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Culture Technology

Quirky Japanese Vending Machines We NEED In The US

During my college days working the late hours of a newsroom, the vending machine was my best friend. But the endless cycle of salty chips and sugary drinks grew tiresome, and I longed for something more unique out of that snack dispenser.

If only I had known how other parts of the world innovate their vending machines to provide something more.

Take the Setouchi region of Japan, for example. In a country that boasts the highest density of vending machines in the world, it’s not surprising that there will be a handful that offering something outside of the typical snacks or candies. However, the ones in Setouchi stand out for putting the truly unexpected inside of their machines.

Behold, some of the more whimsical vending machine offerings that can be found in the Setouchi region of Japan, as well as other parts of the beautiful country.


Udon

Courtesy of Yamaguchi prefecture

While the Japanese noodle soup is probably best served fresh, sometimes you’ll need a hearty helping of noodles and broth while in a pinch. A few machines in the Setouchi region of Japan are home to Udon vending machines that serve up noodles, broth, green onions and meat. Perfect for when you’re in the mood for some soup without the hassle of interacting with a human person.

Dashi

Courtesy of Setouchi Tourism Authority

In select parking lots in the Hiroshima or Okayama Prefectures, one may stumble upon a vending machine filled with dashi, a traditional Japanese broth. Dashi is made from dried bonito, a type of tuna, and kombu seaweed. The stock is typically used as a base for soups or to season ingredients. SoraNews24 says that one vending machine location in Hiroshima sells as many as 200 bottles each day, both for the novelty of a vending machine souvenir and as an actual ingredient for cooking.

Eggs

Courtesy of Setouchi Tourism Authority

One of the more common vending machines in Japan feature fresh eggs. These are stocked by local farmers that could contain up to 21 boxes in each machine. The prices for these range depending on the size and amount you want, but if you’re looking to create an omelet on short notice, this contraption could be a lifesaver.

Pizza

 

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Instant pizza? Yes, please. Vending machines housing slices of savory pizza have been popping up around Japan for years now. Every time I see a photo of one, I am saddened that this ingenious marriage of Italian food and technology has yet to become mainstream in the US. Just the thought of knowing I can get a slice in seconds at any hour of the day brings me so much comfort.

Oranges

 

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The Ehime prefecture is best known for its oranges and produces more than 250,000 tons of different citrus fruits. To celebrate the bountiful supply of citrus, there is a vending machine located on the entrance of the Ehime Egao Kanko Bussankan in the Matsuyama Ropeways Shopping District that dispenses the fresh fruit. In order to prevent bruising, the oranges are placed in cans that can be opened upon purchase.

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Tastemade/Snapchat

9 Foods You Wouldn’t Expect To Find In A Vending Machine

When you think of vending machines, you think of gifts of gloriously cheap and convenient snacks and beverages to keep you going throughout the day. However, the world is beginning to spin these contraptions in brand new directions, and you can find all sorts of crazy things in vending machines that nobody would have dreamed of putting in there just a few years ago.

Read on to see nine things you would never expect to find in a vending machine.

Pet Food

It sounds really weird for pet food to be coming out of a machine, right? Well, it turns out this one is actually for a great cause, as the machine, created by Turkish company Pugedon, is designed to feed stray pets in urban areas. All you have to do is drop off a recyclable bottle, and the bottom tray of the vending machine will dispense some food for the strays to eat. It’s an odd but awesome way to take care of pets on the streets, that’s for sure.

Italian Pasta

The Barilla vending machine shown in this Bicom clip will actually cook pasta for you, with sauce, in a short amount of time. While you can make pasta at home for much cheaper than what this machine charges you, it’s an interesting remedy for anyone who forgot to bring their lunch one day.

Live Minnows

We’ve seen live crabs in vending machines before that you can take home, but minnows? You can buy small cans of them to use as fishing bait from this particular vending machine shown in YouTuber’s Village Tackle vid. The longer they’re alive, the more likely fish are to catch them, I guess…

Fried Foods

I don’t think anybody expects to get their lunch out of a vending machine. If you have a hankering for fast-food items like chicken nuggets, you’d rather just go to the restaurant and get them yourself. Of course, convenience and unique Japanese vending machines say otherwise, and so, here we have YouTuber Venus Angelic ordering fried chicken out of a machine. Yes, fried chicken.

Cupcakes

MyCupcakeAddiction got to check out this crazy cupcake ATM at Sprinkles cupcakes in Los Angeles, CA, that lets you customize your dessert and delivers it to you in a sleek box. Upon watching, I’m just baffled at how they make this happen. It’s attached to the cupcake shop, so maybe they just make it super fast and put it on a conveyor to the machine? Or maybe the machine just knows how to custom-build cupcakes? It’s a mystery that needs solving.

Burritos

If you’re in extreme need of on-the-go, speedy burritos, this vending machine may be your choice. ETC Show checked it out and found it to be pretty interesting. The machine lets you pick your burrito, additional toppings, and then plays catchy music while you wait. Sounds super cool, but honestly, I can get a custom-made fresh burrito in the same amount of time from a fast-casual spot. Is it really worth that extra convenience for this burrito vending machine to exist? We say yes.

Canned Bread

Okay, bread is fine enough when properly packaged in a vending machine. But what is the point of sticking bread into a can? Not sure if it does anything to help the bread out orrrr…? So many odd questions, so few answers. Watch as japanesestuffchannel takes one home in this video, and tbh, it actually looks pretty delicious once pulled apart.

Mashed Potatoes

The reaction of the HLN newscasters in this video says it all for this mashed potato vending machine. You get some liquid mashed potatoes out of this vending machine that then gets topped off with brown gravy. They’re definitely using instant potatoes to make this product, which makes sense since it’s a vending machine.

Crepes

Japan really loves its wacky vending machines, and this sweet crepe-filled contraption shown in this Only in Japan video is one of the special ones out there. Found in Kagoshima, you can pick from a variety of crepe flavors for a portable treat — including custard, caramel, Hershey’s chocolate and even potato. It looks like there are dozens and dozens of flavors to choose from and I now know where my next vacation is going to be.

 

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Sweets Technology

Vending Machines Could Purposely Delay Unhealthy Snacks Soon

Slowly, but surely, vending machines have veered toward the healthier side of life. Even as the snack machines in public schools exchanged traditional Cheetos and Doritos for its baked counterparts, it doesn’t seem to be enough for a country that leads the world in obesity.

In order to keep us from pigging out on nutrient deprived foods that reside in these machines, Brad Appelhans, a professor at Rush Medical College created a device for vending machines called “Delays to Influence Snack Choice,” that would make you wait an extra 25 seconds for unhealthy snack options, according to NPR.

For example, if you wanted a protein bar, or granola bar, it wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d drop down the chute like normal. But if you wanted to dig into a chocolate bar or some Ruffles, you’d have to wait for a 25-second timer to wind down before they make the drop.

It’s basically testing your patience, and making you think about how badly you really want that empty calorie snack.

Appelhans tested this system with the vending machines around Rush Medical College, and found that the more people had to wait for their food, the less they wanted it, causing them to reach for the healthier alternatives.

If you’re wondering what qualifies as a “healthy” snack, it would have to pack fewer than 250 calories, 350 mg of sodium or 10 mg of added sugars per serving, contain no trans fats, or get less than 35 percent of its calories from fat.

One of the main points of this system would be to counter often proposed tax increases. The delay in vending machines would still be mildly annoying, but at least it wouldn’t forcefully dig into your wallet.

If you’re an impatient person like me, implementing these kind of systems just might be the right healthy choice for you.

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Tastemade/Snapchat

10 of the Most Unexpected Foods You Can Find in a Vending Machine

There’s something indescribably satisfying about the vending machine experience. You insert a few coins into the slot and hear the *clink clink* of approval that grants you permission to press buttons with letters and numbers on them. Instantly after, you watch the machine work its magic in the form of a metal circle rotating slowly counterclockwise, and you hear a *thud* of fulfillment. Kneeling down and reaching your hand into the flap that opens to a 35 degree angle MAXIMUM, you retrieve your goodie and feel accomplished.

Though vending machines can bring you happiness through delicious snacks, we cannot neglect the rather odd items you can find in them. From whole pizzas and cupcakes (yum!) to live crabs (…not so yum?), here are some of the weirdest things you can find in a vending machine!

Cavi-are You Serious?


Yes, yes we are. Some may associate a bag of Hot Cheetos or M&Ms to a vending machine, but in a few Southern California shopping malls, caviar is the snack of choice. Created by Beverly Hills Caviar, the machine provides high quality and expensive caviar that attracts an assortment of people, ranging from the inquisitive shopper to chefs who integrates caviar into their dishes. We cavi-aren’t kidding about this guys — you can find this machine at the Westfield Topanga, Burbank Town Center or at Westfield Century City!

Go Green

Have you ever noticed that when you want to eat healthy, the only option available is something unhealthy? Not anymore! Located in Chicago, the Farmer’s Fridge is the perfect solution to those healthy cravings (yes, healthy cravings exist!). Starting at $8 and providing options such as proteins and sides, this vending machine will really toss your salad!

We’re Going Bananas

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Do you find yourself running low on potassium constantly? Well luckily, Japan understands your needs, k (get it)? You can find this vending machine in Tokyo, offering Dole bananas in plastic packaging! This machine is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

PepperOH YES!

No matter the time or place, we somehow are always craving pizza. People in the UK understood this craving as an opening for a new vending machine market and to make all your dreams come true. You can choose between three toppings, and your pizza will be hot and ready in just three minutes! Apparently, the pizza vending machine has made its way to America, existing at Ohio’s Xavier University. WE WANT A PIZZA THIS VENDING MACHINE ASAP!

Wine or Dine

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TBH, this wine vending machine just looks like a regular supermarket wine aisle, but we’re not ones to complain and whine about it. Located in Pennsylvania, the wine vending machine offers the reds and whites that you need. If we can have pizza vending machines and caviar ones, wine not this one too?

Fry-day


Everyday can by Fry-day if you try hard enough. Find yourself a French fry vending machine and enjoy the delicious and crispy treat whenever you feel like it! These are pota-totally worth the extra calories on a cheat day, we promise.

Eggcellent…

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OMELETTE YOU FINISH THIS ARTICLE, BUT YOU HAVE TO KNOW THAT THIS VENDING MACHINE EGG-SISTS. Another Tokyo attraction, the egg vending machine provides people with cartons of eggs directly from the chicken. The price ranges from 340 to 570 yen, and the eggs are kept warm and fresh. If you’re an egg lover, this will definitely egg-cite you!

Just Throw it in the Bag(uette)

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Originating in Paris, the baguette vending machine truly rises to the occasion. The dough is partially prepared in the morning and delivered to the machine daily, to which it is stored and baked throughout the day. You can expect your fresh baguette to be in your hands in about 20 seconds, and — are you bready for this? — San Franciscans can find these machines at the Castro! If you’re a carb lover, you knead this vending machine in your life (alright, we’re going to calm dough-n with the bread puns).

Not-So-Krusty Crab


JapanProbe dot com by pubjapaned

This vending machine features the Shanghai Hairy Crab, costing between $1.50 – $7.50 and is guaranteed to be alive upon vending. They’re kept at a certain temperature where the crabs go into hibernation, coming to life after you’ve inserted your money in. Why go to the ocean/the market/sleep with a random stranger to get crabs, when you can go to a vending machine in China!

The Rough Draft (Beer)

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If you’ve gone to any university in America, you’ve most likely encountered a hot cocoa or coffee vending machine, where you put your cup underneath and a concoction of caffeine comes out. Well the Japanese don’t mess around when it comes to vending a beverage. You can find a draft beer vending machine in Japan, costing about $12 a pint. Who needs a bar when you can just hit up this machine for pint night, right?! Right!

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News Technology

Apple Watch Lets You Buy Vending Machine Snacks With Your Wrist

At Apple’s “Spring Forward” event today, the company disclosed huge news for their Macbook line, their foray into smartwatch production and the massive expansion of Apple Pay.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, announced that Apple Pay is currently available for use at more than 700,000 locations, an approximate 300 percent increase since the beginning of the 2014 holiday season, and further development lies on the horizon. Chains like McDonald’s, Subway and Whole Foods jumped on the Apple Pay train immediately, but Coca-Cola and USA Technologies’ recent partnership is part of the substantial holiday growth.

USA Technologies, a company that provides wireless technology for vending machines, revealed that 200,000 new vending machines would be equipped with Apple Pay this year.

About 40,000 Coca-Cola vending machines currently accept Apple Pay and that number is expected to grow to 100,000 by the end of this year.

Taking Apple Pay to the Apple Watch increases the number of people who can use the service from just iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users to any user who purchases the watch. It is made to connect to an iPhone, but it’s still functional, regardless of your mobile preference.

In the near future, instead of seeing people frustratingly trying to straighten dollar bills, you can look forward to people shaking their wrists in anger as they kick a vending machine.

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#foodbeast

A machine that squeezes oranges and makes you fresh juice exists

orange-juice.machines

Picthx whatanasian

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Hit-Or-Miss

Calorie Info Required on Vending Machines Under New Health Law

n-VENDING-MACHINE-large570

2014 will bring a new year along with some new health laws. What can be considered either good or bad news to vending machine junkies the FDA is requiring vending machines to be display calorie counts. The new labeling procedures are included in President Obama’s health care reform.

The final rules on labeling are expected to be released early next year but the FDA is optimistic that the move will better inform consumers to make healthier choices. No offense, but I’m not searching the bottom of my desk drawer for quarters just so I can get an apple, I’m just trying to get my afternoon Snickers fix.

Nearly five million machines across the U.S. will have to get updated with new caloric info. Costs to the vending machine industry to make these changes will be upwards of $25.8 million to start and $24 million every year after. Though the cost seems high savings to the health care system would be just as much assuming “0.2 obese adults ate 100 fewer calories per week”.

Opinions regarding the move have been mostly negative with companies affected by the new laws mostly concerned about the lack of return on investment, employee time spent updating the machines every time they restock and the sheer number of machines that have to be changed to comply with the regulations. Opposed consumers believe the whole thing is a waste of time considering that people usually turn to vending machines when there’s nothing else around.

Companies have a year to comply so expect to see your office vending machine get a healthy makeover within the year.

H/T + PicThx HuffPo

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Hit-Or-Miss

This is What a 24-Hour Burger Vending Machine Looks Like

burger

There are those who might think the invention of a hamburger vending machine is taking mechanized fast food a little too far. In a world of drive-thrus and 60-second orders, do we really need to make the entire process that much faster and impersonal? We would ask those people to contemplate the following scenario.