Vending Machine Snacks And Profit Margins

There are hundreds of vending machine snacks available to the vending community. All of these products have a following in their respective communities.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you are looking over the snack products. One would be who are your customers and what type of product do they want.

It is obvious men and women eat differently. Women in general will eat healthier than men do. When women ask for more healthy items such as yogurt, granola bars, nuts and salads they are more inclined to eat these types of foods.

Men, on the other hand, are more apt to eat candy bars, chips and pastries. One thing you must keep in mind is that you must never stereotype people; there are always exceptions to the rule.

Healthy Snacks

You don’t want to overdo the healthy items in any snack vending machine. What I’m saying is that at this point in time there are still more people that are going to buy the Snicker bar and a bag of Doritos over a granola bar.

Most companies like to keep their healthy items grouped together. What I like to see in a snack machine is the far left column to be devoted to healthy items. When you get to the small product coils for candy bars give the healthy items the two left facings.

Many of your major corporations are pressuring their vendors for more healthy items. I think the main reason for this is that they are looking for a way to lower their health insurance cost.

I have never had a company ever tell me that their insurance company will give them a break for stocking the vending machines with healthy snack items. I do think that they are hoping that by making more and more healthy items available they will have a healthier workforce. The healthier work force may make fewer insurance claims, which could lead to lower premiums.

The normal approach for the vendor is to offer what the customer wants. The nature of our business is to keep the company happy, as they are the owner of the building you will be located in. When I’m approached about additional healthy items I will discuss it with the company and show I do care about their concerns.

Having said all that, I will also try to explain in a polite way that we must still make a profit and steer them toward making these changes in small increments.

The vending machine snacks business has adopted the green label as our sign to the customer that this is a healthy snack. As you go thru a grocery store watch for the green label. Those items will almost always cost more but will have fewer calories, less sugar and less fat. I do believe most of us want to live healthier lives but it should still be our decision. For more information on vending healthy items.

Top Two Trays - Chips

If healthy foods take up 20% of your vending machine snacks that leaves you with 80% of your machine to fill. If you’re using a 5 column wide machine (bag columns) this leaves you with 28 columns to fill. Machines do come in different configurations but 5 columns wide and one candy column (candy bars) is the popular configuration.

Items you will want to consider for your double columns are chips such as: Doritos, Cheetos, Plain, Barbeque, Sour Cream and Onion, Ruffles, Fritos, and Andy Capp Cheddar Fries. The most popular of these are Cheetos, Fritos, Doritos and Plain which should be kept in your machines at all times. The other four chips can be rotated in and out to give your customers variety.

I would carry the Cheetos, Fritos, Doritos and Ruffles in the LSS (large single serve) size. The other chips I named should be carried in the smaller vend size bag. Your customers will enjoy having the variety and the different size bags to choose from.

For more information on vending machine snacks that are the most profitable and fastest moving in a snack machine click here.

Third Tray - Cookies

The vending machine snack chips will fill the top two trays of your vending machine. For the third tray I like to make it my bagged cookie tray. In this tray I will put Famous Amos Chocolate Chip, Grandma’s Mini Vanilla sandwich cookies, Nutter Butter cookies and maybe Pecan Short Bread for the last cookie. I like to rotate different cookies in and out of the column that Pecan Short Bread fills.

Fourth Tray - Big Cookies

In the fourth vending machine snacks tray down from the top you may want to put some different flavors of big soft cookies. Grandmas are the brand that I’ve carried but there are different brands to choose from. Mrs. Fields is a huge name brand in the cookie line up.

The different flavors you may want to consider are Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chocolate Chip. Yes, the last cookie is a chocolate flavor cookie with chocolate chips.

The Candy Tray

With two columns being taken by your healthy items you have 8 more columns to fill in this tray. Some of the best movers are Cheese and Peanut Butter Crackers, Oreos, Snickers, Twix, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey Almond and Pierson Nut Rolls.

Most everything we’ve listed in the candy tray can be rotated in and out to give your customers some variety. The one thing you might want to be careful putting in your rotation would be Snickers. This is the number one selling candy bar and people can get very vocal when it’s not in a vending machine.

The Pastries Tray

If you are located in the northern states Hostess is the brand that is most recognizable by consumers. For those of you in the southern states the brand name of choice is Dolly Madison.

Just for a little history on these two brand names. These two companies battled for market share for years. In the year 1995 Continental Baking Company (Hostess) sold out to Interstate Brands (Dolly Madison’s parent company).

Not long after the sale of Continental Baking Company to Interstate Brands, we the customer and I’m assuming the suppliers to Interstate Brands, started receiving information from lawyers of a restructuring of Interstate Brands. I often thought that Interstate Brands must have paid too much for the Hostess Brand.

The wholesale prices charged for these two brands have continually risen since the sale of Hostess. There are other good brand names and in most cases they have a lower wholesale price. Some that come to mind are Cloverhill and Mrs. Freshley’s. For several years running Mrs. Freshley’s has had the number one pastry slot in Automatic Merchandisers vendors choice contest with their grand honey bun.

The Gum And Mint Tray

With the size of machine we have chosen to work with in this article the gum and mint tray has 5 selections. Of course, one of them will be used for the healthy choice selection. The most popular gum on the market is Wrigley’s gum and it is the gum I most often carried.

You may want to choose a different brand that will have a bigger profit margin but will not have the volume that Wrigley’s provides. For mints the vendor will normally carry one flavor and that is normally wintergreen or spearmint. Fox Laboratories out of Chicago manufactures many different flavors of mints and is very reasonable with their wholesale pricing.

Snack Machine Information

We have gone over a lot of information in this vending machine snacks article. I don’t want you to think the products to carry are written in stone. Quite the contrary, we have written this to help the new vendor get on an even footing with the established vendor.

You should always be listening to your accounts to find out what they want. A vendor that listens and is willing to try new items will be a vendor that is hard to dislodge, even when the subject of a cheaper price comes up.

For more in depth information I would suggest finishing this article and then Click Here! This is some of the best information available on the net.

Vending Machines Snacks Pricing Guide

Vending machine snack pricing is a subject that is hard to write about. The reason is that the larger vendors will receive better wholesale pricing than a small vendor receives. You must keep in mind that all large vendors were at one time small vendors.

When you are just starting out you will be able to avoid some of the overhead the large companies have. This will put you on a more even playing field when you are pricing your snack machines even with the different wholesale pricing.

We will start with chips first as they are usually at the top of most vending machines. We will work our way to the bottom of the machine.


You should try to more than double your money on chips. Take your wholesale price times 2.20 and round it to the nearest nickel increment. This will put you close to what the vending machine snack retail price should be or you are paying too much for them.

Bagged Cookies

You should be able to double the vending machine snack wholesale price on this type of an item.

Big Soft Cookies

This is an item you can probably more than double your wholesale vending machine snack price. A good starting point would be taking it times 2.20 and rounding it to the nearest nickel increment.

Candy items

It will be hard to double your money on candy bars. You will want to take the wholesale price and take it times 1.75. Once again round that figure to the nearest nickel increment. Vending machine snack candy bars are a must but should be kept to a minimum.


Depending on what brand of pastry you choose to carry will dictate the profit margin you will be able to pull. Hostess and Dolly Madison will probably come in at doubling your wholesale price. Other brands that your suppliers carry may allow you to take the wholesale price times 2.20.

Gum And Mints

If you have made the choice to carry Wrigley’s gum doubling your vendors wholesale price will be about as good as you will be able to do. If you’ve chosen an off brand you will be able to mark it at the same price you would Wrigley’s gum. Remember, you won’t have the volume that you would with Wrigley’s.

Mints will sell for the same price as gum in most cases and if you carry the Fox Brand you will have a nice markup on this item. I hope this has given the new vendor a guideline to work with on vending machine snack pricing.

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