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| Education and Financial

04/18/14

Vend for yourself: Vending machines migrate from simple to spectacular

The design of the vending machines has evolved from simplistic sanctuaries for snacks to gadgets that sports claws and elevator type designs for soda, chips and cookies.
But the actual items within those same vending machines typically has been the same for years. You'll have a few exceptions, like that unwanted tuna sandwich wrapped tightly in Saran Wrap or the stray apple that is as equally passed over as that tuna.
Until recently, the vending machine was stuck in neutral as far as items offered within them. Today's vending isn't quite as bland or boring with visionaries and manufacturers alike opting to include options that go above and beyond the norm.
Take a quick peak at the vending machines at your gym or health club, and you'll be surprised to find that the sugary and salty snacks have been supplanted by healthier choices such as protein shakes and all things organic.
Seeing Doritos and Hostess Apple Pies in a vending machine that sits in a health club seems terribly out of place.

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What also is hard to imagine is a vending machine that serves actual food versus a quick drink or snack. No, the aforementioned tuna sandwich doesn't count, either. Real food would be deli style sandwiches, salads or even pizza.
Those might sound a bit far fetched coming from a vending machine, but you'd be surprised to hear that not only is that not totally unheard of but actually exists.
Take Let's Pizza for example.
This prototype vending machine allows starving consumers to wait only three minutes to enjoy an entire, not just one slice, pizza. One would assume that Let's Pizza is a paltry attempt at pizza that somehow houses stale, unsavory pie that nobody could possible want. That's hardly the case as this vending machine magically pounds the dough, adds the sauce and allows customers to choose from a multitude of toppings.
In the same vein as Let's Pizza is Farmer's Fridge and Corner Chips. The former is quite appealing to the health food market more so than the protein shakes or powdered drinks. Farmer's Fridge packs quite the punch as they fill plastic mason jars with salads, among other selections that surely shouldn't be available in a vending machine. Corner Chips finds itself on the opposite end of the vending spectrum comparatively speaking to Farmer's Fridge. Corner Chips is a vending machine in Belgium that dishes out delectable and debauchery in the form of French fries, completely with the condiment of your choice.
Between pizza, salad and French fries, the landscape of the vending machine finally is getting the much needed kick in the pants it needed to finally move away from snacks and into the realm of foods that are equal parts fetching and fabulous for when you need an actual meal.

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