... The so-called Great Recession ushered in the longest period of vending price increases in recent history, although the gains fell far short of making up for the unit sales decline. Operators raised prices on candy and snacks more than any other category and more than in the previous year, despite fewer manufacturer price increases in 2009 than 2008. Absorbing the cost was another tactic, followed by reducing service frequency and reducing unprofitable accounts. Medium-size operators (those with between $1 million and $5 million in annual sales) continued to lose sales to small and large competitors in 2009. Manual feeding took the biggest hit of all product segments in 2009, declining 17.8 points..