AWESOME!!! Progress at last…
At the Garvey Food Court in downtown Chicago–a somewhat bleak place that Yelp reviewers call “sketchy” and even “scary”–there’s plenty of typical fast food fare. Dunkin Donuts, Popeyes, McDonalds, and other chains ring the hallway. But in the center of the food court, things are a little different: Last fall, an entrepreneur named Luke Saundersopened Farmer’s Fridge, a vending machine that sells fresh kale and strawberries instead of candy.
Each morning, the machine is filled with freshly made salads and snacks packed in recyclable jars. The ingredients, carefully layered to stay crisp throughout the day, are all organic, and locally grown when possible.
“I have always been someone who sought out healthy food, and I have been a bit obsessed with the food industry my entire life,” Saunders says. “I really noticed how hard it was to eat healthy when I was traveling a lot for work, and I started thinking about ways to give healthy food an edge in the market.”
By forgoing the rent and staff costs of a restaurant, Saunders can start to compete with the chains. He says he prefers the vending machines–which he calls kiosks or “veggie machines”–to selling the food in grocery stores, since the machines give him control over the user experience and distribution model.