During last week’s Self-Service Innovations Virtual Summit, "Why Fresh Food Vending is the Industry's New Darling" there was a terrific panel discussion
All of us at SupermarketGuru, The Lempert Report and the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance want to wish you and yours a safe and happy Holiday Season. We are going on a brief hiatus till after the New Year [ and no, we are not traveling or partying – just staying home] – so we will see you right back here on Monday January 4th.
During last week’s Self-Service Innovations Virtual Summit, "Why Fresh Food Vending is the Industry's New Darling" there was a terrific panel discussion between Drew Munro, co-founder and CEO of Upmeals, of Vancouver, Canada, Arne Saupe, director of engineering at Farmer's Fridge, Sam Hale, founder of Nutrimeals, Calgary, Canada, and Todd Madlener, president and COO of Coolgreens. The discussion was meaningful as 3 of the 4 are caterers rather than typical vending operators who are struggling do to the pandemic and are innovating in new areas – like vending. They are doing fresh. They are doing healthy. They are doing customized. They are doing sustainable.
Farmer's Fridge, provides wood-paneled kiosks with a glass front displaying freshly prepared food packaged in recycled plastic jars.
"Being able to have a vending machine that gives you something different than just snacks is something that's appealing in general," Saupe said. He further said technology has improved that can more easily guarantee food safety.
"Everything you get from a vending machine is safe," Munro said. "You're not purchasing that from a retail environment where perhaps 15 or 20 people have picked up that salad bowl before you're purchasing it."
He went on to say "It's also a real approachable way for consumers to try specific diets or specific dishes that maybe are a little intimidating for them to try cooking at home or going to the store or going to a restaurant, something like a keto or paleo meal."
Coolgreens then hired a person experienced operating micro markets who taught them how to set up delivery routes. The next step was to create packaging to provide restaurant-quality meals in an appealing manner.
Munro said retail prices in vending are 20%-30% more cost-effective than similar items available from a delivery service or a caterer. "That's sort of the sweet spot in the market where we're trying to add value for our partners." Madlener said his products retail from $7-$10 for entrees and beverages and snacks that are less expensive, while Hale said the prices in his machine are $9-$10. Happy Holidays.