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Popular Snacks and Drinks in vending machines

Healthy vs. Regular? Which do people really want? I was interested in getting to the bottom of this continuous question based on my own experiences at Smart Snacks Vending LLC. I find people talk a good game about wanting healthy snacks, but they must be talking about someone else’s wants and needs. When I look at the actual purchases in the machines, regular snacks and drinks beat out the healthier choice all the time. For the record, I offer healthy snacks, but they don’t sell very often. I try to make sure I have low-sugar and gluten-free choices.


So, what are people buying on a regular basis? The most popular snacks sold at my locations are:

1. Candy: And by candy bars, I mean Snickers bars. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new or existing location; Snickers bars are always a favorite. A close second is Twix Bars. In my locations, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are always up there in sold numbers. A close third is Peanut M&Ms.

2. Chips: This is a bit more complicated. Some locations love Sun Chips. They can’t get enough of them. In other locations, it’s flavored Lay’s Potato Chips like Ruffle’s Cheddar & Sour Cream. I know these aren’t technically chip, but Cheez-it, regular and white cheddar, are always a favorite.

3. Cookies: This is an easy one. Hands down, Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies, are always the favorite. I have a few locations that enjoy the Pillsbury Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies. I can’t forget the Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies. My customers love these on morning and afternoon breaks.

The popular drinks at my locations are:


1. Bottled water: Some locations go thru a couple of cases a week. My customers tell me they always want this choice to offer to their guests.

2. Pop: regular coke cans or bottles do well in my machines. In some machines, it’s the opposite, and Pepsi products do well. People like regular Pepsi and Pepsi Wild Cherry. It’s always best to carry diet drinks. However, by far, Mountain Dew pop is my number-one seller. In some cases, it’s so popular I double up the rows just to make sure I don’t sell out.

3. Energy Drinks: to be honest, this is always a hard one to quantify. It depends on my location. I carry either original or sugar-free monster drinks. But in some locations, this is a terrible choice. Overall, I wouldn’t say this is a popular drink, but necessary. I did have a warehouse for a while that went thru three or four cases of monster drinks a week. It didn’t matter about the flavor. It seemed people just wanted the drink. The moral of the story, one never knows if this is going to be a popular drink at a location.

The popularity of drinks and snacks is universal over all my locations. If a snack is popular at one location, it probably is popular at my other locations. I was speaking to a customer the other day at one of my locations, and she said she would like to see other choices. I said great, what would you like to see? She listed three chips. Two of the three chips I was already carrying. The third chip was a “hot” flavored chip. I have carried these chips in the past, and they didn’t sell very well at my locations. It isn’t a popular chip choice. I really thought she was going to ask for a healthy choice. I asked her what she thought about healthier snacks, and she said no, thank you.

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