When it comes to food vending machines, not everyone dispenses candy bars and bags of chips. Some of the strangest options in these machines come when a particular business needs a site-specific vending machine that will cater to the demands of those in the vicinity. Occasionally, offering an unexpected food will require the kiosk manufacturer to get creative in storing and serving the food to ensure the maximum freshness and food safety.
Just a sampling of the world’s oddest vending machines:
- French Fries – Freshly fried french fries are a vending machine option for those in Australia. A fryer inside the machine cooks frozen potatoes on demand, so the fries from the machine are always hot and fresh.
- Live Crabs – Cooks can purchase their own live crabs without the need to visit a seafood shop. In China, a vending machine keeps hairy crabs alive at 41 degrees Fahrenheit, the same temperature as a refrigerator. This ensures that the crabs are alive when purchased but in a sedated state from the cold.
- Pizza – Italy, the originator of the pizza, now offers pizza from a vending machine. These pies are prepared from scratch right inside the machine in just three minutes, with a viewing window to watch the entire process. That beats the 30 minutes or less guarantee of pizza delivery places.
- Bananas – Yes, we have bananas today in vending machines found in Japan. These sell plastic-wrapped bananas that are kept in a climate-controlled atmosphere to ensure their freshness. This proves that not everything from a vending machine is junk food.
- Pecan Pie – Apparently, a pecan farm in Cedar Creek, Texas, found that their homemade pecan pies sold in its retail store were so popular people wanted to be able to get them even if the store was not opened. The farm created a pecan pie vending machine stocked with the same freshly made pies found in the farm’s retail store. There is no word on if they have a coffee vending machine next to the pie machine.
- Wine – In Pennsylvania, a scanned ID card to verify age is required before using the wine vending machines found in supermarkets in the area. This machine lets shoppers choose bottles of wine or champagne while keeping the merchandise safe in the store from being hit by wayward shopping carts or careless kids.
Today, a kiosk manufacturer such as Zivelo, is not limited to shelf-stable items for stocking in a vending machine. Advances in storage and vending machine technology has allowed a wider range of food products to become available, keeping the field of food vending a dynamic market.