When we think about retail formats, likely the most under-appreciated is the vending machine. While online retail sites, such as Amazon, and big-box retailers, such as Wal-Mart, receive a heavy dose of press coverage, vending seems to always be looked at as an also-ran – something that is there but not all that interesting compared to more publicized retail options.
If you view vending machines as just a piece of machinery that you need to smack to get your packaged snack to fall, then take a look at this story from SelfServiceWorld. It reports on innovative forms of vending that sell products not previously offered through that outlet. For example, the story discusses the selling of cupcakes that are freshly baked each day. There is also a vending machine stocked with fresh salads and a vending machine in Australia selling bananas.
Obviously because these products have a short expiration dates, the key to these vending machines is the need to supply inventory on a regular basis. That requirement alone is likely to prevent fresh vending options from appearing in most corporate cafeterias. Despite this limitation, fresh vending is one area of retailing that is poised for growth, so expect to see more products distributed this way.