The UCB Continues its Quest for the Perfect Healthy Vending Product

Thanks to Kennedy Procter, new Marketing and Communications Executive for letting us know what’s been happening at UCB this week.

‘The AVA worked with the University College Birmingham through 2018, continuing its support of the annual UCB catering competition. The next generation of product developers are inspired  to consider vending as a viable outlet focusing on healthier products that could realistically be sold in a vending machine today. The students consider taste, cost, packaging and marketing, and all are taste-tested and reviewed by an AVA panel of experts.

This year’s judging took place on 11th December 2018 and was the 6th year that the AVA had been invited to attend which of course they were delighted to accept.  The contest consisted of 11 groups, each containing between 5-7 students who are currently studying at the college. The competition was a part of their first module where they had 12 weeks to create a brand, product and business strategy that could be sold within vending machines. Each group was to focus on a different sector of the Vending Industry. These included Educational, Environmental, Work Place, Travel and Healthcare. Students had to keep branding in mind, as well as packaging, when considering how the product would perform in Vending Machines.

David Llewellyn


Chief Executive of AVA, David Llewellyn said:

“This was by far the best year, in terms of creativity, branding and detail, we have seen so far at UCB. The quality of the students’ work was some of the best we have seen and each student should be proud of themselves.”

Many of the students had used innovative ideas within their brand.  Nature’s Goodness, for example, had decided to use a bio-degradable plastic made from seaweed that consumers could water into their house plants for added nutrition.  Many of the teams had focused their ideas and creativity on the current social issues we are facing, such as new nutritional guidelines, the potential plastic tax and the effects of Brexit on sourcing ingredients and materials.

With such a high standard, it was the AVA’s pleasure to announce that Aquarons from team Catherine A Watson, amazed the judging panel and took top prize. Their absolute attention to detail and impeccable branding, impressed the panel with more than one judge stating “this product is ready to go to market now”.

The Jubilant Winners

Aquarons are gluten free and vegan macaroons, featuring a variety of flavours such as Earl Grey & Blueberry and Lemon & Ginger. Click Here for more. They are of high quality, taste great, and nutritional too, with suitable packaging making it perfect for Vending Machines. A marketing plan is already in place and includes social media platforms and an outstanding website.  Meet them here.

Highly Commended -Team Good Fortune

Two other UCB teams were given honourable mentions for their hard work and dedication to the project, Good Fortune with their Bliss Balls and YGIA with Startttle bars. Both teams had fantastic products, enthusiasm and brands the judges loved. YGIA were also presented with a Technical Achievement award from Mike Saltmarsh, the AVA’s Technical Consultant.

Team YGIA – Winners of the AVA Tech Award

AVA would like to thank all the students for an exciting experience and congratulate all of them on their dedication to such a tough project. AVA would also like to thank all members who supported the day, the UCB for being so accommodating and Chef Bernard Schumacher for organising the whole event.’

See PV’s archive on the UCB output so far HERE

About the author

Yvonne Reynolds-Young

Planet Vending’s MD and Publisher is Yvonne Reynolds-Young. An island of corporate common sense surrounded by oceans of creative madness, Yvonne is the person to call if your intention is to make something happen. (She controls all the diaries and all the money, FYI). She’s also our Social Media Queen, single-handedly responsible for building PVs presence on LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter and thereby driving record volumes of traffic onto the site.

‘Customer service is my responsibility and it’s my job to make sure we’re always ahead of deadlines’ she says. ‘My background in big business means I speak the same language as our corporate clients and understand the particular pressures they face when working in the vending arena.’

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