A cleaner, greener vending machine After evidence of recurrent contamination in traditional beverage vending machines, the EU has embarked on an initiative to redevelop vending concepts and create much more hygienic and eco-friendly equipment. Climate Change and Environment © Thinkstock In principle, beverage vending machines that mix concentrated products with water are convenient and cost-effective. However, bacteria lurking in the depths of the machine can contaminate the equipment and cause food poisoning, an important issue considering the rapid rise in these machines' popularity. To address this issue, the EU-funded SAFEVEND initiative designed cleaner, healthier vending systems. It worked on developing vending machines that offer high-quality fruit juices, taking into consideration nutrition, food hygiene and power consumption. SAFEVEND began its efforts by identifying and monitoring bacterial growth in existing equipment in order to design microbe-free systems. It outlined its targets and specifications for a much safer product, not only in terms of eliminating contamination but also in terms of boosting nutrition. The project's objectives were very ambitious: to position Europe as a leader globally, keeping in mind that both the United States and Japan have been developing more modern systems as well. In addition, SAFEVEND aimed to generate more job opportunities through this new industry and contribute to a healthy environment by significantly decreasing energy consumption of vending systems. By the end of the project, the developers involved had designed the different components of the new vending system and tested it with very good results, producing a fully-functioning, ultra hygienic prototype. The patenting and exploitation opportunities of this technology promise to usher in a new era in vending technology.