Published: 19th January 2022
We are all used to seeing vending machines everywhere, from the gym to the station platform and the canteen. They have become a staple part of our lives that allow us to refuel or grab a treat whilst on the go. These machines have always been the most convenient solution for food on the fly but now they are changing to accommodate the new way in which we live our lives.
Believe it or not, the vending machine has been around for much longer than you might think. In fact, the oldest example actually dates back to the first century and was used for dispensing holy water. In the 19th century the idea was revived in order to sell things such as newspapers, postcards and stamps. The first vending machine to move away from stationery came about when Thomas Adams created a way to sell chewing gum in New York subway stations, before chocolate was added to vending machines by a German confectioner.
It wasn’t long before beverages were added to the vending machine options, and the first bottled drinks to be sold in them came from Coca-Cola. After World War II, coffee and sandwich sales soared through these machines and it became clear that anything was now possible. These coin-operated vending machines became much bigger and offered a choice of snacks and drinks to passers-by that have usually been laden with sugar, salt or fat and are avoided by the more health-conscious consumer.
Whilst there will always be a place for chocolate in our lives, we are more aware that the way in which we snack needs to change, and that is why vending machine culture is changing too. Instead of being a spot for fizzy drinks and bags of crisps, they now offer a huge range of options that combine health with the convenience that they have become so famous for.
Refrigerated vending machines make it possible to provide fresh sandwiches, fruit and yoghurts to name just a few things, whilst the hot beverage machine can cater not just for coffee, but also for tea, hot chocolate and even soup. The quality of what is on offer has also improved vastly, with coffee to rival the creations of any barista and completely fresh food that can even be vended in line with its expiry date.
The machines themselves have advanced too, with contactless payment systems and inventory tracking to make re-ordering even easier. They are now found in public spaces and workplaces across the world offering not just the traditional fayre, but also fresh and exciting foods that can please everyone.
The vending machine has come a long way since Hero Alexandria’s creation in the first century, and they now allow everyone to make healthy choices when it comes to their diet no matter where they are or what they are doing. Their levels of convenience simply continue to grow, whilst the things that they are now able to provide become more varied and inclusive.