LONDON, United Kingdom — Mother, the UK-based vending machine company packing healthy and convenient products, plans to transform convenience food and drink options across education, healthcare and transport, following a £3 million investment from Montreux Capital Management.
Founded in 2014, Mother vending machines feature a large touchscreen display, detailing the nutritional information and allergens of each product, which can be filtered according to dietary requirements.
The startup claims use of its machines has resulted in a 4.5 fold increase in customer engagement compared with traditional vending and a 22% increase in employee productivity due to smarter snacking.
Today it stocks 84 healthy brands and can be found in over 68 locations across London, including the offices of Amazon, Apple, ASOS, Barclays, Virgin Active, Bauer, BP, BT Sport and Zoopla.
Having previously focused predominantly on fitness and corporate sectors, Mother plans to use its new injection of investment to increase the availability of healthy convenience options in new sectors on a national scale.
Following a recent vending machine trial by Leeds Hospital Teaching Trust, Mother believes the UK healthcare sector is one area that presents a huge opportunity for overhaul.
The trial – which promoted healthier snack options and saw a 38% decrease in the purchase of high calorie and high sugar drinks but increased sales overall – prompted Public Health England to recommend machine retailers replicate this approach.
Now Mother hopes it can impact the hospital sector in the same way it has for its existing corporate clients.
“The vending industry is archaic and in desperate need of innovation. Not just the machines and technology used to operate them, but the products they sell, especially when it comes to food and drink. Mother is changing this and solving a genuine problem in the world today,” Phil Davison, Founder of Mother revealed.
“Our mission is to help the busy eat better by offering customers a convenient way of accessing great tasting, nutritionally balanced snacks, drinks and fresh food whilst on the go. With this new investment and Montreux’s support, we can move forward with plans to grow the team, raise brand awareness and build more machines, making Mother vending accessible to all,” he added.
Adding to his sentiments, Oliver Harris, CEO at Montreux explained: “We look for alternative investments in disruptive companies that have the potential to change the way things are done and revolutionise industries.
“Mother is doing this within the vending space and it is fantastic to help bring innovative new products and technology to market.”
RISE OF THE (VENDING) MACHINE
Sitting alongside a wave of healthy vending solutions, including Healthy Nibbles and The Healthy Vending Company, Mother is catering for customers seeking convenience but unwilling to sacrifice on food quality or their health goals.
The movement aligns with trends identified last year both in Welltodo’s 2019 Consumer Wellness Trends Report, which highlighted the rise of ‘healthy convenience’ and by market research specialist Mintel, which predicted a rise in on-the-go consumers shopping for grab-and-go solutions to fit fast-paced, time-crunched lifestyles.
“We predict the rising segment of consumers who are often on-the-go, yet want to spend more time at home, will increase demand for upscale, ‘speed scratch’ solutions and restaurant-quality, ready-to-consume products,” said Jenny Zegler, associate director, Mintel food and drink.
“As meal kits and foodservice-inspired beverages lead the way, there will also be more opportunities for brands to develop healthy, flavourful, customisable and quick premium convenience products.”
However, the growing investment in vending machine technology hasn’t been limited to the healthy food variety. Across the Atlantic, USA Today reports that there has been a recent surge in airport vending machines stocking grab-and-go items for time-pressed travellers, including shaving kits, painkillers and puffer jackets.
While four new Sprinkles Cupcake machines at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas have sold 6,000 cupcakes a month since they were introduced earlier this year.
Meanwhile, innovation across the “intelligent vending machine” sector, including cash-and card-less payments and facial recognition technology to improve security, is fuelling a sector estimated to be worth $11 billion by 2025, according to a new report.
With the market experiencing high growth across the board, Mother is in a strong position to leverage that momentum and help redefine the vending experience as we know it.