The State of the Vending Industry in the UK

For over 80 years, the vending industry in the UK has been represented by the Automatic Vending Association (AVA). This not-for-profit organisation is based in High Wycombe, and their fully-elected board has close ties with the European Vending Association, as well as the official bodies of many separate countries.

The AVA routinely conducts a census of its members, which it uses to compile a regular industry overview.

Here’s some facts and figures from the current state of the vending industry in the UK, based on the latest AVA Census:

  • ×          The UK vending industry is directly responsible for over 15,000 jobs
  • ×          Approximately six billion products are vended each year
  • ×          Market turnover is approximately £1.65bn
  • ×          There are currently around 362,700 machines in the UK
  • ×          The ratio of machines to people in the UK is 1:139
  • ×          Every day, an average eight million cups of coffee are vended, along with two million cups of tea

So things appear to be in good health – which isn’t really surprising. We’ve always thought of vending machines as unsung heroes. Millions take them for granted, but they’re always there for you when you need a hot drink or a quick snack.

We’d be interested to see how the productivity of the UK would fare were every machine in the country to suddenly go offline. Would Britain still work if people didn’t still have access to their morning coffee, or their afternoon fix?

Vending machines provide an essential service, which explains the huge annual turnover.

However, that’s not to say that we can become complacent. Perhaps the biggest problem currently facing vending machines is one of reputation. For many, vending machines are synonymous with unhealthy, sugary, calorific snacks. Will vending machines suffer as more and more people strive to live a healthier life?

At The Wise Vending Group, we’re always quick to adapt to current trends. That’s why we offer a range of healthy vending machines and services, so that we can cater for those who want to provide a more nutritious option.

Another challenge facing the vending industry in the UK is one that we’ll all face, sooner or later. Simply put, we must all do our bit to address our carbon emissions, and with nearly half a million machines in the UK, the vending industry’s currently has quite a sizeable carbon footprint.

But at The Wise Vending Group, we have a green vending promise. We are constantly striving to do all we can to ensure that our operations are as ethical and sustainable as possible.

For the UK vending industry, things are currently looking good. However, like all industries, we’ll all have to be prepared to adapt to a changing world if we’re to maintain this excellent performance.