A visit to the vending machine can yield chocolate, chips or soda … but what about salad?
Chicago, Illinois-based Farmer’s Fridge founder Luke Saunders says vending-machine salad isn't really such a crazy concept.
“We do Mason jar salads, so everything is perfectly layered. We keep ingredients like tomatoes on the bottom and lettuce at the top, and that keeps everything fresh in there,” says Saunders. In addition to an innovative product, Farmer’s Fridge vending machines don’t look like the typical office standby, thanks to woodsy paneling and “grass” features.
“The idea was to have a more distributed healthy food network,” says Saunders. “I was traveling a lot for work, and I realized it was hard to put up a full-scale healthy food restaurant when demand wasn’t there. But there were people who wanted this option.”
The average cost of a salad is $8. Each morning, Farmer’s Fridge restocks the machines; discounted salads are available after 6 p.m. The company's healthy-food kiosk is now up and running in three locations with open contracts for 20 more in the coming weeks.
“And from there, we’ll kind of catch our breath and see if the model is working as we scale. And then our goal is to become a national brand,” says Saunders.