Dutch “fruit from the wall” concept debuts at London Produce Show
People who have visited the Netherlands may be familiar with the concept of “eating from the wall”, where vending machines dispense savory snacks for on-the-go convenience. Now, the Dutch organization that represents the fruit and vegetable sector, The Fresh Produce Centre (Groenten Fruit Huis), wants to put a fruity twist on an old idea.
Debuting the “Healthy Snack” vending machine, Wilma van den Oever from the Fresh Produce Centre explains how the concept ties in with the group's overarching objective to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
"Here in London is the first time that we bring our “Healthy Snack” concept which is an interesting twist on an old Dutch phenomena - eating from the wall,” she says.
“It’s a taste of a typical Dutch experience but with fresh fruit and vegetables as opposed to savory food with a high fat and salt content which Dutch people have been used to for many, many years.
The machine, operated by a special token, drew a lot of attention from visitors at LPS2017 who were interested in the colorful produce inside.
In contrast to the heating components built into machines for a similar purpose in the fast food industry, the "Healthy Snack" vending machine needs to be modified for refrigeration. Van den Oever adds the center wants to partner with a company to adopt the idea commercially and find improved cooling methods.
"Fast food restaurants and others are now exploring vending machines for unhealthy snacks, maybe they could think about this as well," she says.
“We think there is definitely a market for this concept. You simply put your coins in and open the window with the fruit and vegetables that you want.
“It could also work for airports, train stations and other places where people are in a rush and they want to grab something in a hurry. A lot of times they don’t have the choice between a healthy and an unhealthy snack, but this concept changes that."
Swapping in fruit and vegetables could also help increase consumption among children who are keen on the machines because they are seen as a bit of “food fun”.
“We’ve been presenting it here at the London Produce Show as an eye-catching concept. We’ve had really enthusiastic reactions, people seem to like it.”
Apart from the refrigeration aspect, produce perishability and logistics around stocking up the machine are other issues to be overcome.
"This is indeed a challenge as the vending machines need to be in areas that are accessible and can be topped up with fresh fruit and vegetables quickly otherwise it will look empty pretty quickly.
"You can stock it with anything really. We’ve chosen snacking vegetables which are really on trend like little tomatoes, red peppers and cucumbers as well as some soft fruits like strawberries and raspberries."
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