Byte Foods Vending Machine

Are you a busy employee at Tesla in Silicon Valley? You could be one of the first customers to purchase a ready-to-go meal kit from a vending machine in your workplace.

Meal kit service Chef’d has partnered with vending machine company Byte Foods to provide take-home meal kits for people who don’t have the time or inclination to stop at the grocery store on the way home. Byte Foods offers more than 500 vending machines with offerings like poke bowls, kale salads and Kombucha – and now these machines will include meal kits, too.

According to Bloomberg, Chef’d wanted to reach out to busy people in new ways, offering more options and convenience to customers. In partnering with Byte Foods, they can stock ready-to-go meal kits in vending machines located at places where people don’t normally buy groceries, providing spur-of-the-moment convenience.

Meal kit services revolutionized cooking at home, providing pre-measured ingredients and recipes for customers, ordered online and delivered to their doorsteps. However in recent months, customers have been looking outside of industry players like Blue Apron, opting for the lower prices and no subscription commitment that Amazon offers with its meal kits. In response and to grow market share, competitors like Chef’d have started to get creative with how they distribute their kits, including partnering with big grocers for distribution in grocery stores, and now, vending machines in unlikely places.

Right now customers can find Chef’d meal kits in 100 machines across the Bay Area, including at the offices of Tesla Inc. and Chevron Corp., and on the campus of Stanford University. More vending machine locations are expected to offer meal kits in the coming months.

“Most people are not looking to be forced into a subscription,” chief executive officer and founder of Chef’d Kyle Ransford told Bloomberg. “You’re seeing people shift to the model we have in place.”

The vending machine meal kits sell for $15-$20 each, and include servings for two people.

According to Bloomberg, Chef’d is looking into branded fridges for placement at large residential complexes as their next move. Byte Foods is looking to expand its vending machines to places like hospitals and gyms.

The meal kit delivery industry grew rapidly in a relatively short period of time – just over a few years – due to their convenience and accessibility. But the industry has now changed in the last couple of years, and finding new ways to reach out to customers might be the key to a company’s long-term success.