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A Round Pound Lesson: Fitness Nutrition Must Evolve

Fitness Nutrition Vending solutions

October 15th will go down in history as a red-letter day. It was the day that the vaunted round pound coin was taken out of circulation, effectively rendering it useless as legal tender. Now that it is done, vending companies need to learn an important lesson by following some of the same advice offered to the Royal Mint in that we must evolve to keep pace with the times.

The round pound is (or was) a British institution. It was first introduced in 1983 to replace £1 notes as a way to thwart counterfeiters and create a more durable currency that would last longer than paper. The round pound has indeed been more durable than paper notes, but the biggest reason for replacing it with a new pound coin is the fact that it was vulnerable to counterfeiters.

Estimates suggesting that one in every 30 round pound coins passed in the UK was counterfeit forced the government to recognise that continuing with the old coin was not a wise idea. So they came up with a new coin with built-in anti-counterfeiting features they believe will keep criminals at bay for quite a while. In essence, the government allowed the one pound coin to evolve. They even helped it.

Parallels to the Vending Industry

We can observe what has happened with the pound coin and easily see parallels with the vending industry. Fitness nutrition became part of the vending industry a little over 20 years ago with the introduction of things like protein bars and high-energy sports drinks. Vending companies discovered they could stock these products if their machines were located in places where people were most likely to spend. Think gyms and leisure centres.

We have done very well with this model ever since. But times are changing. Gyms and leisure centres continue to be a great resource for placing vending machines with a focus on fitness nutrition, yet industry growth requires expanding the footprint of fitness nutrition as well as the products we stock in our machines.

A good example is found in what are known as 'functional foods'. These are foods that offer customers added benefits over and above their nutritional value. Functional foods are the hottest thing in fitness nutrition right now. They are enjoyed by both athletes and consumers who just want to eat better and get more exercise.

Functional foods are certainly appealing in the leisure centre and gym environment. Their appeal is not limited to those environments, though. Functional foods are also appealing in the workplace. They are appealing in hospitals, cafés, shopping centres, entertainment venues, and on and on.

The round pound served us well for nearly 35 years. But it was time to move on. Likewise, the first generation of fitness nutrition is reaching the end of its shelf life. The vending industry must evolve with new products and larger footprints if we are to fully take advantage of a market ready and willing to embrace that evolution.