TEL AVIV, Israel -- Nice Vend Ltd. reports that its smoothie and slushie vending machines are making rapid inroads in the U.S. market, fueled most recently by a deal with protein drink maker Weider Global Nutrition and its creation of school-friendly formulations.
The Israeli machine manufacturer entered the U.S. market in spring 2015 with a pilot in amusement parks, universities and hospitals in New York, New Jersey and Florida. The test proved a success and the company established an American subsidiary, Nicevend Inc., and opened office and warehouse space in Hollywood, FL. last spring to support a large-scale U.S. rollout. The U.S. machines are manufactured by Flextronics.
The frozen beverages, which vend for $2 to $4 a cup, are prepared using Nice Vend's instant powders, yogurts and bag-in-box syrups, developed specially for the vending machine.
Spurring a new round of growth in the U.S. is a new partnership between Nice Vend and Weider, a Gilbert, AZ-based marketer of sports nutrition products, to deploy "Nutrichill"-branded Quinzee machines in fitness centers throughout the U.S. and Europe. The machines dispense a frozen version of Weider's popular protein shakes, with 22g. protein in each 12-fl.oz. cup.
Editor's note: Weider had debuted its own countertop automated protein shake vending machine in spring 2015 that blends and dispenses its soluble drinks in nonfrozen format. | READ MORE
Nice Vend said it has developed syrup with only five calories per serving, that, when blended on demand in the machine with water and ice, produce slushies that comply with the U.S. Department Agriculture's school nutrition guidelines.
Nice Vend founder and chief executive Udi Klier explained that frozen textured drinks require a minimal sugar (Brix) content, or they freeze into a solid block. This, he said, is why low-calorie slushies are hard to come by and why its new offering, initially available in strawberry, green apple, pineapple mango and grape, is unique and easy to prepare using the Quinzee's on-demand preparation technology.
The company has developed another school-friendly drink. It's an all-natural smoothie that contains 92% to 95% fruit, which qualifies as the fruit component of a meal.
Klier said Nice Vend has more partnerships in the works, including a collaboration with a tea company to produce branded machines that vend its iced black, green and chai teas in slushie forms. It's also in talks with a national ice cream brand to pilot its ice cream pop in a drinkable format vended through the Quinzee machine.
For convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, Nice Vend is designing a countertop model of its Quinzee machine. Its syrups and powders, mixed on demand with ice and water, Klier explained, enable larger quantity and variety than traditional slushie machines since its flavors syrups and powders are mixed with water and ice on-demand and only after the desired flavor is chosen. Its current full-size model offers a selection of eight flavors.