By Rieva Lesonsky

Who hasn’t bought a soda or some chips from a vending machine at some time in their lives? But what about fresh cupcakes, hot burritos or pricey tins of caviar?

Yes, entrepreneurs are selling all that and more from today’s vending machines. As up-to-date as that sounds, according to an article in The Los Angeles Times, we Americans have “fallen behind Europe and Asia” where apparently you can buy gold bars, eggs and live beetles from vending machines.

That, however, says The Times, is about to change. IBISWorld reports U.S. revenue from vending machines should hit $7.7 billion in 2019, up from $7.2 billion this year (revenues have been down for the past five years).

Most of us have heard about Sprinkles Cupcakes selling its wares from cupcake ATMs. The program is so successful that the company plans to put machines in all of its locations with 12 months. The Times talked to Denis Koci, the developer of Burritobox, which sells warm burritos from six machines around the Los Angeles market. Burritobox plans to add warm chips and salsa to its vending menu, and will introduce Pizzaboxes within the next six months. The company is now franchising.

One of the big areas of opportunity, says The Times, is selling to schools. Jamba Juice already has vending machines (JambaGo) in hundreds of schools.

The sky is apparently the limit. The owner of Beverly Hills Caviar told the newspaper her three machines (she calls them “automated boutiques”) already bring in 10 percent of her company’s revenue, and they’ve been in operation for less than two years.

Photo Courtesy: JambaGo

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+   and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.