Moving America Forward

How to Turn a Vending Machine into a Farmers’ Market

December 20, 2013
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How to Turn a Vending Machine into a Farmers’ Market
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Step one: Stop calling it a vending machine.

Ready for a healthy meal? Hit the vending machine. Luke Saunders put up the first Farmer’s Fridge at Garvey Food Court in the Chicago Loop, and the smart idea is already expanding. It’s a high-tech, low-cost spin on vending machines: The automated, refrigerated kiosk dispenses fresh, healthy salads for as little as $6.99. In addition to gourmet salads, Farmer’s Fridges serve healthy breakfasts and snacks, with local, nutrient-dense ingredients. The team makes everything fresh each weekday morning, seals the items in recyclable plastic jars, and delivers them daily by 10 a.m., keeping internal costs low enough to offer low prices to rushed workers and hurried shoppers. They cut no corners on health, sourcing and preparing each meal carefully, and partnering with New York-based SPE Certified for independent validation of their products’ nutritional values. Customers are flocking to their smart balances of whole grains, veggies and lean protein, and if any items are left at the end of the day, Farmer’s Fridge donates the food to local charities. Look out, Chicagoans, a new kiosk might be in your neighborhood soon.

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