CAMA’s Perspective on the World of Vending

CAMA’s Perspective on the World of Vending

Originally Posted at: Host Millano

These are remarkable times for the sector, says the Canadian association, a well-established partner of HostMilano that will be at the October edition.

Vending is emerging stronger from the difficult period caused by the pandemic, lockdown and the shift to working from home. As Jim Jackson, president of the vending and coffee division of CAMA, the Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association, a well-established partner of HostMilano, explains.

“2022 can be documented as the official start-up date of business recovery for operators and suppliers in the Canadian Vending – Coffee & Micro Market industry, with a significant upswing in people getting back to a normal pre-Covid routine. Our industry has experienced challenges in recovery as well, such as labour shortages, supply chain shortages and unprecedented increases in our cost of goods. But in saying that, the outlook for a full recovery and new opportunities within our industry looks very positive.”

What trends and foodservice formats do you think will be most successful in the coming years?

I believe the driving force for growth and opportunity lies in the unattended retail and coffee segment of our industry. There will always be a steady demand and need for vending services and this segment will remain strong and stable, but Micro Markets and Coffee will lead the way for new opportunities and growth. With today’s shortage of talented employees, employers have become more focused on creating a culture within the workplace that will both attract and retain employees.

The concept of having an open market in your business with fresh healthy food and an endless selection of snacks and beverages is very appealing. “Coffee Culture” plays a huge role in keeping employees both happy and productive. The trend for upscale coffee programs in the workplace is becoming the new normal. The placement of Bean to Cup machines that offer a multitude of gourmet drink options is experiencing tremendous growth.

The recovery of the vending industry after some tough years, is happening in a world permanently in crisis. What steps need to be taken, in your view?

We all need to acknowledge and accept that our industry was severely affected by the Covid pandemic, and a portion of our previous business will not return in the foreseeable future. A segment of our workplace has adopted a work-from-home attitude and like I said earlier, our industry relies on people being “at work”. Now in saying that, the after-effects of the pandemic have also created new opportunities for growth in specific segments of our industry. With the growth of unattended retail being so popular, vending equipment manufacturers have fought back and developed hybrid equipment options that will offer a wide variety of products similar to a Micro Market in a more controlled and secure environment.

The world of technology is forever changing and manages all aspects of our industry from tracking sales to picking orders. But it still hasn’t figured out how to put the product into the machines without an actual person! Payment options for product purchases continue to expand and improve and now include loyalty reward programs and discounts for frequent purchases.

It is an amazing time in our industry, and I look forward to what the future will bring to the next generation.

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