Interview with Wim Verhoeven from Vendolution and Lisa Zapf from Zalat-o-mat
‘Colour is essential when selling healthy snacks in vending machines’
Vending machines selling healthy snacks are an increasingly common sight, not only in farm shops but also in hospitals, canteens and at railway stations. In the growing market of snack vegetables, vending machines offer consumers healthy and convenient options round the clock. During Fruit Logistica (5-7 April 2022), Rijk Zwaan presented a colourful palette of snack vegetables in a vending machine at its Retail Center in Berlin. Colour is essential, according to Wim Verhoeven from Vendolution and Lisa Zapf from Zalat-o-mat.
Lisa Zapf’s family owns the crop production company called Zapf Fresh Vegetables in the town of Kandel, which is in Germany’s Palatinate region. “The crops we grow include corn salad, rocket, babyleaf, beetroot, tomatoes and snack peppers. I became responsible for sales in 2016, but I soon realised that the wholesale market wasn’t for me. So I bought my first three vending machines in order to sell our products locally,” says Zapf.
She has consistently built on that success and her company called Zalat-o-mat – which she runs together with her partner – now has 13 vending machines allowing customers to purchase fresh, locally grown produce. Through Stüwer, they also sell their vending machines, known as Regiomats, to other growers and provide advice on how to get the best out of them. “It’s easy to adjust the compartments. That’s very important for our seasonal vegetables because they come in various shapes and sizes, of course.”
Fresh and healthy food, 24/7
Vending machines are equally popular in the Netherlands, according to Wim Verhoeven from Vendolution, who is the Dutch representative of Spanish vending machine supplier Jofemar. “Besides selling them to growers, we also supply them to hospitals, company canteens and ‘on the go’ locations. There’s strong growth in the market for healthy products. Companies want their employees to have access to healthy salads, smoothies and complete meals, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.”
Contrasting colours play a key role
The visitors to the Rijk Zwaan Retail Center during Fruit Logistica saw for themselves just how important colour is when it comes to stimulating sales of fresh products in vending machines. Verhoeven: “The vending machine is a miniature shop window. Consumers buy with their eyes. Colourful products make their mouths water. The American company called Farmer’s Fridge capitalises on that by using vending machines to sell colourful and healthy salads in tubs.” Zapf agrees that colour is extremely valuable. “It’s very important to have contrasting colours in the vending machine. There must always be an attractive, colourful and varied display of vegetables. And our customers appreciate the fact that we always enable them to achieve that, especially in the summer.”
They both expect the demand for vending machines to continue to increase throughout the entire fresh produce value chain. Verhoeven: “This concept responds to the consumer trend towards healthy eating, and it’s also a good fit with the convenience trend. I’m optimistic about the future.”
About Rijk Zwaan’s Colourful Life Theme
To stimulate retailers, traders and other chain partners all over the world to add more colour in the fresh produce category, vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan showcased its colourful palette of bright, healthy and inspiring (snack) vegetable varieties at Fruit Logistica from 5-7 April in Berlin (Week 14) and continues to welcome visitors to its Retail Center in Berlin.