- Honest Tea, the beverage brand owned by Coca-Cola, next week will launch an interactive vending machine concept nationwide that lets customers donate to charity. Customers will have a chance to increase their transaction amount with an "Up Your Impact" purchase and vote on philanthropic projects they'd like to support, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
- Honest Tea is donating the proceeds to Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit that sets standards for products that promote sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers and protect the environment, and the Organic Farming Research Foundation, which seeks to advance organic agriculture.
- The vending machines are labeled with the phrase, "Choose a Drink That Makes a Difference," and will be installed at Chelsea Piers in New York, Grand Park in Los Angeles, Cherry Street Piers in Philadelphia and Bethesda Row in Bethesda, Maryland. The vending machines will be available from July 16 to Aug. 30.
Honest Tea's interactive vending machines that let customers donate to charity aim to strengthen affinity for the beverage brand while demonstrating the company's commitment to fair trade and sustainable farming. Consumer awareness of these issues has grown in the past decade, with 58% of U.S. adults saying they're more likely to try products and services from companies that are mindful of their environmental and societal effects, according to Natural Marketing Institute data cited by Fair Trade USA. About two-thirds (65%) of American shoppers said they trust a product more if it's certified by Fair Trade USA, and 75% of millennials said the certification was important to their purchase decisions.
Honest Tea's vending machine may compel more consumers to buy its products if they know they're contributing to a good cause and they feel as if they're making healthier food choices. The U.S. vending machine industry has been in decline as per-capita soda consumption stagnates amid a shift in consumer buying habits to healthier beverages. Revenue for the U.S. vending machine operators industry is forecast to decline at an annualized rate of 0.4% to $6.9 billion in 2019 from five years earlier, according to researcher IBISWorld. That decline includes a 2.5% drop this year, although a change in product mix toward healthier snacks, beverages and other food items, and increasing use of technology, is helping to reach new customers, the firm said.
While Honest Tea's campaign focuses on fair trade and organic farming, other beverage brands have worked to address the growing problem of plastic pollution in their cause-driven campaigns. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are launching interactive water coolers that let customers choose flavor and carbonation levels of the water that's dispensed into their personal, reusable bottles. Beer brand Corona last month launched a campaign to celebrate the week of World Oceans Day (June 8) that accepted plastic waste in exchange for beer at retailers and bars in several countries.