Daily

CLASSY CONVENIENCE

Vending machines offer high-end food and beverages

More than a fifth of youth and a quarter of Trendsetters say non-traditional luxury categories such as food have become luxuries, and their high spending on eating and drinking experiences supports this. New vending machines are combining the convenience of grab-and-go with high-end items to appeal to young consumers.

CHAMPAGNE

Alcohol-infused sweets are having a moment, but for consumers who prefer their bubbly in a more traditional form, mini bottles of champagne can be purchased from a new vending machine in New Orleans. A Moët and Chandon machine was installed inside Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, and bottles can be purchased for $20 using a special gold coin for sale at the bar. Inside a bar known for its specialty champagne cocktails, the vending machine is more about the novelty than the convenience.

OYSTERS

Fresh oysters are available 24/7 from a vending machine on France’s Ile de Re island. Oyster farmer Tony Berthelot invested in the vending machine to make additional profits during off-hours when his farm is closed. Customers can purchase a variety of types and quantities of oysters with their bank cards from the glass-paneled machine. As A.I. and robotic innovations advance, even running entire restaurants, human-free service interactions are becoming more the norm, and the vending machine is taking the place of manually-serviced roadside food stalls.

VEGAN MEALS

As the vegan diet proves to be anything but a passing fad, vegan eateries and animal product substitutes continue gaining popularity. LeCupboard of San Francisco is taking vegan meals to a new venue: vending machines. The machines feature pre-packaged food for every meal of the day, such as chia pudding cups, zucchini noodle bowls, and lentils. The machine also uses tech to help customers choose the best option for their dietary needs. Currently stocking 10 machines in San Francisco, leCupboard has raised $2.2 million in funding to expand to more locations in and out of the Bay Area.