2004 Vending Industry Trends

For the 2005 Census, Vending Times combined results from closed-front and glassfront can and bottle vending machines, which vended soft drinks, waters, and juices. Soft drinks held strong as the largest vended cold-drink category for vending machine sales. In 2004, vended cold drink dollar volume increased 7.3% and the number of vending machines also increased.

Closed-front soda vending machines remained in the majority, but glassfront vending machines continued to increased from 7% to 13%. Vending machine operators increasingly chose glassfront machines because they allowed for greater variety and a larger display of eye-catching packages. Package choices also continued to broaden as vending machines were able to accommodate anything from 5.5 fl oz to 1 liter bottles. However, vending machine operators reported that 73% of cold drink sales were generated by twelve ounce cans.

Premium products continued to replace less expensive cold drinks in vending machines. Consumers demanded the premium products which offered promises of enhanced well-being or health status. The relatively new vending machine category of energy drink products also increased 1% in vending machine sales. Vending machine bottled water sales and sports drink sales also increased 1% from 2003 to 2004.

Vended milk made a strong comeback in 2004 due to dietary concerns of sugared beverages sold in schools. Milk was often used as a “filler” item in refrigerated vending machines which are equipped with health timers to monitor shelf-life. However, vending machine manufacturers added health timer capabilities to glassfront vending machines which can now be used to sell a variety of milk products. The total dollar volume of milk increased from $493,000,000 in 2003 to $619,000,000 in 2004.

The percentage of sales for cold drink vending products for 2003 are as follows:

Soft Drinks
Diet Soft Drinks
Bottled Water
Juice and Juice Drinks
Sports Drinks
Ready to Drink Teas
Energy Drinks

Vending machine sales of packaged cold drinks continued their 10-year increase. In 2004, the total dollar volume of packaged cold drink sold in vending machines was $22,391,000,000 compared to $13,643,125,000 in 1994. The total unit volume of vended snacks sold in 2004 was 29,855,000,000 with an average weekly unit volume of 173. The number of vending machines selling packaged cold drinks was 3,256,000.

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