7 Types of Vending Machines Found Across the Globe

Types of Vending Machines
Ever wondered what all things can be dispensed through a vending machine? Well, find out for yourself, here, about the many types of vending machines, and the amazing array of products they have to offer.
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Did You Know...
... that the vending machine was invented in England in 1880, at the beginning of the industrial revolution.
Gone are the days when you had to walk into a shopping mall to buy a can of soft drink, or wait for the morning to satisfy midnight cravings for sweets. Welcome to the age of instant gratification, where you can get practically everything under the sun at the click of a button. And no, it's not online shopping we're talking about here, but those box-like machines that you see everywhere these days. You've probably guessed it right, we're talking about the vending machine and its many avatars.
Different Types of Vending Machines
From ready-made meals, to groceries, to medical supplies, just name it, and you're most likely to find a vending machine for the stuff you need, operating in some part of the world. In fact, there are so many types of these machines out there, that we've tried to place them under 7 broad categories. So, get ready to be amused, as we take you on a journey to the world of vending machines.
Specialized Vending Machines
These vending machines are customized to serve only a particular item. In Japan, which can be conveniently called the Land of Vending Machines, you'll find everything, from fruits to umbrellas being sold through a vending machine. Unconventional as it may sound, these latest innovations in the vending industry can really prove to be a boon for the common man. Closer home, if you've experienced sudden cravings for a dessert at midnight, then you'll be glad to know that Sprinkles has installed 'Cupcake ATMs' in Beverly Hills and Chicago, and are planning more for different areas in the United States. Great news, eh? Well, here is some other stuff that is served by specialized vending machines.

► Imperial River Beluga Caviar in Los Angeles.
► Lettuce in Japan
► Pizza in certain parts of Europe
► Bananas in Japan
► Mashed potatoes in Singapore
► French fries in Australia
► Dairy products in Germany
► Eggs in Germany and Japan
► Hot bread in Germany
► Baguette in Paris
► Burgers in Moscow
► Hot dogs in the US
► Draft beer in Japan
► Instant noodles in Japan
And this one 'Takes the Cake'
In the Nanjing province of China, a local company has installed a vending machine that dispenses live crabs. The right temperature control maintains the crabs in a state of hibernation, without killing them. And in case you end up with a dead crab, the company claims to compensate with three live ones. Now, that sounds like a good deal, doesn't it?
Candy Vending Machines
Gumball vending machine
This is the simplest vending machine around, and does not even need electricity for functioning. Ever noticed those small machines that are filled with colorful gumballs or candy? That's exactly what we're referring to. If you're looking to set up a vending machine as a business venture, then this is the one you should probably start with. Kids can hardly resist colorful candies, and would always crave for more.
Beverage Vending Machines
Beverage vending machine
Each one of us have used a vending machine to get a mug of hot coffee or a glass of our favorite brand of soft drink. These machines are popular just for the convenience they offer. You can find them wherever there are people, such as in offices, educational institutions, stations, bus stops, and street corners. These machines 'serve' you tea, coffee, hot water, fruit juice, milk, etc.
Snack Vending Machines
Snack Vending Machines
If you can have machines that dispense your favorite drink on the press of a button, how can snacks be far behind. After all, food and drinks go hand in hand, don't they? Snack vending machines are designed such that you can have quick and easy access to different types of packaged snacks, such as chips, nuts, chocolates, toffees, biscuits, etc. All these products are attractively displayed behind a glass door, making it easier for customers to choose, and at the same time, tempting them to grab one on the go.
Combination Vending Machines
Combination Vending Machines
This is for those people who don't just want everything at the push of a button, but at the push of ONE button! Perhaps one of the most important inventions in the world of retail in recent years, combination vending machines have changed the way people shop for food items, forever, and for good. These machines are stocked with a range of items, and the customer has the option to tell the machine what all stuff he wants. These machines have come to be hugely popular, and are commonly found in public places. You can get everything from snacks, hot and cold beverages, toys, frozen food, etc., from these machines, which are also known as full-line vending machines.
Entertainment Vending Machines
These are designed to be your one-stop-shop for entertainment. You can find vending machines that dispense movie CDs and DVDs, as well as video game CDs. You might also come across one which you can use to get weekend tickets to your favorite movie. Also known as kiosks, these are a fairly common sight at multiplexes.
Vending Machines for Office Supplies
Vending machine for office supplies
These vending machines bring to you everything that you would probably require at work. Get the picture? You're most likely to find these machines at airports, business centers, schools, colleges, etc. Stocked with pens, pencils, stationary, USB flash drives, CD-ROMs, sheets of paper, etc., these machines are commonly installed in places frequented by students and office goers. So, the next time you're waiting for a flight, and realize that you've left your USB drive at home, you know where to head to, right?
Perhaps the most successful ones have been the vending machines that dispense food items and beverages. These machines make it possible for people to grab a quick snack on the go, or enjoy a cup of coffee while waiting for a train at the subway station.