Packaging

Snack apps

July 1, 2010
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
For the beleaguered snack-and-soda vending business, help is on the way in the form of iPhone-inspired interactive machines.

Rotating ads and electronic images of product packages are displayed on a 46-in. LCD touch-screen panel in Kraft Foods’ Diji-Touch vending machine. By touching an image, users can access nutrition information and a 360° enlarged view of the package.


S pecialized packages for alternative distribution are established parts of the Kraft Foods repertoire, and the company’s Vending & Office Coffee Service (OCS) division is living up to that tradition by breaking new ground with equipment that taps into changing consumer tastes and expectations.

At the recent National Automated Merchandising Association show, Kraft introduced the Tassimo Professional designed specifically for coffee service, one of the bright spots in the beleaguered vending business. A commercial version of a single-serve coffee maker, Tassimo Pro is “the home machine on steroids,” says Charley Orwig, Tassimo Pro business manager. The machine’s bar-code reader identifies what type of T-disc is being placed in the machine; customization options let users “mix and match to come up with about 70 different [coffee] recipes,” he says.

As with K-cups, T-discs mean more packaging waste, a sensitive issue Kraft is addressing by “greening up” single serve, Orwig says. Two Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee SKUs are part of the line. The T-disc pods are manufactured in a Pennsylvania facility certified as “zero landfill,” with waste either recycled or used to produce energy. And Kraft has created a program to collect and “repurpose” used pods.

The biggest buzz at the show involved a machine Kraft commissioned: the Diji-Touch, an iPhone-inspired vending machine. Kraft worked with Crane Merchandising Systems and Samsung Electronics to design and build the interactive machine, which features a 46-in. LCD touch-screen panel to display the snacks inside. (A comparable display was developed by Samsung for a Coke machine that debuted at the Beijing Games in 2008, though considerable functionality has been added since.)

While Diji-Touch’s panel emulates a smart-phone experience, the technology’s real power is in marketing and merchandising. A wireless Ethernet connection is included, explains Canyon DeVille, engineering director at St. Louis-based Crane, allowing remote control of video ads and the rotation of product images on the panel. “The placement of products affect sales,” he points out, and placing best sellers at eye level should increase sales. The wireless connection also facilitates credit card sales. “When you take plastic, people tend to spend more, and the price is not as sensitive,” notes Michael Kasavana, a Michigan State University professor.

Sales-reporting software alerts the vending operator to replenishment needs, allowing dynamic scheduling of route drivers. This is a real plus since wringing inefficiencies from the supply chain is an industry focus, particularly in mainstay soft-drink and snack dispensing, where healthy-eating trends and a declining industrial workforce are eroding sales. Average profitability for vending operators is estimated at 1.9 percent, and higher gas prices are reducing margins further.

Enhancing the interactive experience may help increase sales, and hopes are high for Diji-Touch. Besides activating a revolving, 360° view of the product, users can access calorie and nutritional information, ensuring compliance with new requirements in the healthcare reform act. 

For more information:
Canyon DeVille, Crane Merchandising Systems, 314-623-8043, cdeville@cranems.com
Charley Orwig, Kraft Foods Inc., 847-646-2422

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png