Aluminium tubes in vending machines: why not?

What binds a tube factory that produces deformable aluminium tubes and sustainable packaging solutions to a snack dispenser? 

Easy: a great market opportunity to improve the shopping experience of end consumers! 

The vending machine market was worth USD 2.2 billion in 2019, and will increase by 9.6% from 2020 to 2027. The high demand for ready meals and increased demand for packaged food is giving vending machines a golden moment. 

In the United States, vending machines are not only found on the street or in stations, but there are 5 million vending machines in schools, hospitals and workplaces. This trend is also gaining ground in Europe, you only have to look around to see how many vending machines there are around, not only in passing places, such as stations or airports, but also on street corners, in subways and even in hospitals. 

 The products sold inside the machines represent a single-dose packaging challenge: in fact, agile, light, but at the same time robust, hygienic and, above all, practical packaging is necessary, as the products sold inside the machines represent the food on the go par excellence. But “single-dose” also means more packaging in the waste basket: as a result, sustainability becomes a central issue. 

The link between vending machines and sustainability is a link that has already been gaining ground in Italy for some time. Among the various existing programmes is that of a municipality in Friuli-Venezia Giulia that has installed coffee machines with recycled paper cups and coffee grounds that can be reused in agriculture. Or RiVending, winner of the Confida (Italian Automatic Distribution Association) “Vending Sostenibile” 2019 award, a project that involves the recovery and recycling of cups and pallets supplied by vending machines. 

And it is precisely on this front that ecological packaging such as the aluminium tube can make a difference. What other environmentally friendly packaging par excellence could perfectly match this green project? Aluminium is 100% and infinitely recyclable without losing its original qualities and production from recycled material requires less energy than production from raw material. 

But what could be the advantage of adopting a tube for vending machines

Often automatic vending machines offer combos, precisely because of the concept of providing a “ready meal”: hazelnut cream and breadsticks, croutons and salami, fruit juices and candy bar … But why not a combination of dry biscuits + tube of chocolate? Or toasted slices + jam? Or chips + hot sauce? This last possibility made your mouth water, didn’t it? 😉  

As well as being an eco-sustainable choice, and therefore in line with consumer preferences, it is also practical: the tube is easier to handle, it is easier to dispense the product without getting dirty, if it falls, it does not break and the contents are not scattered everywhere (think about travelling by train or plane). It also offers an excellent barrier to air and light, it is easy to clean and keep clean. And it’s zero waste: if you have any more product, you can easily close it up and put it in your bag or backpack.  

The next step towards a more complete sustainability is to definitively eliminate the use of disposable plastic and replace it, where possible, with aluminium packaging or another type of truly sustainable material. And it is precisely the small everyday choices that make the difference. 

If you are interested in a sustainable packaging strategy in which the aluminium tube can play a key role, please contact us! We will be happy to discuss this with you and present you with a sample of tubes. 

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