May 2013

Students showcase new vending concepts

Read time: approx 3 mins

UCB Culinary Arts Management students joined forces with the Automatic Vending Association (AVA) to highlight the opportunities that exist for the vending industry.

The students, who are taking part in a brand new ‘Culinary Product Development’ module, presented their creative range of new food products for vending that address the issues of today, such as obesity, allergens and government regulations, but also deliver in terms of taste and appearance. All products have been developed by the students as part of the course.

AVA’s partnership with UCB and the ‘Culinary Product Development’ module is part of its ongoing strategy to drive change in vending.

Times are changing in vending and the AVA has a major role to play in communicating these changes. As an industry, we have listened to our customers and as a result operators and food manufacturers are working to meet the growing demand for a greater choice in vending and in particular for healthier solutions. The partnership with the College of Food at UCB is very much at the heart of this and we were delighted to see and taste the delicious, innovative products that were presented today. The students more than met the brief and have demonstrated the fantastic opportunities there are for vending.

Jonathan Hilder, AVA’s CEO

The student teams were tasked with developing products for six key areas for vending: business and industry; education; healthcare; leisure; staff catering and transport. The products developed showcased excellence in terms of creativity and innovation – particularly when it came to wheat and gluten free. For example Caulipockets are a ‘pasty-style snack’ where the pastry is made from cauliflower and are gluten and nut free. Designed with the leisure industry in mind, Caulipockets can be eaten hot or cold and are perfect for refueling after a session at the gym. 

With hospital vending in mind a second team created a range of Asian-Style Noodles, Noodelicious, including a Vegetarian Thai version. Made with rice noodles this product is wheat, dairy and gluten free but packed with flavour and low in calories.

Other products included a BBQ Pulled Pork Pastry, Gail Pastries, aimed at transport hubs such as airports and stations, Dough-lightful Subs for the education market and a two-in-one product with sweet and savoury treats for morning and afternoon called Am 2 PM. There was also a range of meals featuring gourmet hot dogs made with local sausages and presented in a bento box.

Each team also presented their proposed brand, packaging and marketing activity, which included social media and websites. Criteria for all areas included the product’s packaging and its ability to be recycled as well as salt, sugar and fat / calorie levels. Individual criteria included the need for snacks for schools that meet guidelines, healthy products for gym users and meals or substantial snacks for staff catering.

Culinary Arts Management Lecturer and Module Leader, University College Birmingham, Bernhard Schumacher believes this successful module has been of significant benefit to both the students and the vending industry, which has a clear need for a greater choice of healthier meal and snack options:

Our students have learned about the challenges and needs of an important retail channel and by taking this module have had an excellent opportunity to showcase their skills in food product development to the industry. We are delighted to be working with the AVA on this initiative and look forward to a continued partnership.

Bernhard Schumacher , Culinary Arts Management Lecturer and Module Leader, University College Birmingham

As part of the project the students were briefed on the challenges facing the UK vending industry, a dynamic market that is worth annually more than £1.65bn, involving some 5.5bn vends per year. Following today’s presentation, the AVA has invited the students to take part in a competition to be held on the 12th June at AVEX, where a team of judges, including Tim Franklin-Heys, Head of Culinary Team for Unilever Food Solutions, will decide on the winning new food for vending 2013. 

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