Have you seen, or tried, a baby-item vending machine yet?
The first details results of an adult consumer survey, which illustrate that while the percentage of people who buy organic over the past two years hasn't budged, what has changed is where they're buying it. Fewer sales are coming from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and natural foods stores, with more generated at Target and conventional grocers such as Safeway.
Government changes in food policy and the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will also impact the number of organic vending machines; vending franchises expect "exponential" growth in organics this year, as schools, offices, and gyms trade in Twinkies and Oreos for the likes of gluten-free granola, organic yogurt, and fresh fruit.
Do you anticipate buying more organic in the coming year?
Could bread baked from scratch soon become an antiquated craft? In Germany, bakers fear it already has. Supermarket Aldi Süd has over 600 backofens, or bread "baking ovens," vending machines that boast the slogan "fresh out of the oven — direct into the bag."
According to The Wall Street Journal, the German grocery chain plans to roll them out in all of its 1,780 outlets. The machines boast speed and efficiency, dispensing warm bread by heating already-shaped, partially baked dough in seconds for less than it costs to buy a pack of gum.
But in Germany, where the average citizen consumes 192 pounds of bread a year and bakers train for a minimum of three years, bakers are up in arms. The German Bakers' Confederation is seeking legal recourse, accusing Aldi Süd of deceptive advertising.
It will be interesting to see if Aldi expands its concept to North America, although I'm not sure the automat has staying power in the US. Still, there's no denying the convenience and affordability factor. Do you think bread vending machines could take off stateside?
Source: Flickr User David Boyle
I was at a New York airport recently when I came across these vending machines. Rather than vending typical fare like chips and sodas, these machines sold warmed-up hot dogs, fries, onion rings, and other prepared foods. I wasn't hungry (and I was about to miss my flight), so I didn't spring for them, but otherwise I might have. What about you — would you have given them a try?
- Watermelon, goat cheese, greens, and balsamic vinegar come together to make the Summer's prettiest salad.
- Watermelon, goat cheese, greens, and balsamic vinegar come together to make the Summer's prettiest salad. — The Recipe Girl
- Interested in trying a new wine? Here are 25 bottles under $25 that are worth sipping now. — Forbes
- Meet the world's largest six pack of beer. — So Good
- Learn how to use leftovers as ingredients in delicious new dishes.— iVillage
- An Arnold Palmer is refreshing on a hot Summer day. — Baking Bites
- Picnic perfect: Barefoot Contessa's Caesar Salad Club Sandwich. — Noble Pig
- Lighten up with these five delicious treats that are under 250 calories. — FitSugar
- Would you purchase piping hot pizza from a vending machine? — Slashfood
Vending machines aren't exactly renowned for their variety, with choices pretty much limited to chips or candy and soda or water. But according to the Chicago Sun-Times, the National Automatic Merchandising Association held its vending-machine expo in Chicago last week, and there are plenty of cool, if slightly bizarre, developments on the vending-machine front.
Among the innovations mentioned in the article:
- A new vending machine that dispenses grilled hot dogs and sausages "snuggled in soft, warm buns."
- South Beach Diet vending machines that will sell healthy, diet-approved snacks, including sugar-free Jell-O, Wheat Thins, Crystal Light, and lunch wraps.
- An Internet-connected machine that will let parents log on to limit the number of snacks their kids can buy.
Can you imagine trying to sneak a second bag of chips at lunch and being denied by parental controls? Geez. Still, my favorite has to be the hot dog machine. At first, it sounded gross, then I thought: If hot dogs from a cart are tasty, why not a vending machine? So tell me, would you eat a hot dog from a vending machine?
What if I told you that you could have whatever you wanted out of the vending machine for free? You'd think I was talking crazy, wouldn't you? Turns out it's not such a crazy idea. Vending machine operator Apex Corp. (sorry folks they only vend in Japan) is trying out this idea. They'll soon offer coffee & other non-alocholic beverages for free (or at a low price), but there's one small catch - you have to sit through a 30-second advertisement before you get your beverage. The machines will be posted in areas that would "best suit the customers targeted by the advertisers," but then, what else would you expect?
Source: The Food Section