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Takeaway fruit ready to take vending business by storm
Encouraging the consumption of fruit anytime, anywhere, as an alternative to snacks such as chocolates, potato chips or other unhealthy foods is the philosophy behind Fru&tube; an innovative concept of takeaway fruit.
Without a doubt, the most innovative aspect of this concept is the unique tube-shaped container, very similar to those used for tennis balls, which in addition to facilitating the product's transport, protects its contents from accidental damage and keeps the fruit intact. Its pressure cap, free of adhesive materials, makes it possible to open and close the container as many times as desired. Ready-to-eat fruits of all calibres, which can be consumed without having to peel them, as well as cherry tomatoes, are packed in three different sizes.
So far, they have had an impact on the large retail market, having become available in supermarkets in Spain and other European countries, although they have recently discovered their enormous potential in the vending business.
"In many cases, people don't consume fruit because of the inconvenience of having to buy it or carry it everywhere. It is surprising to see how offering the fruit in the same way as unhealthy snacks, with a container that facilitates its consumption and transportation, leads to a considerable increase in consumption," explains Carlos Méndez, creator of Fru&tube.
This video shows how the vending machine works:
The first test with fruit tubes in a vending machine has been carried out at the Rey Juan Carlos University, in Móstoles. "The success has been resounding, taking into account that at this time there are only a few students in the university studying for exams, compared to the rest of the year. We are prepared to set up these machines in more universities, as well as in schools, hospitals, gyms or service stations.
Carlos points out that "we compete against unhealthy classic snacks, such as chocolates, so it is essential to offer fruit with lots of flavour for the consumer to repeat. Furthermore, it is essential to apply a policy of keeping prices affordable for the consumer. Many distributors have shown their interest in this concept for its sale in gourmet markets. My goal has never been to sell an expensive product, but to encourage the consumption of fruit and that everyone, regardless of age and purchasing power, has access to it."
The product is already distributed in France by Maroig Premieur at motorway service stations; in Italy, through Orchidea, at the country's three largest supermarket chains; and Eurogijbels is distributing it in Belgium, where between 1,000 and 1,500 vending machines are expected to be set up in two years.
The machines to be installed from now on will have the capacity for 150 Fru&tube tubes and will be equipped with a telemetry system so that the number of tubes available in the machine, the condition of the fruit and the preferences of consumers can all be monitored remotely and in real time.
The demand is such that Fru&tube needs new facilities with a greater capacity to handle larger volumes on a daily basis. "Since it is a new packaging format, we need to develop the machinery for the automation of its production. We are already very close to achieving that."