The days of uninspiring lunches dropping from the workplace vending machine might be on the way out, thanks to the new Smart Vending Meal Solution by UpMeals. This is the latest development from local caterer and chef Drew Munro, the visionary behind how the catering industry operates with his sustainable and local meals. The vending machine delivers healthy, custom meals developed by professional chefs and nutritionists for local workplaces where each break room has unique dietary needs and goals.
‘SMRT’ Food Technology in Action
So what makes this Smart Vending machine so advanced? First, all aspects of the creative, production, and delivery processes are automated by the proprietary SMRT1 Technologies software. This tracks the dietary decisions that users make so that custom meal products can be designed for each partner. Every time a user makes a purchase using the 49-inch 4K interactive screen display, the software records more data it can use to put the right food in front of the right person.
Meals nearing their expiry date are automatically pushed to the front of the queue, and unused meals are automatically labelled to be sent to charities of the business’s choosing. Part of UpMeals’ vision is the elimination of food waste, which Munro (who has over a decade of experience in the event catering business) recognizes as a major problem in the industry.
Of course, this technology was not designed to identify the most popular junk food in the office. UpMeals focuses on local and sustainable ingredients in their meals, which are meant to be delicious and nutritious. To top it all off, meals come in compostable and recyclable packaging.
Much More Than a Vending Machine
The Smart Vending Meal Solution machine came to fruition thanks to a meeting of minds. Munro developed the concept with Red Seal Chef and Registered Holistic Nutritionist – Ryan Angel. They recognized a need for scalable, cost-effective ways for businesses to provide nutrition to their employees while being able to measure the popularity of certain menu items. They then received support from the Canadian government’s National Research Council and went on to win a prize at the Shibuya FoodTech Challenge for Social Innovation in Japan, bringing international attention and investors to their concept.
UpMeals has been supported by several prominent local businesses like Body Energy Club, SPUD.ca, FreshPrep and Telus since 2018. Recently, another partnership was announced with plantbased meat alternative producer Modern Meat.
UpMeals has made it clear that the future of corporate wellness is here, and we are keeping a close eye on where their innovation and research will lead them next!
- Helen Siwak is passionate about plantbased culinary, promoting a vegan lifestyle, shopping secondhand, and supporting eco-activists. Her plate is full as founder and president of EcoLuxLuv Communications (Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, EcoLuxLifestyle.co). She is also the founder and co-host of V.E.G. Networking Group and soon-to-launch LittleBlack.Tee | firstname.lastname@example.org.
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