Welcome to the future? Coca-Cola China integrates retail, recycling and AI technology in vending machine 

636741482924717968cover coca.jpg

03 Oct 2018 --- The Coca-Cola Company has launched a new vending machine concept in China where consumers can purchase beverages, as well as return and recycle used bottles and cans, marking the first concept equipment to combine beverage sales and packaging recycling by Coca-Cola China. The vending machine also uses AI technology such as facial recognition and sound interaction to provide an interactive experience to the consumers.

The technology seeks to balance beverage sales and recycling. Consumers who buy a beverage bottle may receive a reminder along the lines of: “you owe me a bottle, don’t forget to pay back,” via their mobile devices, consumers can also earn credits by recycling more. These credits can be used to send e-vouchers to friends for drinks or to purchase items made from recycled plastic.

Click to Enlarge
The machine automatically recognizes and classifies packaging materials
when consumers recycle their used products through the right “eye.”

The vending machine features two “eyes,” the left “eye” is the exit for purchased beverages and the right “eye” is the entrance for empty bottles to be recycled. The machines “mouth” and “eyebrows” are LED pixels controlled by artificial intelligence, which can change into various expressions. The expressions are also influenced by facial recognition and sound interaction.

The application of IoT technology and intelligent big data analysis also provides logistics distribution, operation and customer service support for the operation and distribution department, according to the company.

“We envision a system that allows vending machines also to collect used packaging,” explains Dr. Shell Huang, vice president, R&D, Coca-Cola Asia Pacific, which unveiled the innovation at Summer Davos in Tianjin, China. “It will help enhance recycling awareness among consumers and nurture recycling habits."

“We look forward to empowering supply chain systems throughout the region, enabling terminal equipment to balance beverage sales and packaging recycling, and improve forward logistics and reverse logistics. The economy; at the same time, it can help consumers to raise recycling awareness, develop recycling habits, and achieve recycling of packaging,” adds Huang.

Innovations such as the VenCycling machine support The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste vision to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030. 

Click to Enlarge
More than 200 Global Shapers from all over the
world discussed“Shaping a World Without Waste through
Innovation” at the Global Shapers Eventduring Summer Davos.

“VenCycling is an innovation for the company to achieve our global vision for sustainable packaging,” says Zhang Jianwei, Vice President of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea. “We will use our business efficiency to contribute to sustainable development in China.”

PackagingInsights has recently reported on Coca-Cola GB's recycling initiative that was rolled out across various UK attractions. The concept being that if consumers recycled a plastic bottle, they would get 50 percent off admission to the attraction.

The key aspect that the two vending machines have in common is the of use incentives for recycling. 

A key component of the typical Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) technology is incentivizing consumers to “do good” through the promise of a reward, money in the case of supermarket DRSs and or credits that can be spent on exciting products in the case of Coca-Cola China's Vencycling.

It is hoped that the use of incentives across the globe can drive up recycling rates.

By Laxmi Haigh

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst's sister website, PackagingInsights.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Business News

Bunge CEO Schroder to step down, takeover rumors reintensify

11 Dec 2018 --- Bunge has announced Soren Schroder will step down as CEO of the struggling agricultural giant. To ensure a smooth leadership transition, Schroder, who has headed the agriculture, food and ingredients supplier since 2013, will continue in his current role until a successor is named. The Board has established a search committee to identify the company’s next CEO.

Food Ingredients News

Flavor trends in 2019? Botanicals, ethnic, exotic and smokeless “smoke,” nuances hotly tipped for the new year, say suppliers

10 Dec 2018 --- Naturalness in flavors is expected to lead the way in 2019, although classic flavors are still anticipated to be in high demand across all categories. New combinations including botanical, ethnic and exotic flavors currently have the potential to meet consumers’ increasing demand for exciting new creations. These trends are tipped to become increasingly popular for the coming year. FoodIngredientsFirst spoke with key suppliers in the flavors space, who offered their insights into what we can expect to see trending in 2019.

Food Ingredients News

Weekly Roundup: Symrise strengthens biodiversity conservation and ethical sourcing commitment, Mondelez expands global capabilities in Poland

07 Dec 2018 --- This week, Symrise AG strengthened its commitment to biodiversity conservation and ethical sourcing as it passed the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) membership assessment and the Almond Board of California invested US$6.8 million in independent research projects exploring next-generation farming practices. Meanwhile, Mondelēz made a further investment in its Global Technical Center in Wroclaw, Poland, just 1.5 years after the initial US$17 million investment, to expand R&D activities beyond chocolate and bakery innovation. Finally, new research revealed that consumers in the UK will splash out on their groceries this Christmas, spending an average of £166 (US$212) per person during the festive period.

Food Ingredients News

Caramel color leaders stress FCC compliance as new maximum limit on detectable 4-MeI enters force in California

06 Dec 2018 --- Major caramel colors suppliers Sethness and DDW The Color House (DDW) have stressed their compliance with Food Chemical Codex (FCC) revised limits in light of the implementation of California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65) list of chemicals.

Food Ingredients News

Europe’s buoyant beer sector: Production reaches eight-year high bolstered by “record” exports

05 Dec 2018 --- Bolstered by record exports, a rise in micro-breweries and increased interest in low-alcohol products, Europe’s beer production rose to an eight-year high in 2017, according to The Brewers of Europe’s (BoE) latest report on Europe’s beer sector. Production increased by 200 million liters to 39.6 billion liters, exports reached an all-time high, with one in five beers shipped abroad and a third of that was to outside the EU.

More Articles