The World’s 24 Oddest Vending Machines Slideshow
February 15, 2013
24) A Hug for a Coke, Singapore
At the National University of Singapore, all students need to do for a coke is give the machine a nice hug. "The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness," a Coke representative said.
23) Bossy Coffee, London
What would you do for a free coffee? In London, the Kenco Millicano machine commands you to dance, yell, or even hug the machine before you can get your coffee fix. If you need your caffeine, though, making a fool of yourself is a small price to pay.
22) Pepsi Interactive, United States
Social media, social gaming… social vending? That’s exactly what Pepsi is banking on with their new interactive vending machine, which lets customers play video games, gift Pepsi products by entering in an email address, and even charge their phone. It does sound a little strange, though, to have to wait for the kid in front of you to finish playing a video game before you can buy your soda.
21) Booze, Atlanta
Coke Freestyle machines, which let you customize your beverage concoctions with your choice of any combination of the brand’s soft drinks, took it one step further at one Atlanta restaurant, Taco Mac. While dispensing your Coke, guests could mix it with Jack Daniels, or tequila, rum, or vodka, if they preferred. No word as to whether they had a guard posted to keep the college kids away.
20) Baby Food and Formula, United States
Busy moms on the go can have access to baby food and formula from some vending machines. The WeGoBabies machine also dispenses baby essentials like pacifiers and diapers.
19) Bananas, Japan
Bananas are actually a rather popular vending machine item in Japan (possibly because they’re one fruit that doesn’t bruise when dropped). But with the recent push to make vending machine snacks healthier here in the U.S., maybe this oddity isn’t such a strange idea.
18) Kosher Food, Boston
Orthodox Jewish baseball fans used to be left out of stadium grub, until Boston start-up Hot Nosh installed kosher vending machines in Fenway Park. Hot Nosh stocks their machines with kosher mozzarella sticks, baked ziti, and more, and has vending machines throughout Boston.
17) Raw Milk, Europe
In the U.S., raw milk is a controversial food item, and consumers of the unpasteurized dairy go as far to join illegal buying clubs to procure it. Not so in Europe, where not only is the milk legal, it can be found in vending machines from France to Poland.
16) Sausage, Germany
Germans love their sausage, a stereotype that was only exacerbated by the arrival there of an actual sausage vending machine. It was set up outside of a butcher shop to fulfill late-night sausage cravings after the shop closes.
15) A Hot Meal, United States
A piping-hot meal isn’t just a sci-fi vision of vending machine dining anymore. New technology has developed vending machines that produce hot burgers, noodles, and more.
14) Eggs, Japan and Romaina
Egg vending machines are popular in Japan, and have also been established in Romania. And in Frankfurt, Germany, what appeared to be an egg vending machine (complete with live chickens) popped up in the city center, but turned out to be just a campaign to raise awareness of unethical chicken-farming practices.
13) Rice, Japan
In Japan, vending machines dispense everything from cigarettes to umbrellas, so it’s no surprise then that there are even vending machines that sell rice, a staple of Japanese cuisine.
12) Baguettes, France
Paris has no shortage of boulangeries churning out freshly baked loaves of bread, but that didn’t stop one entrepreneur from creating a baguette vending machine. The invention hasn’t quite taken off, though, proving that there’s still something to be said for the baker’s touch.
10) Caviar, Moscow, Los Angeles
If that bag of chips just isn’t up to your culinary standards, you can find caviar in vending machines in both Los Angeles and Moscow. You might, however, need a little more than pocket change to fulfill this craving.
8) Pizza, United States
We have frozen pizza and pizza delivery, but now we can get pizza from a vending machine, too. Thanks to an Italian entrepreneur, hungry people on the go can now get a piping-hot pizza in less than three minutes.
7) Pecan Pie, Texas
Berdoll Pecan Farm in Cedar Creek, Texas, bakes fresh pecan pies daily, but their pies are so good that they’ve taken some forward-thinking steps to keep up with demand. To meet the 24/7 cravings of their customers, the company has a pecan pie vending machine on the porch of the shop that operates around the clock.
6) Mashed Potatoes, Singapore
The mashed potato vending machines installed in 7-Elevens in Singapore give a new meaning to "instant mashed potatoes." With the push of a button, the machine dispenses a hot cup of mash (the gravy is optional).
5) The Rugbeer Machine, Argentina
Vending machines are supposed to be convenient, right? Not so in Argentina, where rugby fans must first tackle the machine for it to dispense a beer. The Rugbeer machine was installed in the Salta province of Argentina, where both rugby and beer are beloved.
4) Raw Meat, Alabama
Not everyone has access to a neighborhood butcher. Luckily for some Alabama residents, the "Smart Butcher" vending machine sells raw steaks and chops for an affordable price. Hopefully it’s replenished frequently!
3) Live Lobsters, United States
Sometimes food just tastes better when you catch it yourself — at least that’s the premise of live lobster vending machines that allowed users to catch their dinner before eating it. The game took off in Florida but ironically didn’t meet the same success in New England.
2) Live Crabs, China
A lucky few in China can get their crab on the go. Shanghai hairy crab, a Chinese delicacy, is dispensed live from vending machines in Nanjing, China. Those poor crabs!
1) Growing Lettuce, Japan
Taking the idea of urban agriculture to a new level, vending machines in Japan use light bulbs and "nutri-culture" beds to actually grow lettuce inside the machines. A crazy idea, or a local food revolution? Either way, it’s our pick for the oddest vending machine in the world.