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FRESH TO-GO

Upscale vending machines offer fresh food options

Self-service store concepts are growing, offering convenience to shoppers and creating different opportunities for workers. Typical vending machines are one such shopping experience being given an upgrade to offer cashier-less options for fresh food products. 

APPLESTONE MEAT CO.

Although meat substitutes of all forms are becoming more widely available, many consumers are still eating the real stuff. Now, meat lovers in upstate New York have 24/7 access to fresh beef, pork, lamb, and sausage from two vending machines stocked by Applestone Meat Co. Sourced from a family farm, raw meat is never held in the refrigerated—not frozen—machine for over a week. The company likens the vending machine to a butcher case at a supermarket and has plans to add more locations, including expansion into Manhattan.

LUSTENBERGER & DÜRST SA

Trying new food and beverages is one of the things young generations love the most about traveling around the world, and visitors to Cham, Switzerland will be able to try, if not a food that is new, then at least a new way to get it. Lustenberger & Dürst SA launched a vending machine to dispense its cheese 24/7. The machine is stocked with seasonal cheeses for raclette, fondue, and other dishes, as well as snacks including meat and crackers to pair with the cheese, and drinks. 

THINTOP TECHNOLOGY COMPANY

Thintop Technology Company manufactures smart vending machines that dispense more than the usual candy, chips, and soda—buyers from machines in a Shenzhen subway station in China can also purchase pastries, tofu, chicken feet, prepared eggs, fresh vegetables, and cooked noodles. The machines engage with consumers through interactive audio, video, and touchscreens, and accept mobile payment methods. Smart sensors are able to track foot traffic and consumer purchasing patterns, and the company is even able to adjust prices in real time based on demand.