Vending machines are free-standing sales machines that are set up in public spaces such as stations, universities, office buildings, and schools. It is the simplest form of buying and selling. Although the vending machines market in Poland is not a new sector, it is still developing.

Self-service machines appeared in Poland in 1995. However, they did not gain then such popularity as they do nowadays. It is worth mentioning that we now live faster and have less time during the day. Vending machines are the quickest solution when we want to eat a meal during a break at work or while changing means of transport.

Characteristics of the vending machines market in Poland

According to industry experts, the vending machines market in Poland is highly fragmented. The data of the Polish Vending Association shows that there were over 40,000 vending machines in 2021 in Poland. Over the past two years, the number has almost doubled. Compared to other countries, Poland comes out very poorly. There are about 6-11 machines per 1 thousand people in Western Europe. In Japan, there is 1 machine for every 20 citizens. In Poland, the result is much below the average – 1 machine per approx. 548 people.

On an annual basis, Poles spend around 20 million euros on food products packed in cans, bottles, and cartons. They buy more hot drinks such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate – paying 23 million euros. For comparison, the French spend around 185 million euros on cold beverages from vending machines. According to Nielsen, 59% of Poles use vending machines once a month or more often, and a quarter uses these machines at least once a week.

Competition in the market of vending machines in Poland

According to industry specialists and the e-book “Time for business”, about 400 companies in Poland sell through vending machines. The largest share has companies with several or about a dozen vending machines (80% market share). The remaining part of the market is filled by firms that have from several dozen to several hundred devices deployed in numerous locations (20% market share).

In smaller cities, the competition for self-service machines includes mainly grocery stores. In larger cities, the competition contains bars, buffets, and grocery stores.

According to research conducted by Nielsen, the strategic locations for the vending machines are public transport stops, offices, and shopping centres.

Food market trends

Vending machines follow the strong convenience trend in the food and packaging market. Convenience foods are disposable, one-portion products intended to be eaten on the street. Their greatest advantage is the way of opening them – with one hand. This phenomenon is due to increasing urbanization, as well as changing family structure and lifestyle. Vending machines are, therefore, the perfect answer to the needs of a busy society.

Author: Dominika Będkowska

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Automaty vendingowe [w:], E-book: Czas na biznes (Vending machines [in:], E-book: Time for business),

Ciepłe posiłki z maszyny. Przed rynkiem automatów dobre perspektywy (Warm meals from the machine. Good prospects for the vending machine market),

Rynek vendingu w Polsce z dobrymi perspektywami rozwoju (Vending market in Poland with good development prospects),

Convenience – silny trend na rynku żywności i jej opakowań (Convenience – a strong trend on the food and packaging market),