Blog - vending machines

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The Smart Butcher

A new vending machine in the U S of A has been released recently, selling, of all things, fresh meat! Being labelled the “smart butcher,” this machine is vending all of your favourite meat products, from rib-eye steak to pork chops! The businessmen trialling the idea, Chase Evans and Rob Harrison, are currently vending out of Lil Mart, Alabama but are confident they will find the perfect location for their machine, likely somewhere rural with little to no access to fresh meat markets.

The Smart Butcher is equipped with cell phone technology to inform Rob Harrison when the machine needs to be restocked, and also when a sale is made. Customers are able to pay with credit or debit card or cash, making the machine versatile and accessable to many people, who are also finding that many of the products vended are cheaper than at their local grocery store!

Egg Vending Machine

German animal rights group NOAH recently set up an ‘egg vending machine‘ in a busy town centre to try and promote awareness of the poor conditions suffered by ‘battery farmed’ chickens. The vending machine contained sixteen live chickens in a compartmentalised version of a typical snack vending machine, with a sticker reading ‘Egg Machine’ affixed across the top in large red letters.

Although the vending machine looks realistic, it doesn’t actually dispense eggs. Instead, the machine dispenses free shopping cart tokens with “CHECK THE EGG” branding. Also printed on the tokens is a quick guide to the country’s egg labelling system. This consists of the numbers 0 to 3 with respective farming methods (0 = organic, 1 = free range, 2 = deep-litter and 3 = cage).

The hope is that this will act as a reminder and handy reference for shoppers when buying eggs, which must all have this number on to show their origin.

NOAH is similar to the UK animal rights group PETA. More information on the group, including pictures and videos of their egg vending machine can be seen on NOAH’s website.

Social Media Vending Machines

Earlier this month, Pepsi revealed a prototype of a ‘social media vending machine’. The social media aspect of the vending machine is a feature which allows customers to send drinks voucher codes to their friends, which can then be redeemed on other similar vending machines.

The vending machine is operated with a touch-screen, which initially presents three options to the user. One of these options is ‘Gift or Redeem a Drink’. Once a drink has been selected, an optional video message can be recorded and sent to a friend’s mobile phone, together with a text message which includes a code that can be entered in to any other ‘Pepsi Social Vending Unit’.

Some social media experts have received the concept well; suggesting that it has been long overdue. However, others have voiced concerns over privacy issues.

The vending machine also provides nutritional information for the products, which should help to support the USA’s campaign to improve dietary habits.

Whether or not this particular vending machine will take off is yet to be seen, but it may be a glimpse of the vending machines of the future. It is certainly not likely to be the final attempt at integrating the phenomenon of social media to increase vending machine sales.

For those who are interested, there is a YouTube video of the social media vending machine’s interface in action.

New Vending Machine Regulation: Taiwan

Many vending machines in Taiwan will now be subject to a new law following recent regulation changes made by the government. The new regulation comes in to affect this month and states that all public drinks vending machines in Taiwan will now be required to have a recycle-bin situated within 50m of the machine.

As explained by an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) executive, the new regulation has been implemented in order to close a loophole in their current waste recycling policies. Shopping centres and other shops are already obliged to recycle waste containers and batteries – now there will also be a requirement throughout the country for vending machines and beverage shops to provide recycle bins for customers.

It is reported that vending machine operators who do not comply with the new rule can be fined between $60,000 and $300,000 (Taiwan Dollars). At the time of writing, this works out to approximately &163;1,200 – &163;6,200 (UK Sterling), $2,000 – $10,100 (US Dollars) or €l1,450 – €l7,300 (Euros).

Crab Vending Machines: Part 2

In our last post, we spoke about the recently reported live crab vending machines in China. Now another crab vending machine has been brought to our attention; this vending machine is from – you guessed it – Japan.

A video of this vending machine can be seen at the following link:

Crab Vending Machine in Japan

This crab vending machine seems to have been around for a while; and based on the age of the video, predates the crab vending machine in China.

This Japanese vending machine could certainly be considered a little more sinister than the retail service provided by the crab vending machines in China, as it has been incorporated in to a popular arcade claw vending machine game. For those who missed the previous article, the crab vending machine in China was refrigerated to a temperature low enough to send the crabs in to a state of hibernation.

Anyone who has been to a seaside town or games arcade is likely to be familiar with these ‘claw’ vending machine games – for those who aren’t, the aim is to position a mechanical claw above a prize and try to pick it up, and then have it survive the journey back to the collection area.

This vending machine seems to operate under the same principal, the only difference being that live crabs are the prize instead of a nice cuddly toy. It even features retro Mario style music to really help get you in crab hunting mode.

Still… Can’t see these vending machines catching on in the UK anytime soon.

Wine Vending Machines en France

The French are well known for their love of wine. Back in 2008, wine enthusiast Astrid Terzian developed the idea of wine vending machines (or ‘distributeurs automatiques de vin’) for use in French supermarkets. The vending machines store a large quantity of wine (up to 1000 litres), which can be dispensed – or pumped – in to containers supplied by the consumer.

The motivations behind the concept are both environmental and economical. By removing the need for individually packaged bottles, wine can be transported more efficiently and cost-effectively. This of course helps to bring costs down – and combined with the fact that consumers use their own packaging; the carbon footprint which results from traditional wine distribution processes is significantly reduced. The savings are passed on to the consumer too, with a litre of wine said to cost as little as around 1.5 Euros.

While some connoisseurs may turn their noses up at the idea of DIY wine storage, it doesn’t appear as if it will see the end of the concept. Apparently there are eight supermarkets in France which have adopted the vending machines so far, and there are rumours the machines will hit the USA in the next year. Others have reported the existence of these vending machines in Quebec, Canada for some time too.

This method differs somewhat to the wine vending machines recently incorporated in Pennsylvania (see our blog post on this: Wine Vending Machines) which dispense full bottles, but in a way which complies with the strict laws governing the sale of alcohol in the heavily controlled state. It is unclear how (or if) the French style wine vending machines attempt to restrict the sale of alcohol to underage users.

PPE Vending Machines

Check out the latest addition to our website – PPE vending machines.

PPE or Personal Protective Equipment is something many companies deal with on a daily basis. It is essential equipment for many to help ensure the health and safety of employees.

There are a number of regulations governing PPE access and availability within companies, so it is an area which cannot be overlooked.

Monitoring and tracking stock of equipment can be a nightmare for the employer. This is often due to poorly managed processes taking up valuable time and resources, which can also lead to loss of equipment. Inevitably this leads to new stock purchase and higher outgoings.

We at Intelligent Vending Ltd have been providing PPE vending machines and engineering component vending machines to the industry for some time; however we have now added this new page to our website to showcase our services.

Our PPE vending machines are extremely comprehensive in their feature set. They can be integrated with almost any existing card system, offer full telemetry and audit systems, and are even compatible with contactless biometric systems.

PPE vending is a fantastic solution to the problem of mismanaged equipment as it requires minimal staff input and provides a solid system for PPE control. Also, providing such easy access to personal protective equipment to staff is a great way to demonstrate compliance with health and safety regulations.

To read more about our PPE vending machines, please visit the following link:

PPE Vending Machines – Intelligent Vending Ltd

Cigarette Vending Machine Ban Cancer Research UK Survey

Results from a recent survey commissioned by Cancer Research UK suggest around three quarters of the public support the ban on cigarette vending machines and the removal of tobacco displays from shops. The vending machine ban is due to be implemented in October 2011, while the removal of tobacco displays is set for total implementation by the end of 2013. However, both campaigns still rely on the government to commit to the regulations which are already in place.

The survey was conducted online and sampled more than 1100 adults, 73% of which favoured the ban on cigarette vending machines, and 77% were for the removal of tobacco displays from retail outlets.

A June 2009 survey found 76% backed the vending machine ban – which is actually 3% higher than the latest survey – while 70% approved of removing tobacco displays from shops. Compared with the latest survey results, this shows that popularity for removing tobacco displays from shops has increased by 7%.

It is thought the motivation behind this survey is to keep the pressure on the government to see the plans through.

Though, some are not entirely convinced by the results, suggesting that surveys from Cancer Research UK are slanted and that the results are inconsistent with the opinions of many people they ask.

Perpetual Vending

The owner of a convenience store in Kentucky recently disconnected the power from a vending machine, only to find it “come back to life”.

While cleaning the store one evening, the owner Aaron Fowell, was shocked when the soft drinks vending machine continued to operate after it was unplugged.

“I needed to clean the area around the vending machine, which meant pushing it away from the wall. I unplugged it and moved it out so I could get behind it. I didn’t see the front [of the machine] until I was done cleaning – about 20 minutes later! I couldn’t understand it – I checked over and over again – there was definitely no power, yet the lights were all on … it even still functioned properly!”

More than a week later, the vending machine is still running – free of cords or any direct power source. The vending machine is a common model which can be found all over the world (and has been confirmed to be without batteries).

There are numerous theories being offered to explain the strange-goings-on; some of the more exotic ideas include supernatural beings, alien intervention and even the reincarnation of a previous shop owner.

However, the hypothesis with the most substance according to many scientists is that rogue waves of electricity from a nearby power station are affecting an unshielded circuit board within the machine which is allowing it to ‘absorb power from the air’.

Whether this is an act of God, or a mere scientific phenomenon – perhaps it holds the key to solving climate change. We always knew vending would change the world!

Top Quality Vending

Vending machines are fantastic products. Not only are they great for a business as they generate extra revenue, but they are also great from a customer’s perspective as they are convenient and easy to use.

There is a much wider range of goods available from vending machines today, than ever before. Not only are the products more diverse, there is a dramatic increase in vending machines stocked with higher quality items. A good vending company will advise on product choice and supplier and will guide you in the right direction for building your own vending machine success.

Industry experts know just how important it is for our customers to have flexibility in their vending and we aim to assist them in this wherever possible. Many of our customers have strong beliefs or preferences and these can be met in many different ways.

For example, many fair trade suppliers are now offering food and drink products for vending machines. Stocking fair trade products not only benefits the owner of the vending machine, but also the customers, as they are giving back a little from something which they would be purchasing anyway.

Many different types of products are now being stocked in vending machines, as the vending industry steers away from just offering food and drink. While this can be a great way to innovate and generate more profit, it is vitally important to ensure you research and comply with any health & safety or licensing requirements which may be applicable to the products, prior to making them available for sale from your vending machines.

At Intelligent Vending Ltd we have an expert team of customer service advisors to help you with all your vending needs, so no matter how weird or unusual your choice of product, there is a vending option for you.

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