High tech vending machines came to Boston on Monday and will continue a tour throughout the US, showing what’s possible and what’s already on the market for consumers that like to grab food and drinks on the go.
Dan Matthews, EVP, National Automatic Merchandising Association:
"When you go out and see some of these machines it’s like an iPhone. They’re all touchscreens, they’re all interactive. The produce will move 3D towards you. You can turn the product so you can see the ingredient label and that’s important to people that they see the ingredient label and they’re just fun."
Matthews said the machines on display are designed to cater to Gen Y or 18-29 year olds the target audience for vending machines. One machine called the Diji-Touch has a 46” Samsung touch LCD screen that lets consumers see the product, its ingredients and nutrition facts. Diji Touch machines take cash, credit cards and soon payments from mobile phones. The company is testing 20 machines in Boston an hopes to expand soon.
Another machine dispensed fresh ground coffee, which a product manager said is rare as the coffee is usually premade and sits in the machine for days.
Called the Gratitude Tour, the event drew a big crowd in Boston’s busy Back Bay neighborhood, especially because the machines were dispensing free products.
But it wasn’t just dispensing that the group focused on, but recycling as well. One recycling machine accepts both aluminum cans and plastic bottles and gives depositors an interactive screen on which to track their refunds.
The vending machine tour continues through mid October and will stop in New York City, Atlanta, Austin, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Madison.