First protein shake vending machine appears in UK retail space

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Bio-Synergy Boots Vending machine functional beverage beverage

In response to increased consumer demand for ready-to-drink (RTD) sports nutrition beverages, UK-based health and beauty retailer Boots have installed a first-of-its kind protein shake vending machine

Installed in the retailer’s Manchester branch, the vending machine is the creation of sports nutrition brand Bio-Synergy and offers a range of dairy and plant-based beverages for €3.28 (£3) a shake.

The vending machine uses 50% rPET recyclable takeaway cups with an option for consumers to use their own as part of sustainability efforts by the UK-based firm to reduce carbon impact.

“We are incredibly excited to be the first sports nutrition brand to bring on-the-go protein shakes to the retail space with Boots,”​ says Bio-Synergy’s founder Daniel Herman.

“Since starting Bio-Synergy over 20 years ago, there has been a definite shift in the type of consumer interested in sports nutrition.

“Traditionally seen as a space for gym goers, athletes and sports people, it’s amazing the varied customers we get now, who are choosing to enhance their well-being and fitness through sports nutrition and supplementation.”

Retail, forecourts & gyms

Formed in 1997, Bio-Synergy are now looking to extend the concept into retail, forecourts and especially gyms, where consumers are looking for a protein-rich alternative to high sugar, high-calorie drinks and snacks pre- and post-workout.

The innovation comes as market research company Kantar reveals the broader sports nutrition category are still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.

Latest figures suggest sales of sports nutrition products were down 22.6% over the 12 weeks to 9 August – a €10.2m (£9.3m) drop compared with the same period the previous year. Within the category, powdered drinks were down 12.6% (£0.5m).

The RTD category’s penetration into the mainstream received a boost this time last year as functional food firm Huel revealed details of an agreement with Sainsbury's to stock its nutritionally complete meal on supermarket shelves for the first time.

Previously only available on Huel’s website​​, ​the firm’s range of Ready-To-Drink (RTD) products would roll out to the 500 Sainsbury’s stores located across the country.

With Huel launching in Sainsbury’s stores, plans are now afoot to introduce its products into Selfridges, WeWork Southbank and Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge.

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