Nestle to test brand-specific vending machines

Nestle Canada is rolling out a market test of vending machines bearing the logos of some of its top-selling brands.The brands involved are Nescafe coffee, Stouffer's entrees and two confectionery products - Kit Kat and Smarties.While Nestle sells a variety of...

Nestle Canada is rolling out a market test of vending machines bearing the logos of some of its top-selling brands.

The brands involved are Nescafe coffee, Stouffer’s entrees and two confectionery products – Kit Kat and Smarties.

While Nestle sells a variety of products in generic vending machines, this marks the first time the company has attempted to leverage consumer awareness of its brands to generate increased vending machines sales.

Peter Skerrett, Nestle’s senior vice-president, corporate planning and development, says ‘the issue is how do we take advantage of our brands.’

Skettett says the test consists of 40 machines placed in undisclosed locations across the country.

‘We want to put them out there and get experience with it,’ he says.

Skerrett says Nestle will run research on the program to determine not only whether product sales increased in branded machines compared with generic machines, but also the extent to which the branded machines contribute to overall consumer awareness of the brands.

Nestle is also in the process of testing branded push-cart sales of its specialty instant coffees, including Cappuccino and Espresso.

To date, the carts have been placed only in two high-profile entertainment venues in Toronto – Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall.

But Skerrett says the program will be expanded if research indicates it is worthwhile.

In other news at Nestle, the company held the official opening of its new head office in North York, Ont. Sept. 16 with more than 200 guests in attendance, including Ontario Premier Bob Rae.

The facility, dubbed Home Office by Nestle, houses 400 employees, including the bulk of the company’s marketing personnel.

Nestle markets 400-plus brands across Canada in the food, beverage, confectionery and petfood categories.

Seventeen separate firms, including Carnation, Stouffer’s Libby, McNeill, Libby and Dr. Ballard, have merged in the past 12 years to form the present-day company.

Among other things, the new office, located at 25 Sheppard Avenue West in North York, contains a test kitchen facility where Nestle develops and evaluates new products and food recipes.