Left woman at the PC, right Selecta machine
IoT Climate Award

Machine intelligence and sustainability ‘to go’

The company with the red-and-white vending machines is rapidly forging ahead with its programme of digitalisation as several examples show: touchscreens, contactless payment and IoT-controlled data capture using the mobile network for dynamic route planning. The Selecta Group operates some 25,000 self-service food and beverage machines in Switzerland, which averages out at around five per municipality. To benefit not just its clients but also the environment, the food tech leader has been cutting its carbon emissions for several years now.
Res Witschi
Res Witschi, Delegate for Sustainable Digitalization
27 May 2022

In March its new ‘Joy To Go’ slogan was launched together with a revamped website that describes what the people at Selecta endeavour to do every single day: to make everyone feel great wherever they are and whatever they need. ‘The group’s focus on sustainability and reduction in its carbon footprint aims to further boost this feeling,’ says Marissa Célette, chief strategy and sustainability officer. Data capture from the machines using telemetry is automatic. Data is processed for the supply chain and routes are planned at market headquarters, with twelve associates assigned to this task. To further drive the technology – including the entire system of cash-free payments – Selecta’s Research and Development Department has a further six FTE employed for this purpose in Switzerland alone, plus more throughout the rest of Europe.

Telemetry for fewer replenishment journeys

Since very recently, Selecta has known exactly which products are purchased where. By logging sales data using an IoT solution, not only can missing products be monitored in real time; the routes for replenishment journeys can also be better planned and any faults immediately recorded. ‘In the past, Selecta had 25,000 points of sale, over which we had very little control. A joy ambassador [author’s note: this is what the employees who replenish the machines are called] first had to be on site to find any faults and establish which products needed to be restocked,’ clarifies Célette.


Thanks to the new technology and the dynamic route planning system derived from it, efficiency and client satisfaction have increased, and profitability has thus been boosted. In the year following installation of the telemetry solution, over 880,000 fewer kilometres were travelled. A next milestone is to use the anonymised data and in this way record consumer requirements in real time with the aim of implementing loyalty programmes. ‘The biggest challenge here is to solve the paradox between a high degree of individuality on the one hand and a high level of standardisation on the other regarding the 25,000 points of sale in Switzerland,’ explains Frank Keller, Managing Director Selecta Switzerland.

Covid-19 and other influencing factors

‘As regards sustainability, the biggest challenge is to determine exactly which carbon emissions are cut using telemetry and which impact external factors have, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, for instance,’ explains Célette. Additional initiatives are planned so that the collected data can be correctly assessed and to also ensure that emissions can be further reduced despite a growing business volume. The company’s savings target is to be reached by further optimising routes and by changing over to fully electric and hybrid vehicles. These are already in service across Selecta’s markets. Increasing the use of renewable energy is also a key objective for Selecta and, as the chief strategy and sustainability officer continues, ‘Selecta has set a target of net zero emissions by 2030 for scope 1 and 2 and by 2040 for scope 3.’

Making food tech even greener

The Selecta Group with its staff of over 7,000 has been headquartered in Switzerland since 1957. The food tech company’s self-service distribution network covers 16 countries in Europe – with coffee, vending and self-service market solutions installed in public spaces but also in private environments such as larger businesses. The next steps towards making Selecta a more climate-friendly food tech industry have already been drawn up. In the summer of 2022, the remaining 10,000 vending machines in Switzerland will be converted to the telemetric system. Marissa Célette describes the further procedure as follows: ‘Besides our environmental targets, we’re focused on offering more sustainable solutions to our clients. This includes offering energy efficient machines, working with our suppliers to offer more sustainable packaging and cutting down on the amount of food and other waste.’

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