Milk vending machines are now available for use in schools, businesses, and on your dairy.

During the past few months, milk vending machines have been catching the eye of producers at trade shows. The prototype, displayed by Dairy Management Inc., contains “got milk?” images on the outside and dispenses cold milk in single-serve plastic containers.

The vending machines are aimed at a growing consumer segment that likes to eat on the run. In 1995, 12 percent of all soft drink purchases and 19 percent of juice drink purchases were from vending machines, compared to just 1 percent of milk purchases. Research has found that consumers — both young and old — associate milk with home-cooked meals and tend to purchase milk in the grocery stores only.

However, the dairy industry has made progress in boosting its image through advertising, and adding flavors, packaging and shelf life to promote fluid milk as an on-the-go beverage choice. The latest breakthrough: A smart vending machine that keeps milk chilled at 37 F to 40 F. If the temperature exceeds that level, the machine will quit dispensing milk, which ensures that every consumer gets a quality product.

Dairy Management Inc. and Milk PEP (fluid milk processors) will use check-off dollars and processor dollars to place 80 to 100 of the vending machines in schools throughout the country during the first quarter of 2001. Then, DMI will study the use of these machines to determine ideal stocking rates, product prices, and the best locations within the schools.

However, you don’t have to wait for the DMI study to be completed to get a milk vending machine for your local school or dairy. Milk vending machines can be purchased for around $3,000 to $4,000 from the suppliers listed below.
For more information, contact DMI at (847) 803-2000, ext. 233, or contact your local dairy board and ask for DMI’s “Guide to vending channel suppliers and resources.”

Where to go to purchase a milk vending machine

The following companies manufacture milk vending machines. Before purchasing, you’ll probably want to touch base with local vending suppliers who maintain and restock vending machines for servicing options.

  • U-Select-It
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Contact Jack Kellam at (800) 247-8709

  • Automated Merchandising Systems
    Kearneyville, W.V.
    (304) 725-6921

  • Automatic Products
    St. Paul, Minn.
    Contact Richard Willmering at (800) 523-8363

  • Dixie-Narco
    Willston, S.C.
    (803) 266-5000

  • Laurel Springs
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    Contact Jarrett Bristow at (800) 668-7599