As the “back to routine” season is underway, consumers are on the lookout for convenient, nutritious, and functional snacks that cater to their health-conscious lifestyles. 

The demand for convenient yet nourishing options has led to a significant surge in the consumption of health-focused items in vending machines and micro markets. According to the 2022 State of the Vending & Micro Market Industry Report, sales of healthy items, including plant-based products, have risen by 40%.1 For the healthy product category, sales in the combined vending and micro market segment saw an increase in sales from $1.8 billion to $2 billion.1 

Three key trends are driving this growth in demand for healthy options in the vending and micro markets.

Trend #1: Plant-Based 

Plant-based products have firmly established themselves as a pivotal trend in the healthy snack market. Consumer motivations for eating plant-based include the belief that plant-based foods are healthier, better for the environment and for animal welfare.2

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the global plant-based food market is projected to exceed $162 billion by 2030.3 Millennials and Gen Z are driving this trend due to their interest in sustainability and animal welfare.4 However, these demographics are also known for their love of snacking and convenient grab-and-go options, so providing taste and convenience is vital.5 From protein-packed nuts to plant-forward beverages, vending and micro markets should provide a mix of plant-based snacks and healthy drinks that provide nutrition and flavor in one convenient package. 

Trend #2: Functional Foods

Functional foods, including beverages, are continuing to trend upward. The global functional beverages market was valued at $118.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $265.9 billion by 2030, promising a CAGR of 9.38% from 2021 to 2030.6

Functional snacks and beverages are designed to offer benefits like improved performance and enhanced immunity. This trend has evolved from being limited to smoothies to encompass many categories, including drinks, coffee, bowls, and salads. From targeting specific nutrients to helping with sleep, stress, and mental health, consumers are actively seeking out products that align with their holistic wellness goals.7

Trend #3: Better-For-You Beverages

Beverages are a critical category for vending and micro markets, as packaged cold beverages continued to hold the highest rank among the convenience product categories last year, generating 23% of revenue, or $4.1 billion.1

A significant trend is that consumers seek beverages with health benefits without sacrificing flavor. Lower sugar is a priority factor in the better-for-you beverage market.8

Among the various functional beverages, juice has emerged as a prominent choice for health-conscious consumers. Datassential’s research reveals that juice is perceived as a healthier beverage, driving its popularity among those seeking nutritious options.9 Sparkling juice and functional juices are trending on menus, indicating a rising interest in these items.9 

From juice to sparkling beverages, vending and micro markets should provide an array of better-for-you beverages to meet customer needs.

On-Trend: V8 +ENERGY®

For a great-tasting beverage that’s perfect for customers looking to fuel their busy lifestyles, consider V8 +ENERGY®. A healthy energy drink made from fruits and vegetable juice, V8 +ENERGY® is rich in B vitamins and provides 80 mg of caffeine. It also has less than half the sugar of the leading energy drink. Inherently plant-based, functional, and better-for-you, V8 +ENERGY® comes in Still and Sparkling varieties. 

Learn more about V8 +ENERGY® for your vending or micro market operation.

1 “2022 State of the Vending & Micro Market Industry Report,” Vending Market Watch, June 13, 2023

2 Plant-Based, Keynote Reports, Datassential, 2022

3 “Plant-based Foods Market to Hit $162 Billion in Next Decade, Projects Bloomberg Intelligence,” Bloomberg, Aug. 11, 2021 

4 “Gen Zs and Millennials Will Drive Growth of Plant-based Foods in the U.S. Over Next Few Years,” The NPD Group, Oct. 13, 2021

5 Rogers, Molly, “Plant-based Snack Foods for Vending and Micro Markets,” Vending Market Watch, April 28, 2022

6 “Functional Beverages Market Worth $265.9 Billion by 2030 – Exclusive Report by InsightAce Analytic,” Cision PR Newswire, Jan. 25, 2022

7 Health: What Does It Mean Today, FoodBytes, Datassential Trendspotting Vol. 94, Datassential, 2023

8 Altmann, Audrey, “Better-for-you Beverage Options Quench Consumers’ Thirst,” SmartBrief, July 26, 20239 “The World of NA Beverages,” Datassential, November 2022