Albert Heijn Tests Fresh Food Vending Machine

Dutch retailer Albert Heijn is testing a unique vending machine that offers a variety of fresh, nutritious meals any time of day. The experimental “meal wall” of fresh foods, available since early July at the retailer’s headquarters in Zaandam, allows associates to choose from a range of convenient options that are ready to eat, heat or cook.

Located at the office entrance, the wall features tasty choices such as salads and Allerhande meal boxes that serve two to four persons. Users can select and pay for their meal via a touchscreen terminal, and after payment is approved the specified door opens.

“With more consumers interested in convenience and fresh, healthy options, the ’meal wall’ allows them to buy food whenever they want, even at night when stores are closed,” said Christiaan Vette, a member of a team at Albert Heijn, the Food Rebels, that focuses on developing new concepts.

The wall will be moved to an external location in August for the next phase of piloting and may be extended to other locations later this year if the test is successful.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.