Five years of fresh, healthy vending

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The team behind fresh ‘better’ vending marked their fifth birthday with a party any five-year-old would be proud of: delicious cake, snacks to take home and a resounding ‘Happy Birthday’.

But while a traditional party might feature chips and chocolate, this one showcased their healthy, accessible products including, of course, bananas.

Even the cake, created by Brubecks Boutique Foods, was a tasty banana and carrot cake with coconut cream icing.

The fresh vending concept includes BananaBar, FruitBar, Neuvo Foods and the ’emporium’ style City Pantry, which encompasses multiple vending options and a customer kitchen.

Created by the Mackays and initially launched in 2013, their first machine was a BananaBar in Brisbane city. They have now expanded to 35 machines across 14 sites.

“We started out doing the banana vending by itself, before moving onto other fruits,” explained Vending Business Manager Daniel Mackay.

“Overall it’s just become all about fresh food. It wasn’t necessarily about vending as much as it was about healthy snacking and giving people better options. The vending side just made sense, in that we can do it 24 hours a day.”

Mr Mackay said there was a real push towards a better eating style, particularly fresh meals.

Of course, fresh fruit remains key to this project, including their Smart Bananas.

“We’ve spoken about bananas being a fast food, but they are very hard to purchase for that purpose. We counted all the places you could buy a banana in Brisbane city – there were only 20 where they were available as a fresh, fast food option.”

The fresh vending team saw that as a challenge, and sought to make bananas and other ‘better’ products more accessible.

“In the past, as soon as the shops shut, you were back to confectionary food. Now, people have another option.”

The birthday party was held on November 20 at Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, the site of the first ‘City Pantry’.