Farm shop vending machine opens in Cardiff
A farm shop vending machine selling an array of local artisan products, including Hafod organic cheddar and Inner City Pickle, has opened in Cardiff city centre.
Situated in independent business hub The Castle Emporium, the vending machine was launched by Illtud Llyr Dunsford of Charcutier Ltd after seeing the concept during his travels in the US.
Dunsford said he met butcher Josh Applestone of Applestone Meat Company in New York who sold his products from five meat-only vending machines, based on the side of the road.
“I decided to do a smaller version, but rather than just focusing on meat, we decided to include other products and create a farm shop with a bit of a difference,” said Dunsford.
Stocked with local artisan products, the vending machine is placed in the centre of the Welsh capital where footfall is high and in the path of commuters in a bid to get consumers to connect with their food and its producer.
“People’s lives are so busy we can’t stay in one place,” Dunsford said. “It’s about getting our products out to the consumer and filling the gap between producer and consumer.”
For Dunsford, opening a farm shop in a vending machine format wasn’t an entirely novel idea. “There is less of a connection with our food anyway, if you think about the rise of self-service in supermarkets and the launch of Amazon Fresh.”
“I don’t think this is the only future for farm shops,” he added. “But it can be one of the tools in how we offer our produce. As producers’ we need to find a way to connect with our customers.”
So far there has been real interest in the vending machine with Dunsford seeing a great reaction on social media.
“We’ve already had a decent amount of sales. A week’s worth of sales is the same as doing a farmer’s market,” he said.
“It is a little bit of a novelty but people do like the idea and it’s great to see the reaction it’s getting. I do hope though that people will make it a part of their regular purchases.”