AVA Publishes the 2019 Industry Census

Turnover from traditional vending & OCS up 5.2% to £1.54 billion

·       36% of Vending machines now have cashless payment systems

·       The first ever AVA MicroMarket Report


The latest AVA Census was released this week which gives AVA Members a clear breakdown of both successes and obstacles the industry faced in 2019. Martin Colston, who conducts the census on behalf of the AVA, also shows the opportunities for Operators moving into 2020. With special consideration of the COVID-19 situation, Martin explains for the first time in details, the advantages of Micro-Markets and their growth over the past 5 years in the UK.

Also highlighted in the census is the turnover from traditional vending & OCS which is up by 5.2% to £1.54 billion; with price increases more than offsetting the ongoing declines in both consumption and machine base. Martin mentions the significant investments improving the proposition: more than 50% of regular cups now paper, cashless readers now on 36% of the base and as mentioned previously, micro-markets are up to around 200 in the UK.

A Note from David Llewellyn, Chief Executive

The AVA Census has been carried out since 1983. It has mapped huge changes in the industry, in consumer preferences, reflecting new legislation and changes in business and society as well as economic cycles. What the 2020 Census will show as a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic remains to be seen, but there is no doubt it will be have a significant impact.

As we progressed through 2019 there were several challenges to business to be addressed. With up to 27 different pieces of proposed or impending legislation, all of which would have an effect on the UK Vending Industry. The key ones being: the business uncertainty around Brexit; HM Treasury’s single Use Plastic Tax consultation; Defra & Scotland’s progression towards a Deposit Return Scheme; European legislation concerning Energy Classification of machines and refrigerant changes; and the constant pressure for a levy or charge on single use cups encouraging re-usable cups. The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the essential need for packaging in all material formats to ensure the continued availability of food and beverages in a manner safe, hygienic and free of contamination.

Despite all of this, we have seen a 5.2% increase in vending industry turnover. Reflecting increases in cup pricing due to premium drink quality and a wider range of consumer


products on offer. For example, the increasing move to healthier products with Cold Drinks seeing a 75% increase since 2017 in drinks with under 5g per 100ml of sugar and a 120% increase in confectionery and sweet lines with less than 250kcal.

The Census is a useful tool for all AVA members to measure their performance within the UK Vending & Coffee Services market. It is an invaluable tool for the AVA when meeting and presenting to Ministers, Civil Servants and Legislators. Adding detail and weight when presenting our arguments.

If you wish to take part or feel that there are areas which could be added to the Census, then please let us know.

AVA Members can view and download the census via the AVA Website here:


If you are not an AVA Member but wish to view the census, you can purchase a copy from the AVA. Simply send an email to penny.rowell@the-ava.com to request your copy.