the machines to buy whatever they want. To them, the machines provide them with a close solution as they don’t have to go out to look for foods and drinks.

  1. Reliability

The problem with most restaurants and supermarkets is that they are not predictable. One day they are opened and the next day they are not. As for restaurants, you may not get your favorite dish if you go during lunchtime as sometimes customers exceed the orders prepared. Vending machines, conversely, are very reliable. You’ll always get your preferred food or drink as long as it’s normally there.

  1. Product Variety

These days, vending machines are not just restricted to selling sodas and coffee. They can sell almost anything. From hot chocolate to cereals, employees can buy them all. This is actually one of the reasons why employees become motivated at work. Everyone wants the freedom to choose what to eat and drink.

  1. Cost-Effectiveness

If you have in-house vending machines, it makes sense to subsidize the cost of items so as to encourage your employees to buy from you. To employees on a budget, this is a cost-effective approach since they’ll be able to save. You’ll be surprised to find some employees buying food and drinks for taking home in the spirit of saving.

  1. Staff Camaraderie

The staff likes to make friends. They want to interact during their break and share a few things. Vending machines provide them with just the perfect camaraderie opportunity. They are able to crack jokes and forget about work stress if any. You too can have the opportunity with some of them during office breaks when you go to the vending machines to grab something to eat or drink.

To the Employer

  1. Work Morale

It’s widely known that happier employees are productive. So, you have to do everything possible to lift their work morale. One incredible way to do it is by stationing vending machines within the business area. Since they’ll have the freedom to buy whatever they want and are able to get them at subsidized prices, they’ll feel satisfied working for you. In the end, work productivity will improve considerably.

  1. Time-Saving

Generally, it’s time-consuming to go out to look for food during working days. As the employer, this is counterproductive since time is money. Investing in vending machines ensures that these employees don’t go out often. This is because they are able to get (in-house) foods and drinks that they would get outside the business premise. This is not all. They are able to buy them cheaply. This is a reason enough to keep them onsite. In the end, office hours are significantly saved.

  1. Corporate Wellness

Though vending machines of the old days were known to only dispense sugary and unhealthy snacks, what we call junks, the narrative has changed. Today, you can have your office vending machines selling everything that you can think of. This is meant to encourage corporate wellness. Employees will not be forced to look for healthier foods somewhere else since they’ll be available in-house.

  1. Customize Selections

When you approach a vending machine company, you can ask them to make you vending machines that meet your needs. For most business owners, customization means dispensing a variety of products. For others, it means the freedom to serve hot cocoa or coffee. For a few, it means to only accept card payments. Whatever customization means to you, it’s possible with vending machines.

  1. Extra Money

From an entrepreneurial standing, vending machines at the workplace are an extra way to inject money into the business. Since employees and visiting customers will be paying cash, you don’t have to worry about selling on credit. Though you may not get so much if vending machines are not the focal point of your business, what you get is enough to meet a few business expenses. Besides, your employees will be returning a fraction of their salary to you when they buy from the vending machines.

  1. Few Overheads

Unlike most mobile businesses, vending machines have close to zero overheads. For example, you don’t have to incur salary expenses as you can manage the vending machines yourself. All you have to do is restock the machines and come regularly to pick money collected. So, you don’t have to hire someone for this job. Additionally, there are zero advertising costs since the machines self-advertise.

  1. Cash Flow

The moment your vending machines start running and the first customer makes the first payment, cash will start to flow. Provided that the machines are placed in the right places and are running, there’ll always be money coming in. The advantage is that there are no collection issues. Unlike bank transactions, there are no bad checks with vending machines. Similarly, there are no fake currencies when it comes to vending machines. They are programmed to notice this. Thus, you are guaranteed genuine money in the long run.

Closing Thought: Are Vending Machines Worth Investing in?

Clearly, both the employer and the workforce benefit from vending machines at the workplace. So, yes they are worth investing in. They make things easy for both the workers and the employees and in the end, the business as a whole gets to improve. In case you had doubts about this investment, it’s time the doubt vanishes as you join the world of vending machines. Chances are that you won’t regret it.

What Did the First Vending Machines in the US Dispense?

Call it an evolution or simply advanced technology, vending machines are a trend. We’ve seen vending machines that dispense weird things like crabs and lobsters. We’ve also seen unique options that dispense automobiles, gold, and other valuables. And we can’t forget vending machines that prepare and dispense pizza and fries. So, what’s next? Actually, nobody really knows. We just have to wait and see. Luckily, a majority of these vending machines are found in the US. So, the next inventions will probably be in the ‘Land of the Freed’.

But, are you aware of the item that the first vending machine dispensed? Just for your information; the first-ever vending machine was invented outside the US. It was actually in Ancient Greek at around 215 BC and the man behind the creation was Greek Scholar Hero of Alexandria. This vending machine was designed to dispense holy water in the ancient temples. Since then, different nations have been borrowing the concept. Among the top beneficiaries is the US and it was in 1888 that we saw the first local creation. To help you understand this journey, here’s a breakdown of the items dispensed in their chronological order.

Gum – 1888

As mentioned, 1888 is the year that we saw the first vending machine in the United States. It was launched by Thomas Adams Gum Company in New York City to assist the company to vend tutti-frutti gum. A number of these dispensers were installed along the subway and the streets to target commuters.

Classic Foods – 1902

1902 is a historic year in Philadelphia. It’s the year that the first-ever coin-operated automat restaurant was launched. Going by the name Horn & Hardart, the automat restaurant was in operation till 1962. Though no one really knows why it had to close down, the impact of the restaurant is not something to be easily forgotten in Philadelphian history.

The joint was critical during the wartime as it enabled the locals to grab their favorite classic foods fast. All they needed to do is to insert nickel coins and wait for their orders to be served. So, the waiting staff was not necessary. Similar restaurants were opened by the same company in New York during the same period.

Coated Gumballs – 1907

After the invention of the tutti-frutti gum machines in 1888, so many other companies saw the need to improve this innovation. One of them was Pulver Manufacturing Company. The company saw it necessary to add attractive touches to the original gum vending machines. So, they opted to dispense round and coated gumballs. In addition, they added games to the machines.

Because of the additional touches that were really attractive to passers-by, these machines were nicknamed ‘trade stimulators’. Whenever a buyer would buy gumballs from the machine, the machine would move around in an attractive fashion. The innovation started in 1897 but it was only commercialized in 1907.

Soda – 1920

The soda vending machines are probably the most popular commercial dispensers in the US. Though such inventions existed before 1920, it was until this historic year that the machines were fully automated. So, in the eyes of America, actual soda vending machines were invented in 1926. The machine would dispense the beverage into cups.

By the time it got to the 50s, there were more classic dispensers for soda bottles. As a matter of fact, these vending machines would sell mostly Pepsi and Coca Cola drinks. A majority of the machines were a product of Vendorlator Manufacturing Company, a California-based company.

Cigarette – 1926

The 1920s saw many innovations of the vending machine hit the US market. Considering that cigarettes are a popular consumable, William Lowe saw the need to automatically sell them. So, he created the first-ever cigarette vending machine in the US. Nonetheless, the technology didn’t receive the intended market reception.

Its popularity has diminished over the years. This is because of increased worries of underage buyers. Unlike in Europe and Asia, there are no proper age verifications procedures in the US for the buyers. In these two continents, buyers are required to produce an ID, a driving license or any other form of identification.

Coffee – 1946

In the 1940s, Vendorlator Manufacturing Company was taking the American food market by storm. They went from soda dispensers to coffee vending machines. They saw an opportunity to help coffee vendors sell their products more conveniently while saving on labor. This gave birth to the idea of having coffee breaks in workplaces.

Sandwich – 1950

To complement coffee vending machines, Vendorlator Manufacturing Company created the first sandwich dispensers. The machines became so popular in the 50s for people who wanted to have sandwiches on the go.

Life Insurance – 1950s

The American airports saw the need to cover passengers against flight crash risks. So, they introduced life insurance dispensing machines in airports. The insurances were to protect the family of the policyholder in the event that the plane crashed and resulted in death. Unfortunately, these machines barely survived two decades.

Snacks – 1972

In 1972, Polyvend saw the need to sell snacks in an attractive manner. So, they came up with the first-ever glass-front dispensers. This was to target consumers with cravings. The customers would find the dispensed snacks irresistible after seeing them through the glass fronts.

2006 – The Year of Credit Card Scanners

In 2006, the vending machine technology took an enormous jump in the US. Within a decade, almost all vending machines in America would accept credit cards. These vending machines were associated with specialty merchandises like electronics, snacks, beverages, books, oral contraceptives, life insurance, and OTC drugs.

Basically, there’s a specialty dispenser for almost everything that you can buy from a physical or online store. But still, you should expect weirder and more unique vending machines to grace the American market.

Closing Thought:

Looking at the path that vending machines have taken over the last century, it’s has been a long one. What’s amazing though is the fact that you can’t tell what will be dispensed in the next few years. The technology is getting impressive by the day and so the options are genuinely limitless. Judging by the progress so far, it’s quite likely that we’ll see some unexpected items being dispensed in the next decade.