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Vending Machine Supplies: Find the Right Suppliers and Save Costs

Searching for vending machine supplies? Here’s a list with everything you need - vending machine snacks, vending machine food, and drinks for vending machines.


Any great vending business needs amazing locations to back them up. You'll also need an excellent product offering consisting of in-demand goods with good margins. You can maintain good margins by purchasing products for low prices and reducing other associated costs, such as brokerage fees and transportation costs.

Luckily for you, vending is a pretty established industry in the United States and numbers prove it. An extensive infrastructure already exists in all states to support the distribution of products to both small and big vending machine operators. This article will help you determine the right supplier for your vending machines.

What Items Sell Best in Vending Machines?

It is best to stock a vending machines with items that are in high demand. Products from popular brands that customers already know and trust are the easiest to sell. For snack vending machines, soda vending machines, or any other quality vending machines that require consistent restocking of popular items, its important to be aware of the top selling items consumers consistently want at their local convenience. Below are some of the best-selling vending items in America.

The Best-Selling Vending Machine Snacks

Snack vending machine are some of the most commonly found machines in the United States. When choosing the right vending machine supplier for your business, its important to ensure that you are able to consistently order any high volume items you sell quickly. The best-selling snacks (featured products) for vending machines include:

  • Snickers bars
  • Pop-tarts
  • Butterfinger
  • Milk Duds
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Cliff bars in chocolate, blueberry crisp, and crunchy peanut butter flavors
  • Sun Chips
  • Planters Trail Mix
  • Twix
  • Pretzels
  • Granola bars
  • Cheeze-its
  • Gum
  • Doritos
  • Cheetos
  • Milky Way

Snack machines tend to provide the highest amount of vending machine sales when compared to other commonly seen vending equipment, so it is important to find vending partners that can consistently provide these vending needs for your business.

The Best-Selling Drinks for Vending Machines

Soda vending machines can be a great return on your investment if placed at strategic locations. While drink machines are among the most commonly seen vending machines at high traffic locations, keeping consistent stock for these soda machines can be difficult due to the size and weight of bottles. Out of all assortment, it is best to give your customers a wide range of options, especially national brands they already know. The best-selling drinks in vending machines include:

  • Dasani and Aquafina water bottles
  • Monster and Redbull energy drinks
  • Vitamin water
  • Coca-Cola
  • Pepsi
  • Sprite
  • Mountain Dew
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Vitamin Water
  • Diet Coke
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Gatorade
  • Minute Maid.

To note for owners of refurbished machines, older style used vending machines for dispensing drinks can vary in shelf sizing depending on their age, so be sure any bottles you order through a supplier are the appropriate dimensions for your drink machines.

The Four Main Types of Vending Supply Sources

Product sourcing is an important aspect of making a vending machine business work. Your margins depend on how much you pay for the goods you sell and other direct costs, such as transportation costs.

You can get your products from four main sources: wholesalers, brokers, cash and carry suppliers, and membership clubs. Below is an explanation and a sign of how your choice may affect your costs, distribution, and margins.


Manufacturers sell their products in large quantities to wholesalers, who then markup the products and supply local retailers. You will find the a large selection of potential products for vending machines at local wholesalers as they supply a wide range of stores and institutions, some can even sell you a refurbished vending machine, a used vending machine, or vending parts directly to keep your fleet of machines up and running.

Your local wholesaler can likely deliver products within 24 to 48 hours. The main drawback of working with a wholesaler is that there may be extra fees in addition to wholesale prices for ordering products in small quantities. An established vendor with several locations would benefit significantly from working with a wholesaler, as the supplier will reward them for ordering products in large quantities.


Business brokers play a significant role in the success of new vending operators by providing helpful industry information and availing products in smaller quantities than vendors can buy from wholesalers or manufacturers. While wholesalers are the middleman between the vendor and the manufacturer, the broker is the middleman between the small vendor and the wholesaler.

Since brokers order products for several vendors in the same region, they have timely insights into which products are in demand. Such information can be handy if you are a new vendor with no first-hand market knowledge.

Brokers buy products in large quantities and benefit from bulk discounts. These cost savings may be passed onto you, thereby increasing your profit margins. Where no cost savings are passed to you, and you have enough snack machines to order large quantities, it makes sense to chart your own path and start dealing with wholesalers and manufacturers directly.

Cash and Carry Suppliers

The main drawback of dealing with wholesalers is that the minimum order quantity may be too large for your business. Cash and carry distributors solve this problem by carrying the same products a wholesaler carries but in smaller quantities. If you own a single snack machine for instance, it may make more sense to order through a cash and carry distributor.

Cash and carry suppliers usually have arrangements with specific wholesalers. They then sell the products by the case to small traders such as vending machine operators and local mom and pops. You can easily source products from these suppliers at your convenience if you have a car with good haulage space. Be mindful of the transportation costs - including gas and toll fees - and factor them into the price of your vending products.

Membership Clubs

When you want the convenience of ordering products locally, membership clubs are an excellent choice. Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club are the most popular stores in this segment. These stores sell individual products to retail customers and bulk other products by the case to vendors and other small retailers.

Buying products from membership clubs works the same way as in cash and carry suppliers, except that the clubs might have higher product markups on smaller orders. 

The prices of products can vary widely amongst membership clubs. For a product like a can of soda, you can find one store selling a can at half a dollar cheaper, which can be ~20% of the total price. As a vendor, such price differences are significant. It is best to visit all the membership clubs in your area and compare the prices of the products you want to buy.

Quality Vending Machine Supply Companies

You should shop around before you settle on a supplier for your vending business. It is okay to have more than one supplier. The goal is to get the best in-demand products at the best possible price, so its encouraged to shop around to find the best resource for your machines.

For a small business just getting started in the industry, you should also consider which of these suppliers offer any additional tech support or technical support on maintaining consistent stock for your machines, as a modern machine equipped with a credit card reader can actively keep track of inventory sold and automatically handle restocking if the technology is present.

If you have not purchased your first vending machine yet, finding a refurbished vending machines for sale that carry's this capability can greatly assist vending operators in optimizing profit.

Below are some of the supply companies you should evaluate to refill supplies in the future.

1. Costco

You can buy products in bulk from Costco. Costco also sells vending machines on top of that and falls into two categories: membership club and vending wholesaler. They have large warehouses and depots across the nation from where they do bulk volume sales, where you can order by the case or truckload. 

Costco also has a product called Costco Business Center, where you can make bulk purchases online, and they deliver them to your place of business. This service is available in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Los Angeles, North Jersey, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Francisco Bay, San Diego, and Seattle.

Costco has nearly all of the popular snacks and bottled beverages. They have snack bars, cookies, chips, popcorn, dried fruits, crackers, nuts, fruit snacks, and dried meats, among other snacks.

2. Sam’s Club

If you want a membership club with awesome club benefits, Sam’s Club is a great choice. You can easily make bulk purchases for your vending machine at their warehouses. A single order of 10 of the same item qualifies as a bulk purchase at Sam’s Club.

Cosco carries almost all the popular snacks and beverage brands in all their stores countrywide. They have more than 600 stores in the United States. Texas has 82 Sam’s Club locations, the highest of any state.

3. BJ’s

Headquartered in Malborough, MA, BJ’s is a membership-only wholesaler in 17 states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. With its discount pricing for members, you can source products for your vending dispensers at great rates.

BJ’s carries almost all popular national snack and bottled beverages in all their locations. The best-selling items such as Coca-Cola, peanut M&Ms, and Redbull are all available.

4. Vistar

With 20 distribution centers and 9 Merchant Marts’ spread out throughout the country, Vistar is one of the largest wholesale distributors in America. They have the network to be a reliable supplier for your vending machine business wherever you are in the US and are more than capable of handling your r vending equipment needs.

Vistar has a vast selection of national brands in all the verticals you care about, such as snacks, beverages, and candy. The company has extensive experience serving the vending and micro markets niche. They have dedicated services built specifically for vendors.

5. Walmart

When you want to buy locally, Walmart is a decent place to source vending products. Since their products are already priced for the end consumer, the product prices are likely to be higher than those of wholesalers. Walmart can be a lifesaver when you run out of stock and need a nearby store to restock. 

6. Order Directly From Coca-Cola

Coke allows retailers to order directly from them. They have local bottlers that also serve as local distributors. To find the bottler nearest to you, go to

Coca-Cola makes full line of several popular brands, including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Diet Coke, Dasani, Minute Maid, and Schweppes. Ordering from the company directly is a good idea as you will get these products at the low prices and so protect your margins.

7. Order Directly From Pepsi

As with Coca-Cola, you can order Pepsi products directly from the company without dealing with middlemen. Pepsi, the company, has several brands aside from Pepsi soda. They make AMP Energy, Aquafina, Cap’n Crunch, Cheetos, Cracker Jack, Mountain Dew, 7Up, Doritos, Frito-Lay, Fritos, and Gatorade, among other popular brands.

To Conclude:

Ultimately, to succeed in the vending business, you can’t make product-sourcing decisions based on what you have easy access to. You have to study what the customers want and give it to them. 

A high rate of repeat customers is agood sign and will maximize your chances of success. You assure loyalty by having quality in-demand products and ensuring that you have near-zero stockouts.

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