Vending machines open up market for UK growers

JSR supplies out of Blairgowrie, Scotland, supplies fresh produce vending machines to farmers in the UK. Sales and marketing director Stuart Retson said many farmers now realise it is a viable way to sell all their produce, following the success of milk vending machines on dairy farms.

“Typically, folk that are still working with honesty boxes are being overrun. We are taking orders down in Kent all the way up to the north of Scotland. It has been extremely busy since March,” he told fpcfreshtalkdaily.co.uk. “Everything you get in a farm shop, you will see in one of these vending machines, from ready meals through to expensive Wagyu beef steaks, eggs, vegetables and dairy products.”

The machines are assembled in Germany and Italy, before being loaded with software that allows the farmer to track sales and be notified when it is time to re-stock. Orders are customised, with farmers deciding on how many lockers to have, whether they are cold, chilled or frozen, and what payment methods to use.

A monthly software charge of £18 and a service charge of £450 a year begins after the first 12 months of owning the machine, which covers breakdowns and maintenance.

“Farmers were reporting 70% of payments before coronavirus were contactless. Now that is up to 90% plus for machines that are offering both cash and card payments. People do not want to handle cash anymore,” Retson said.

Eggs, vegetables, jams, chutneys and honey are some of the products on offer in the machines. The coronavirus pandemic has boosted sales, with more people deciding to avoid busy supermarkets and long queues.


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