The vending machine resembles something out of a “Portlandia" sketch. Made from reclaimed wood and surrounded by real plants…the kiosk is stocked at 10 a.m. every day with an array of fresh salads and snacks consisting mainly of organic, locally grown produce and assembled at a nearby kitchen just hours before. Whatever is left at the end of each day is donated to a local food pantry.
SPECIAL: Fresh, Healthy, and Clean Food in a Vending Machine?
Yes! And it’s amazing. These yummy organic choices are free of preservatives, dyes and additives—and super tasty. But just as important, they are offered by way of a vending machine—meeting the needs of busy urbanites with precious little time and opportunity to eat clean and healthy on their lunch hour.
"My realization was that I could make fresh food and put it in a vending machine without adding any preservatives or other junk and it would taste good." -Luke Saunders, founder of Farmer’s Fridge
The result is a diverse menu that ranges from “The Cheater,” a modified classic Cobb salad, to “The Junk Food Eraser,” a detox salad stocked with kale, quinoa, sprouts, fennel, blueberries and pineapple with a cider vinegar-lemon dressing on the side. Available separately are proteins — lemon-pepper chicken, tofu, tuna and salmon — as well as a handful of sides, including Greek yogurt with berries and sliced vegetables with hummus. The salads start at $8, proteins (except salmon) are $2 and the sides cost $4.25.
With a growing following — when was the last time you saw a vending machine with a five-star Yelp rating? — and national press coverage from Fast Company and other outlets, Saunders faces his next problem, one any startup would love to have: how to keep up with the almost overwhelming demand.