[vendtalk] CHANGE IS GOOD?

Vandervoort's Vending VANDERVOORTS at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jun 17 21:49:53 UTC 2010


Out in West Central Texas, I have a wide assortment of small stops on my
route with varied customer bases.  Overall, I have a small increase in SS
chips and I do carry both universally.  This is more true on the Interstate
rest stop than elsewhere.  I have experienced growth in bottles over cans
except at the rest area.  Bottle sales at the rest stop have not slacked off
but there are some more cans selling than before.  There appears to be a
decided migration to bottles from cans at the other locations (balance of
sales).  This is particularly so because I under price 20 oz bottles versus
all of the convenience stores.  Their can prices have gone up very little
over the years at all locations but 20 oz bottle prices have skyrocketed at
C-stores as Coke drives to sell higher profit items.  Around here, can
prices at Sam's and elsewhere are fairly competitive but 20 oz drinks sales
to locations are highly controlled by Coke and Pepsi.

Other trends for me - 
There has been a little drift towards diet drinks but water sales have not
shifted from historical trends.  Forays into "healthy food" continues to
bring customer complaints about price (but when lowered to cost, they still
did not buy much). The exceptions are baked chips.  I already carried nuts,
crackers, trail mix, and granola bars.  What did sell well was the Otis
Spunkmeyer large chocolate cookie.  Not healthy, but really good tasting.  

The consensus by our state workers appears to be that if they are forced to
eat "healthy" then the state should defray the cost at the vending machine
to lower prices especially against the price of unhealthy food (or just
increase base pay of the employee) and increase the quantity per serving of
the healthy food, or other measures that would make the customer (state
worker) happy.  Where there are no RS-run state cafeterias (and there are
none in this immediate area), most employees bring in food from home or use
Swan's frozen food delivery service since the state provides (to varying
degrees) ranges and microwaves, refrigerators, freezers, cabinets and sinks,
commercial coffee makers, ice machines, and dishwashers in the break rooms.

Packaging & Labeling - To date, the only questions I have fielded by
customers about packaging appears to be related to allergies.  Even today, I
had a person read a number of bags of chips to determine if there was any
possible use of peanuts or peanut oils in the manufacturing process.  I have
NEVER had anyone ask me how many calories are in whatever I sold.  That may
change, but I would think front of the package warnings to those with
allergies would be way more sensible than calorie labeling.  (I have also
never heard of anyone picking up a pack of cigarettes and reading the
warning and then not buying them because of the Surgeon General's warning
label that they may cause harm.)

Hope that informs if not helps -

Mike Vandervoort
Vandervoort's Vending
Abilene, TX

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