Fresh Blended Healthy Drinks

Nutri-Vend machine adds a new wrinkle to selling and marketing healthy beverages.

Joanna Cosgrove
Online Editor

Most people are familiar with coffee vending machines—slip some coins into a slot and out pops a cup. Then, after a few seconds of splashing and whirring, there’s a steaming hot cup of Joe (or cappuccino or hot chocolate) ready for sipping. While hot beverage machines aren’t exactly a good fit for the gym and health club crowd, Bessemer City, NC-based thought a cold nutraceutical drink machine might be.
The company’s Nutri-Vend 1000 is capable of dispensing any powder-based nutraceutical drink mix—be it protein, weight loss, low-carbohydrate meal replacement, high carbohydrate meal replacement, recovery or energy supplement—in the form of a chilled beverage. The company guarantees great tasting, healthy nutraceutical and energy drinks delivered cold to the consumer in 30 seconds, all at the touch of a button.

In theory, the machine bears some basic similarities to the hot beverage-type vending machines found in hospitals and cafeterias, however it is marketed as the only nutraceutical vending machine that has a web-based touch screen kiosk. The consumer-friendly kiosk enables consumers to obtain more information about the nutraceutical beverages they are about to consume; it also has the capacity to be configured to take orders for products via the Internet with next day delivery.

The brains behind the machine is company designer Jeffrey Badin, who recognized a need at gyms as well as other outlets for a drink machine that could mix the different protein drinks without having to have a staff member behind the counter to do so. “Many times you go to a supply store and have no way of tasting the different flavors that are offered before you buy the product. With the Nutri-Vend 1000 you can try before you buy the many different products available,” said Lindel Creed, president, Vendweb.Com.

The touch screen came about when the company saw an opportunity to give the owner of the machine or operator of the machine a means to generate advertising revenue. “With the touch screen a location can run ads from local or national partners,” he said. “In other words, the nutraceutical vending machine becomes an electronic advertising vehicle and is the only nutraceutical vending machine that can post advertising (up to 20 advertisers with six-second clips) and provide cross-advertising and cross-selling worldwide.”

The touch screen also provides a great way to showcase details about the products being dispensed by the machine. “Let’s say a new product comes out and a supplier wants to get a promo going on that product right away,” said Mr. Creed. “With the touch screen addition, a location can have that promo up and running in a matter of minutes to all its locations that have a Nutri-Vend 1000 machine. Manufacturers of the different products have said that is a great idea and would be a big benefit in launching new products.”

If consumers like the beverage they purchase, they can also use the touch screen kiosk’s Internet portal to order and ship additional product to the location of their choosing. “We wanted to provide a convenient way for the consumer to try and buy all the great products that are offered thru the Nutri-Vend 1000,” said Mr. Creed. “The Nutri-Vend 1000 can be connected to the internet by way of wireless or wired connection, and the consumer can access a secure website we have set up to take and process orders right from the machine screen.”

There is also a size benefit. In comparison to a traditional beverage dispenser, the Nutri-Vend 1000 has a much smaller footprint space. “The amount of space needed for the product storage is a lot less then bulky cans or bottles,” noted Mr. Creed, who added that a variety of locations could benefit from this type of technology , such as gyms and health clubs, schools and employee break rooms.

Although the cost of the Nutri-Vend 1000 is dependent upon the optional features included in the machine, which can be customized to fit unique needs and budgets, Mr. Creed said the price typically ranges from $8,000 to $10,000. The uniqueness and exposure benefits, however, are priceless.
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