A meaty vending machine might be the next defense against coronavirus

Unmanned food vendors could be a popular option.


March 5, 2020

Photo: Tech Cafe (YouTube)

You can get practically anything out of a vending machine these days. Need proof? Look no further than South Korea, where an unmanned box o’meat is slinging fresh lamb, beef, and pork cuts to people who might be afraid to visit restaurants in light of the coronavirus.

It’s not clear exactly how much business the Meatbox 365 is dishing out, but a reader of The Spoon said that “in Korea, non-commercial, unmanned fresh food stores” — the beloved Meatbox included — “are popular because of the coronavirus.”

It’s not delivery, it’s vending

The Meatbox 365 hit the streets in October, and The Spoon’s discriminating palates are hailing it as the latest sign of a “golden age of vending machines.”

  • The company behind Bake Xpress and Le Bread Xpress has served up croissants, baguettes, pizzas, and turkey-and-brie sandwiches.
  • Chowbotics promises fresh, robot-prepared salads, with hospitals being an especially lucrative locale.
  • The Applestone Meat Company sells 24/7 cuts like its “Bone-Out Dry Aged Beef Ribeye Steak” from vending machines in 2 NYC locations.

Robots can even pop open a cold one

Two years ago, when the Florida-based La Galere Markets tried to open a boozy vending machine, the state liquor board blocked it.

But in January, an appeals court served the mini-mart with a pitcher of good news: Wine and beer vending machines, the court concluded, are perfectly legal in Florida.

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