We’ve all done it. Hunger strikes and we search in desperation for food, only to find our best option is something out of a vending machine. For residents of Chicago, what they get out of that vending machine may be better, and better for them, than what most of us can hope to eat at restaurant.
The Farmer’s Fridge Automated Kiosk is the brainchild of entrepreneur Luke Saunders. With a background in the manufacturing industry, he decided it was time to pair vended and healthy food. “I’ve always been passionate about being healthy and healthy eating,” he said. “I wanted to know how to get the healthiest food out there. Make healthy food more available.”
Farmer’s Fridges mostly operate like standard vending machine. There are few notable exceptions, like the exteriors being made from recycled wood and the leftovers from each day being donated. This is done because everything in the kiosks is made fresh and delivered to the machines by 10 a.m. each day.
Featured in the kiosks are variety of salads made with fresh ingredients. Diners may then choose to add protein; chicken, tofu, tuner salmon; and/or snack like veggies and hummus or apples and almond butter. The kiosks also offer variety of drinks, ranging from coconut water to soda with natural sweeteners.
“Everything in the kiosk tastes good,” Saunders said. “And everything is vegetarian, except for the cheater salad [that salad contains eggs and turkey bacon].” Saunders compares using the Farmer’s Fridge kiosk to purchasing items at an online store. You can scroll the touchscreen to see what is available and can add to the basic menu items as you go.
All the food comes in reusable jars that not only can be put to use after your meal, but make good containers to eat out of. “Everyone’s been really talking about the jars,” Saunders said. In addition to a unique receptacle, the food out of the kiosks has full nutrition information available. This means you can know exactly what you’re eating, when you eat it.
Though currently only available in Chicago, Saunders said he wants toeventually expand Farmer’s Fridge to other areas. “Our first question was, ‘Is it going to work?’.” Saunders added that people seem to be responding well to the kiosks, and many come back every day to try something new.
Farmer’s Fridge is certainly helping Saunders’ goal of making healthy food more available to people. The idea of getting fresh, farm-quality food out of vending machine may seem little far-fetched, but it could be the beginning of taking down the processed junk currently being sold out of automated boxes.