During one of our strategy sessions, my Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) said that we should consider selling our produce through vending machines. I thought that was a really cool idea, however I felt it was impossible. After reading this article I feel it is ‘almost impossible’ and not ‘entirely impossible’ 🙂 . Fast forward a few months later I’m reading the Modern Farmer magazine and they are writing about ‘Vending Machines go Farm Fresh’. Oh by the way my CSO is one of my dearest friend of over 20 years who has a day job to make sure she can make rent and feed her family… 🙂
So about Vending Machines going Farm Fresh.
In 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo set aside $2 million for a marketing campaign known asTaste NY, as well as a $60 million tourism initiative called “I Love NY.” As part of the initiative New York decided to implement a vending machine program that was somewhere between practical and publicity stunt. New York has installed 10 machines throughout the state and hopes to install more if they prove popular. This marks the first time local-fare vending machines have been sponsored by the public sector. Vending machines have a number of advantages over brick-and-mortar stores or even farmers markets. There’s no need to pay an employee to run the register and, unlike a weekly market, the machines can run 24/7 in many locations at once. As far as trends go, farm-fresh vending machines are surprisingly practical. They bring local foods to customers who aren’t likely to sign up for a CSA or visit their local farmers market. The vending machines also boost farm income and offer a bit of brand recognition. Visitors who see a farm’s name in a vending machine, for instance, might be moved to take part in a farm tour or seek out their products elsewhere.
That’s pretty great for New York but I suspect that it will be a long while before Lagos will be able to embrace buying veggies from a vending machine. Why you ask? There are very obvious differences between New York and Lagos, for example in NY it is considered a catastrophe of epic proportions if there is power failure, well in Lagos its standard ops not to have electricity for over a week. Therefore the cost of operating a vending machine in Lagos is significantly higher than in NY. According to the The Economist Power from a private generator cost $0.35 per kilowatt-hour or more, ten times more than electricity from the grid in most other countries.
Then let’s talk about the culture, vending machines has been part of the American culture since the first century. In 1888 food vending machines were introduced. Now in Lagos, vending machines is a relatively new concept. Used it once or twice but hardly ever. I suspect my CSO likes the idea because there is one in her office and it is quite convenient for her and her colleagues.
I guess I can think of a few more but I’ll leave it here. Nevertheless we look forward to Vending Machines going Farm Fresh in Lagos 🙂
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