Blog Posts

The Vending Machine Dilemma for UK Hospitals

Healthy Vending Machines in Hospital Corridor

UK hospitals face quite a dilemma when it comes to their vending machines. On the one hand is the desire to replace current options with more healthy vending machines and the snacks they dispense. On the other hand, it is hard to part with the money existing vending generates. Hospitals in Northern Ireland are the latest example of this dilemma.

While hospitals in England have made a concerted effort to transition the healthy vending machines in recent years, their counterparts in Northern Ireland have not. So you can imagine the shock among healthy eating advocates when the most recent revenue numbers were released.

Vending Generates Big Money

According to the data, Northern Ireland hospitals currently offer 314 vending machines over five separate health trusts. Those machines have generated a total of £2,641,310 in revenues over the last five years. That is a lot of money going into trust coffers.

Just in case you are curious, here is the breakdown for each of the five trusts:

  • Belfast – £1,330,923
  • Northern – £114,000
  • Southern – £154,000
  • South Eastern – £618,854
  • Western – £423,533.

It is understandable that the Northern Ireland trusts would be reluctant to give up their current vending solutions. That kind of money is hard to replace, even if it does come from chocolate, crisps, sugary drinks, etc. However, there is a solution. That solution is found in Nutrivend healthy vending machines.

Healthy Vending Machines Work

We have been in the vending business for more than 20 years. If we can tell you anything about our industry, it is this: healthy vending machines work. They generate just as much revenue as their traditional counterparts, just as long as the right locations are chosen. And in a hospital setting, finding the right locations isn't hard at all.

For the record, hospitals in England have not noticed any significant drop-off in sales since they began replacing their unhealthy vending machines with healthier alternatives. One need only do a quick search of online news to see the actual data. Those hospitals that have already made the transition are finding that people are still buying vending machine snacks just as they always have. The only difference is that those new snacks are healthier.

People Want Choices

One of the things we try to drive home with new clients is that people want choices. Unfortunately, far too many business managers assume that you cannot sell anything other than sugary drinks and high-calorie snacks in vending machines. We know otherwise. We haven't maintained our position as an industry leader by struggling to sell snacks.

Whether you are in charge of running a hospital or you own a local gym or leisure centre, your guests want more choices than just crisps and chocolate. They want healthier choices too. If you give them those choices, they might surprise you with their purchases. Bringing in healthy vending machines has worked for hospitals in England; it can work for your establishment as well.

Sources:

Belfast Telegraph – https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/health/revealed-the-millions-northern-ireland-hospitals-make-selling-junk-food-38116456.html