HUMAN Healthy Vending is the type of company that gets our minds racing and hearts pumping; they are tackling a difficult problem with unique ingenuity.
Much has been written about the obesity problem in the US, and all one has to do is gaze around at any public gathering spot and the evidence is there: we didn’t look like this 20 years ago. Apart from our cultural desire to gorge ourselves, one contributing factor is the rise of production and marketing of overly processed, fat inducing foods.
HUMAN Healthy Vending combines technology and innovation to make healthy foods as convenient as junk foods.
The Founding of HUMAN Healthy Vending
The company was founded in 2008 by Sean Kelly and Andy Mackensen, with the goal of making healthy food available everywhere. They realized the need within the market when, after a workout in a New York City gym one evening, Kelly couldn’t find a healthy food option anywhere within a 10 block radius of the gym.
The acronym-name they chose for the company speaks volumes about their big goals: Helping Unite Mankind and Nutrition.
HUMAN Healthy Vending bills themselves as the world’s first 100% healthy vending company, and they have big goals of placing 10,000 machines across the US (in every state) by 2015.
How HUMAN Healthy Vending Works
The vending machine business is not one normally associated with healthy living, but HUMAN does have competition. They have focused on single serving healthy snacks placed in the right locations; defining the right locations appears to be one thing they are laser focused on.
The company attributes much of their success to:
The overwhelming importance we place on Location, Discovery, & Acquisition for our franchisees, acting as if each franchise is were our very own business, and placing more focus on quality than speed of launch.
The company sources all of the product packages, and they include the standard healthy snacks, some you probably haven’t heard of, and some of what they call “the lesser evil” healthy products. Machines may also include fresh fruit and vegetables.
HUMAN Healthy Vending machines don’t look like your standard machines – a point that the company highlights on their website, understanding that the entire customer experience must be different for the consumer. This has been very successful in schools, where a ‘fun’ or unique experience resonates with kids.
The Social Good Element of HUMAN Healthy Vending
Those of you who regularly read this series know that I often turn to the B-Corporation website to find companies doing social good, and it’s where I found HUMAN Healthy Vending; I’d never heard of them prior to seeking out a unique company on the B Corp site.
The HUMAN site is very focused on selling to franchisees, so I turned back to the B Corp site to get a more succinct description of the company’s social good. Here it is in a nutshell:
HUMAN donates 10% of its profits to promote improved nutrition and entrepreneurial education in underserved schools via its charity HUMAN Everywhere.
At HUMAN Healthy Vending, our mission is to make healthy food more convenient than junk-food through the placement of 100% healthy and interactive vending machines in schools, hospitals, gyms and corporate locations across the globe. We consider ourselves disruptors of the $42B vending industry that, for decades, has been peddling junk food to children and adults alike.
HUMAN Healthy Vending’s Use of Social Media
The website is chalk full of You Tube videos – they practically clobber you over the head with their not-so-user-friendly auto play on every single page. You can, of course, pause them but it’s difficult to consume any of the text information while the reels keep spinning and un-pausing themselves. One would imagine that a serious potential francisee would find this annoying to the point of distraction.
HUMAN Healthy Vending’s Facebook Page has a decent sized following of over 75,000 followers, and although it is active, it isn’t highly engaged.
The company Twitter account shows a much smaller 4000+ following, and it too indicates activity, although more sporadic and not as engaged as it could be.
Flickr, Pinterest and Google+ round out their social presence with similar findings. It is obvious that You Tube is their darling, and I’m not suggesting that HUMAN Healthy Vending needs my advice – I just see so much potential for them on Social Media.
The Future Looks Bright for HUMAN Healthy Vending
Considering the press they have received from the likes of Forbes, Entrepreneur and mainstream media, it is clear that HUMAN Healthy Vending has struck a chord with their message; they make no bones that their business model takes direct aim at America’s “Obesity Epidemic.”
Inc. magazine has named them one of Inc 500: Fastest Growing Private Companies in America 2013, and highlights a 3 year growth rate of 2,378%, with 2012 revenues of over $9 million.
The reasons for HUMAN Healthy Vending’s success are quite clear: not only did they begin with a new and disruptive idea (something we see in many successful social good companies), but they obviously have great business minds at work. While one partner focuses heavily on the business end of things – product and especially placement of machines – the other is focused on marketing.
It is the perfect recipe for incredible success, and I expect to see their meteoric growth continue. Those of us looking for alternative to junk food gleefully cheer them on.
VP of Content & Strategy at ArCompany. She has an extensive background in Sales, and focuses on generational marketing and content. With Hessie Jones she founded ArCompany’s Millnnnial, GenX and Boomer Think Tanks and writes and speaks on those topics from an insights/strategy perspective.