Friday, January 9, 2015

Not Your Grandmother's Vending Machine

Since we are in the business of vending machines, and I am a bit of a geek who likes research, I recently found myself digging into the history of these food dispensing monsters.  I was shocked at some of the early purposes of these machines and felt you might get a kick out of some of the facts I uncovered.  

  • Did you know the earliest known vending machine dispensed holy water in exchange for one coin? It was created by a first-century engineer/mathematician. Today you can find almost anything inside a vending machine. Just to name a few…
    • Gold bars
    • Live crabs
    • Caviar
  • The first vending machine to accept paper bills was invented in 1965 – and with it came the wrinkled dollar dilemma we all know too well. Some modern machines avoid the problem altogether by accepting currencies other than money:
    • Coca-Cola installed a “Hug Me” machine in Singapore that dispensed free beverages when people embraced it.
    • Facebook’s headquarters have machines on site that dispense computer accessories to employees with a simple swipe of their badge.
    • A company in Turkey created machines that feed stray animals in exchange for recyclable bottles! Once a bottle is inserted, food and water are dispensed into pet bowls below.
  • Until recently, vending machine companies were not required to display the nutrition information of products inside their machines, but in December 2014, the FDA finalized a rule requiring those who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to display calorie information. A few other ways vending machine companies are promoting healthier choices include:
    • The “Fit Pick” system, launched in 2005 – stickers are placed in front of products that meet certain health guidelines
    • Electronic or Digital Displays of nutrition information – some machines have screens where nutrition and calorie information is displayed
It’s amazing to think about how far vending technology has come! In creating our machines we decided to ditch the holy water and live crabs, but to include other cool features like these:
  • Our machines accept credit cards – no need to spend time flattening out your crumpled currency.
  • We don’t think nutrition information should be top-secret – there will be a QR code on the outside of our machines that will take you directly to the “Amy’s Choice” page on our website. Here, you can find nutrition info for all our products!
  • We are the first vending machine dedicated to providing 100% gluten-free food and beverages – our products vary from small snacks to complete on-the-go meals!

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