The UK’s Favourite Vending Snacks & Drinks Revealed

The UK’s Favourite Vending Snacks & Drinks Revealed

Published: 31st May 2024

In the UK, we are a nation of snackers, and we have no better access to this than when we are presented with a vending machine helpfully displaying all of our favourite treats in front of us. We love a snack to help get us through the day, whether it is to conquer hunger or boredom, and so it can be difficult to resist when they are all laid out in front of us. So, what is the nation’s favourite snack?

In this article, we take a look at how our tastes are changing and reveal some of the top choices available in today’s vending machines.

Snacking in the UK

Originally, a snack was simply the leftovers from a meal that would help to avoid waste, but these days, there is a massive industry built around our snacking habits. This first became a trend in the late 19th century, but it was not until the middle of the 20th century that the market truly began to grow in the UK, and we now buy 6 billion snacks every year.

This growth has been due to the combination of more packaged convenience foods being produced, alongside the rise of snack vending machines which have given us easier access to the things that we like. As these are positioned at work and in public spaces, there is no need to make a special trip to the shop for the snacks that we crave, and we can enjoy instant access to them instead.

Brands such as Walkers, McVities, Cadbury and McCoy’s now lead the way in the snacking market, and our vending machines are often lined with the products that they have on offer. However, recent trends are showing a shift towards brands like Mars, showing that chocolate bars such as the Twix, Galaxy and Snickers are still amongst the most popular options in 2024.

Popular snacks

No matter what else is on offer, it seems that many of us are chocoholics, with many of the favourite items to be selected from a vending machine still being chocolate bars from the likes of Nestle, Mars and Cadbury. However, it seems that biscuits are also one of the top choices, presumably to accompany a cup of tea at many work desks around the country.

Ice creams have also figured highly in the favourite snack brands, as we can’t resist turning to something cold on a hot day. Crisps are also a popular option; however this tends to be a greater trend with some of the younger generations, who also favour sweets and confectionery.

East Midlands snacking

The type of snacks that we choose can depend on many factors, and one of them is where we live. In the East Midlands, it seems that we favour sweets above all else, with things such as Nestle Randoms proving to be the top seller. These are closely followed by a range of confectionery including flapjacks and chocolate bars. Crisps also maintain a consistent presence, with salt and vinegar and cheese and onion remaining consistently near the top of the list as our preferred flavours.

Healthy snacks

Whilst most charts compiling the favourite snacks of the nation will still be made up of sweet treats and crisps, there is another trend emerging which leans more towards a healthy option. Many of us are now concerned about our health or weight and this can lead to us making some different choices.

Whilst a snack might still be needed to get us through the afternoon, an increasing number of people are now ditching the chocolate and biscuits in favour of low calorie, low sugar options instead. 2023 saw a 39% increase in the sales of healthy snacks compared to the previous year, which shows a quite significant jump.

Healthy snacks can take all sorts of different forms, from protein bars to fresh fruit, nuts, yoghurts, sandwiches or granola, and with many vending machines now designed to accommodate these types of foods, they are easy to grab whilst on the go.

Many vending machines are now offering healthier options, whether it is to provide protein-based snacks at gyms, or to give school children better access to healthy food, and it seems to be proving popular.


Vending machines are also still popular for dispensing drinks, and it seems the battle between Coca-Cola and Pepsi still rages on, as the two remain in the top spots, with Coke seeming to have the advantage. However, many sports drinks and energy drinks are also becoming popular as fuel for work, gym sessions or activities. It should also be remembered that many vending machines offer things such as coffee and soup, which will put them at the top of many lists of favourites.

Vending machines

Outside of supermarkets, vending machines remain one of the most popular methods of snack buying, and this is largely because they have continued to move with the times. Most machines now offer contactless payment to make it easier than ever to purchase what you want, and they are located in almost every public place and workplace across the country.

However, vending machines are also changing to accommodate the food that we want whilst still offering their typical convenience. They are now able to dispense much more varied food types, which means it is easier to get your hands on something healthy and not just rely on sweets and chocolate as your only option.

Some businesses are now also investing in micro markets, which can be laid out like a shop, but all food is dispensed through specially designed vending machines. This means that hot and cold food can be offered on a self-serve basis, making it a quick and convenient alternative to a café or staff canteen.

Vending machines have long been our gateway to a quick snack, and this trend shows no signs of changing. Whilst many of us are now using them to gain access to something nutritious and healthy, it seems our favourite crisps and chocolate still remain our favourites.

Hire your own vending machine!

We offer a wide variety of vending machines, from cold drinks vending machinehot drinksfood & snack vending machines, and also refurbished vending machines. Vending machines can be a great addition to the workplace, offering a variety of snacks for your employees to enjoy throughout the day along with great refreshments.

If you are interested in our vending machine hire service or are looking to purchase your own vending machine, please contact our team today on 01157 845 845 to discuss your requirements.

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