Pantry Seeks to Change the Vending Machine Game

That time in the afternoon comes around when blood sugar levels are low and that growl in one’s stomach returns. And while most people may head down the hall to hit up the closest vending machine, a new startup called Pantry is looking to shake things up. Instead of loading the machine with chips, cookies, candy bars and soda, Pantry believes that it can serve up healthy alternatives with the same convenience. So do 500 Startups, Menlo Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners, Loic Le Meur, Nir Eyal, Georges Harik, Entry Capital and Lemnos Labs, which have invested a combined $1.3 million into the company.

The fridge is stocked with fresh food, and customers can purchase a healthy snack via the attached Andriod tablet and credit card reader. The genius part of the vending machine is that customers do not even have to input what they have taken.

By harnessing RFID technology, the fridge automatically knows what has been removed and then charges the card swiped accordingly. It even keeps track of the freshness of the food and will send updates to the fridge’s owner when goods need to be thrown out or restocked.

The fridge’s inventors see the new vending machine as a great alternative investment for places like hospitals and universities, places that grant 24-hour access but only have fresh food available for limited hours. Pantry hopes that customers will be willing to forgo a candy bar in lieu of an apple now that its freshness is easily accessible.

The company already has test fridges at Stanford Hospital and UCSF. The company is still looking for other businesses interested in testing out the fridge in the Stanford area. Pantry believes that the fridge could also be successful in sandwich shops and cafes that typically face long lines during the lunch rush. With this new vending fridge, restaurants could seek to appease those looking for a real lunch without the real wait time. Whether the idea catches on or not is yet to be seen.



Image Credit: Pantrylabs

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