Trish Caddy
Trish Caddy is a Senior Foodservice Analyst, writing reports about the UK’s eating out market. She previously worked as a restaurant cook in London.

Eating out is becoming increasingly convenient with the help of vending machines and food dispensers that are blurring the boundaries between supermarkets and eating out establishments. Here are three stand-out machines from the Lunch! and The Restaurant Show trade events – that are paving the way for healthy convenience.

1.New Covent Garden Soup Co

The New Covent Garden Soup Server is a soup dispensing system that operates by touchscreen and includes automatic portion control, a self-cleaning function, monitoring and reporting services. It can hold a 12 litre New Covent Garden soup pouch (48 x 250 ml portions) for up to 12 hours.

Indeed there is potential for more operators to cultivate consumer comfort with warming feel good foods, as the majority of consumers choose hot foods for lunch, especially city dwellers. The soup server delivers a range of five New Covent Garden Soup Co’s hot soups using a cold blend process with a long shelf life, free-from artificial ingredients, flavours or preservatives.

Credit: R H Hall

Generation Juice

The T300 juice dispenser from generationJuice features a touch screen app that dispenses a range of range of juices and cordials. Its patented Truedose™ technology allows the user to customise their own drink from only 1-3 juice products with up to 9 different drink blends, including lighter, low calorie options and mocktail combinations.

Most lunch consumers would like to customise their own lunch, especially Millennials, which fits in with Mintel’s Make it Mine Trend about people’s desire for a more personalised offer.

Meanwhile, premium mocktails that give added focus to flavour and a sense of occasion suit the emerging trend of moderation and sobriety among young consumers. Although only a small proportion of pub visitors order non-alcoholic cocktails, demand for non-alcoholic cocktails is driven by people in the affluent A-socio-economic group and Millennials aged 19-38.

Credits: Mintel


London-based Mother is a vending machine that features an interactive 43″ touchscreen app that dispenses a range of healthy packaged food and drink snacks, including salad jars by BOL. It supports contactless payments and provides live sales feed and data analytics to operators.

Mother caters to a range of dietary requirements and preferences, including vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options. It can enable more foodservice operators and leisure venues, especially those that lack menu development capabilities, to add on healthy snacks to customers eating on-the-go. Mintel research shows that most consumers would like options to mix-and-match their own meal deals, for example, a choice of one drink, one main meal and one side or dessert for a fixed, according to Mintel research on coffee shops.