Regional grocery store Heinen’s is an early adopter of Chowbotics’ product Sally, a salad making robot. Initially positioned as a way to make fresh food (e.g., salads, grain bowls, breakfast bowls) available as a grab-and-go option in hospitals, colleges, and other institutional settings. However, the grocery market took on a new urgency as the coronavirus pandemic drove consumers away from self-serve salad bars and as consumers flocked to grocery stores instead of restaurants.
While many grocery stores switched to offering pre-made salad options, others turned their self-serve bars into a full-service option with staff making customized salads on-demand. However, Sally gives stores a chance to offer a touch-free solution to consumer demand for quick customized salads or similar meals while allowing staff to concentrate on other tasks. The customization is important as many consumers prefer choosing their own toppings – e.g., no croutons or extra croutons, light or heavy dressing, nuts or no nuts, and amounts of pungent items such as onions and peppers.
Chowbotics is also developing a fully touch-free innovation that would allow customers to order via an app and scan a QR code at the machine to have that exact order produced.
For more information on discussion of opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ Food & Beverage industry coverage, including Food Carryout & Delivery and Food Carryout & Delivery: Special COVID-19 Consumer Insights and The Freedonia Group’s analysis of the packaging industry, including to-go containers in Foodservice Single-Use Products and Global Foodservice Single-Use Products. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.