In the beverage industry, vending machines are an integrated part of the supply chain strategy, especially in more developed markets such as the U.S., Japan and the European Union. Vending machines and corporate coolers provide “within arms reach” availability and merchandised products. Manufacturers’ cooling strategies have always been focused on keeping the lights on and the compressor running around the clock in order to increase sales potential.
Unfortunately, conventional coolers and vending machines consume significant amounts of energy as they rely on inefficient compressors and light bulbs. With increased pressure on companies to act, companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonalds are taking action.
Coca-Cola is currently spending $40 million USD to research next generation refrigeration technologies. Current research is focusing on reducing the energy consumption of compressors and light bulbs as well as developing greener vending technology. The company unveiled a hydrofluorocarbon-free (HFC) vending machine used at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Coca-Cola plans by 2010 to have 100,000 HFC-free refrigerators and vending machines operating around the world.