Soon-to-be introduced EEC legislation concerning allergen labelling will affect the vending industry.
Allergen labelling refers to the presence of an identified allergen that may cause intolerance or allergy at the point of sale. Any allergens must therefore be clearly identified to consumers, should it be contained within a particular product. So, if a consumer stands in front of a vending machine, they should be able to get all the necessary information about possible allergens contained in any particular product prior to making a purchase.
The new legislation only stands to affect non pre-packaged food sold from vending machines. Pre-packaged snack food vending is exempt, however vending machines that contain loose ingredients are not. Products vended in a powdered or loose format within hot drinks machines, such as whole or milled coffee beans; instant or soluble tea; soup powder; whitener etc. are all included under the new law.
The new legislation is not set to come into force until December 2014, but the average time taken for machine development is 18 months, which means that machine manufacturers need to think now about what is going to be law and how machines can display the correct, legal information to consumers – whether that is via LED screen or an additional button on the machine’s housing.