LEEDS, UK – The Automatic Vending Association (AVA), the trade body of the vending industry in the UK, has launched a new name as it sets out its vision for the future, ensuring the organisation and the industry it represents continues to be agile, innovative and deliver for its members against an ever-changing retail landscape. The AVA is now known as the Vending & Automated Retail Association to better reflect the full range of services its members offer to consumers around the UK.
The AVA, which was initially established in 1929 as the ‘Coin Operated Machine Association’, is the trade body representing owners, operators, buying groups and manufacturers in the vending and coffee dispensary services. It consists of 160 members which manage the 460,000 vending machines across the UK employing around 25,000 people and adding £1.46bn to the UK economy.
The AVA’s new vision is for the vending and automated retail industry to meet the needs of our 24/7, on-the-go society by making high-quality, innovative food and beverage services accessible wherever and whenever people need them.
David Llewellyn, CEO of the Vending & Automated Retail Association said: “The vending industry has come a long way from its coin operated machine roots and over the last couple of years we have seen a real shift in consumer demands and the challenges our members face. It was important to reassess our focus and reshape the vision of the AVA to better reflect the wide range of services our members offer, plus the innovation and resilience the industry has demonstrated in turning challenges into opportunities.”
With the impact of Covid-19, 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for those in the vending and automated retail sector. With office closures, next to no commuters and leisure and retail facilities closed for much of the year, the sector was badly hit by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. More recently, supply chain issues arising from the recent fuel and HGV driver shortages have caused further challenges to the sector and those working in it. However, despite this disruption, the sector has shown resilience, collaboration, and innovation in terms of the products on offer and how they are dispensed.
Llewellyn continued: “Throughout the past 18 months, we at the AVA have been a source of information and guidance to our members, providing updates on support or funding available and sharing successes to encourage advances. As an industry we are currently facing an impact from almost 40 pieces of upcoming legislation with everything from the proposed Deposit Return Scheme to the Single Use Plastics Tax, to changes in refrigeration gases having both practical and financial implications for our members. We know our members look to us for support and as the challenging times for retail and food to go specifically look set to continue, our new vision will help us to focus on and communicate the innovation and collaboration which will fuel growth and success for the industry.”