These days it seems everything is at your fingertips — from Amazon’s one-hour delivery service to the shows and movies we can now binge watch without ever having to get up from the couch. Blockbuster who? That same concept of instant gratification has been applied to vending machines over the course of the past several years.
What was once only seen as a machine that dispensed chips, candies, and select drinks can now be viewed as a 24/7, item-specific convenience store. In vending machines around the world you can find everything from fresh heads of lettuce to bottles of champagne and even raw meat. But instant doesn’t exactly mean fresh. The idea of any perishable food product coming from a machine (rather than from a grocery store with proper refrigeration) is a strange concept to wrap your mind around. Don’t think buying raw meat from a vending machine is weird enough? Here are the most bizarre vending machine items you can buy around the world.
With locations from Portland to Miami, the Burrito Box vending machine satisfies those Mexican food cravings by offering various types of pre-prepared burritos. From chorizo sausage and roasted potato to uncured bacon, free-range chicken, and shredded beef, Burrito Box has you covered. You can even add guacamole, sour cream, and Tabasco sauce for an extra fee. But how long have the burritos been in the machine? That’s the pressing question.
Located in the popular Selfridge’s department store in London, the Möet & Chandon vending machine dispenses 200-milliliter bottles for $29 a pop. It should come as no surprise that Sin City is the first place to implement these vending machines in America, with one located at Sky Bar. The next place to have a champagne vending machine? New Orleans’ Arnaud’s French 75 Bar.
Set up in countless locations around Chicago, the Farmer’s Fridge vending machine brings farm-fresh produce to the heart of the windy city. Instead of soda, candy, or regular vending machine fare, Farmer’s Fridge is routinely stocked with salads, fruit, and other healthy meal options. Whatever isn’t sold that day is donated to a local homeless shelter to bring nutritious meals to those who need it most.
Got the munchies in Amsterdam? Look no further than the fried food vending machines owned by Dutch company FEBO. With nearly 60 locations in the Netherlands, FEBO has found the perfect customer base in Amsterdam, where they have over 20 vending machines set up. FEBO serves classic treats like frikandellen (The Dutch equivalent of a hot dog) and kaassoufflé (which can be compared to a hot pocket of melted cheese wrapped inside a thin wrap of dough). If you don’t want fried food, check out the food truck that sells pigeon, pony, and other “unwanted” meat.
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 increasing push to make vending machine snacks healthier here in the U.S., maybe this oddity isn’t such a strange idea.
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, two-minute beef noodles, and more.
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. The idea of all of these vending machines in Japan is to make it convenient for you to purchase essentials once the convenience stores have closed for the day.
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 didn’t quite take off, but a Le Bread Xpress vending machine is now in San Francisco, and it bakes fresh baguettes as you order them.
The cupcake craze isn’t disappearing anytime soon, at least not if the Los Angeles bakery Sprinkles has anything to do with it. The Beverly Hills bakery’s "cupcake ATM" provides freshly baked cupcakes around the clock for sugar addicts. New Yorkers may have grown accustomed to this commodity as well, but just because it’s become a normalcy for some doesn’t make it any less bizarre.
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.
The mashed potato vending machines that were installed in 7-Elevens in Singapore a few years ago continue 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).
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. In Paris, another local butcher has done the same by pre-packaging meats like pork chops and beef carpaccio in vacuum-sealed bags. Hopefully the machine is replenished frequently!
The Daily Meal recently reported on the latest vending machine to hit Japan’s streets, which sells a whole fish. Even the presentation of this one is strange: It is dispensed in a bottle that contains a whole fried fish along with 500 milliliters of flying fish soup stock.