U.S. demand for vending machines is forecast to rise nearly 6 percent per year, reaching U.S. $1.6 billion in 2006, according to research firm Freedonia Group. After a sluggish year in 2001, sales will rebound due to the rising number of vending locations, which will create demand for equipment. In addition, Freedonia says that gains will result from the implementation of new technology, as innovations such as cashless machines raise average prices. Beverage vending machines, which comprised more than 40 percent of demand in 2001, will continue to be the largest product category. Food vending machines are also expected to experience gains due to the improving image of vended food items. Workplaces are the most common destinations for vending machines, with more than 60 percent of the total in 2001. Other fast growing locations are retail establishments and health care facilities.
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