Unless you are one of those enviably organised meal-preppers, it can be difficult to pick healthy options at lunchtime during a busy workday. Even more difficult is sourcing options that are sustainably packaged, as most grab ‘n’ go salads come boxed in plastic to keep them fresh.
New York startup, Fresh Bowl has a solution — salad vending machines with all meals packaged in reusable glass.
The company was founded by Chloe Vichot and Zachary Lawless. For the last three years, Vichot has run Chloe Ancolie, a café in the West Village that serves up healthy salads to go in glass jars. Lawless, an entrepreneur who approached Vichot about the idea of expanding to vending machines.
They piloted the idea for Fresh Bowl in a WeWork co-working space for the past six months to receive feedback and input from other entrepreneurs.
Yesterday marked the launch of three of their vending machines dotted around New York City.
“The opportunities [with Fresh Bowl] are endless. We want to be in your office, in your gym, in your train station… everywhere,” said Vichot who recently closed Ancolie to focus on the vending machines full time.
Fresh Bowl’s glass jars can be returned in exchange for a credit which gets you $2 off your next one making them the creators of the world’s first zero-waste vending machine.
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The team produces the meals and snacks fresh each morning and tracks sales of each item to avoid overproduction.
All of the food is made from local and seasonal ingredients and the startup worked with chefs and nutritionists to make each item on the menu as healthy as possible.
The salads are stacked with dressing at the bottom, followed by something like lentils or beans to soak up the dressing and topped with greens to stay crisp. When the consumer is ready to eat, they shake the jar to dress the salad and voilà — tasty salad, zero guilt.
The menu also includes a plant-based version of spaghetti bolognese (made with squash instead of pasta, and lentils instead of beef), acai bowls and protein balls.
The vending machines, designed by Lawless feature high-end design that allows them to manage fresh produce, dispense acai and collect used jars.
“It’s our responsibility as a modern-day food company to both positively impact our community and minimize our impact on the environment,” Lawless told Kiosk Marketplace. Most grab-and-go food options today are generic, mass-produced, highly processed and over-packaged. Fresh Bowl is offering a more-thoughtful approach as we never sacrifice convenience for quality or sustainability.”
According to the sustainability platform SWRM, Fresh Bowl currently functions at 50 percent less carbon emissions than a regular food provider.
The Fresh Bowl team is small — currently only three people including the two founders and a chef — but they plan to expand to at least 10 additional locations throughout New York City by the end of the summer.