‘The Future of Coffee In the Capital’: that’s what we called our symposium at Zebrano’s in the City.
The objective of the event was to showcase the options available to improve the refreshment experience of London workers. Visitors were promised insider information on innovations in sustainability and recycling solutions and – not least – how technical breakthroughs in terms of taste and quality have improved both vended and OOH coffee offers.
After a day of presentations, and opportunities to talk to leading coffee machine manufacturers, sustainable packaging innovators and recycling gurus, those who braved the journey to Houndsditch were pleased they did.
We invited Planet Vending to attend so MD Yvonne Reynolds-Young joined us on the day and we’re delighted to publish her report on the event.
‘Walking into Zebrano’s at about lunchtime, there was a really convivial buzz about the place’, Yvonne said. ‘The early arrivals were in the middle of the first session of presentations and suppliers were swapping stories over coffee.
‘The first person I bumped into was Westomatic MD Richard Brinsley. As anybody who knows him will tell you, he never needs a second invitation to show off the latest Westo innovations! He was championing vending machines that enable customers to fill their own reusable bottles and cups.
‘’Everyone wants to rid the world of plastic cups, so we’ve just tweaked our machines to allow easy recycling and to make it easier for customers to use their own multi-use bottles and cups’, he said. He got no argument from me on that score…
‘Each manufacturer I spoke to had taken on board that we, the consumer, want to do the right thing and cut down the use of single use products such as plastic and paper cups. Westomatic’s ideas were as refreshing as a freshly-brewed espresso; including siting recycling systems next to banks of drinks and snacks machines; water machines that offer a choice of chilled, flavoured or just filtered plain water and have a separate rinse facility, so reusable cups or bottles can be filled safely – all good stuff.
‘Coffetek and Crane, with SV365 Technologies, were all represented’, Yvonne said. ‘I was most impressed with Bert Wallace’s demonstration of the SV365 unattended retail machine, where you could take out products to examine them, change your mind, put them back and pick something else, What’s more, the cashless payment solution scrutinised each step!
‘Other suppliers such as Mr Lees Noodles had their innovative, tasty and decidedly up-market version of pot noodles on show! Award winners, their Kiosks make sure that healthy, tastier food is available 24/7.’
See more here.
‘There were also smoothies to sample from Froosh’, Yvonne said. ‘The Swedish company’s sustainability credentials are outweighed only by the quality of their products. They are 100% fruit only an they come in 250ml glass bottles. They also have a delicious Shorty that comes in an ingeious 150ml paper can.’
Check them out here.
‘After refreshments served courtesy of Zebrano’s, it was time for another session of presentations’, Yvonne said. ‘First up was Seymour Valentine’s Bob Norton. He welcomed a ‘standing room only’ audience, watched by MD Cevat Riza. Then we heard from Wise Group MD, Graham Kingaby. He gave an overview of the benefits of selecting a Wise Group member as a vending partner, getting a laugh when he confessed that WISE was nothing to do with intellectual capacity, but stood for Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England. He emphasised that all members are owner managed and they’re all committed to supporting each other, thereby providing a truly national service.
‘Graham introduced the new AVA (Automatic Vending Association) CEO, David Llewellyn. The AVA is the governing body of UK vending. All vending operators are encouraged to join the AVA, because membership indicates to potential clients that they can expect a standard of service. He also explained that membership depends upon maintaining strict, annually audited operating standards.
‘Following David was a presentation by David Goodwin from Simply Cups. Their objective is to promote the recycling of cups. David ran through the current process and celebrated increasing uptake of the scheme in the last twelve months.’
Check out their website here for more information. There’s also an opportunity for you to sign up to the scheme.
‘Maintaining the sustainable, recycling theme, the next impressive presenter was Julia Porter from Bio-Bean, the company that turns used coffee grounds into fuel’, Yvonne said. ‘Did you know that you can now buy Coffee Logs that can be burned in any fireplace or wood burner? Me neither! Smaller biomass pellets are produced in volume for heating larger buildings. Next on their agenda is the production of biofuel and biochemicals.’
You can read more about the amazing work Bio Bean are doing here.
‘Last but definitely not least’, Yvonne said, ‘was the amazing Katie Jonzen. She made a presentation about Vegware, based in Edinburgh. The company started ten years ago, after the founder was handed a fork made from potatoes. It was a light bulb moment, and now this award-winning, innovative business is thriving, with a presence in many of the major countries of the world. Their target market, with a goal to provide food packaging and cutlery, is the Food Service and Vending industries. They’ve recently launched their Close The Loop project, which makes it possible to compost all Vegware products. It’s is currently being rolled out across the UK and it’s a real eye-opener.
‘All in all there was a series of welcome messages from this valuable symposium and I suspect that what was demonstrated to us and is just a drop in the ocean. The industry has listened to experts on global warming, plastic pollution, paper cup explosions and waste management. Snacks are tastier, fresher, healthier and contain fewer ‘nasties’.
‘As an industry, we have had to listen, we had to do better, the technology is there, we are now seeing the desire by consumers to embrace it.’
We at Seymour Valentine gratefully acknowledge the suppliers who contributed to what was, in the end, a very long day. We also want to thank all the guests who had accepted the invitation to participate.
We guarantee that each and every visitor took away new knowledge and fresh ideas to introduce to the work place.