East Midlands based snacks and drinks vending specialist GEM Vending has taken vending services to a new level by introducing QR code technology to its machines. For the past 18 months the company has piloted the digital system which provides access to free nutritional information on all products via Smartphones. This is a timely intervention given the current debate about sugar content in soft drinks, and has proven popular with leading organisations in the East Midlands such as Speedo, Derby City Council and My Home Move.
The successful pilot has been running across a range of public and private organisations and has prompted the company to look for a leisure sector partner to see how the QR Code technology might be applied to strengthen the link between health, nutrition and exercise.
The QR Code facility is an extension of GEM Vending’s unique Green Dot campaign whereby certain products are marked to indicate a healthier option. Taking this principle a stage further, the GEM QR code is prominently displayed on the front of all vending machines and when scanned take the customer to the GEM ‘Smart site’ at www.gem.qrcode.uk.net . Here the user will find a breakdown of each product’s nutritional values, and a further search option for Vegans, Vegetarians and those on a Gluten-Free diet directs to suitable products. The site also explains the company’s ethical values, which include a commitment to display at least 15% healthier and Fairtrade and Rainforest approved products.
Nikki Wilson, Business Services Manager at SPEEDO says “The team at Speedo love technology so the use of QR codes to access free nutritional information is very innovative of GEM Vending. We can quickly check what’s in our lattes and cappuccinos before we make our daily choices. This is a great benefit to the health and wellbeing of our team which is really important here at Speedo.”
Derby City Council Facilities Development Manager, Wayne Sills says “Throughout our rigorous tender process we are always looking for innovation and new ideas that can enhance what we offer as a forward thinking Local Authority. Both the Derby City Council and our customers are delighted with the innovation in using QR codes to access free nutritional information and GEM were the only vending company to offer this service completely free of charge.”
John Hood, Facilities Manager for My Home Move adds: ‘At My Home Move we have a young health conscious workforce who find the QR codes a really useful information tool, something we’ve never had before and really value.”
Based in Langley Mill between Derby, Nottingham and Leicester, GEM Vending worked with the digital technology company Just Peel to create the QR Code and Smart site. Due to the extensive range of products, as well as the variables associated with specialist hot drinks commonly found on the high street, it was a complex project.
Steven Gallagher, Managing Director of GEM Vending says ‘So much of what we do is about understanding changing consumer preferences. We could see the potential to use mobile technology to deliver free detailed product information in this way, given the facts users can choose before they buy. For some people that means opting for fewer sugars or lower fat content.”
“Now we are looking to help people understand the link between their own health, snack preferences and exercise. To do this we want to speak to leaders in the leisure industry, especially those who emphasise staff and customer well-being. The plan would be to co-brand and develop the QR code to provide not only nutritional information but also the exercise options to compliment the enjoyment of the vended drinks and snacks.”