UK-based company Smart Vend Solutions has invented a vending machine that uses facial recognition technology to remember users' previous purchases and product preferences.
When linked to an existing database of self-registered subscribers, the machine is able to personally greet customers, recall their past purchases and even refuse to sell them products based on their age, dietary requirements and medical history.
This could enable the technology to prevent an individual suffering with diabetes from purchasing a high-sugar product, or someone with a nut allergy from buying an item that contains nuts.
With health and wellness increasingly becoming a priority for consumers, responsive vending machine operators are replacing unhealthy crisps, chocolate and candy with healthier alternatives.
California-based Human Healthy Vending only retails premium snacks that are free from nitrates and artificial flavours in its machines. Meanwhile, US-based hotel chain Marriott International has introduced Farmer's Fridge vending machines, which only stock healthy salads, in select hotel lobbies. For more on upgraded vending concepts, see Future Food Vending and Future Service: Responsive Hotels.
For further insight into ways in which new technologies are allowing consumers to track their eating and drinking habits, see Intelligent Food, Next-Gen Dieting, Calorie-Counting Tech Tools, Smart Chopsticks and Wearable Nutritionist.