Digital vending machines sees lockdown success for farm

The self-service machines dispenses everything from cheese to meat (Photo: Thorneybank Farm Shop)
The self-service machines dispenses everything from cheese to meat (Photo: Thorneybank Farm Shop)

Innovation has been key to lockdown success for an Aberdeenshire farming business after installing digital vending machines a couple of years ago.

Thorneybank Farm Shop near Inverurie made headlines in 2018 after being the first shop in the UK to install digital vending machines selling fresh produce.

The machines, which sell quality-assured red meat along with freshly picked farm vegetables, have been a runaway success alongside online orders.

The state-of-the-art technology sees food packaged in portions in a refrigerated unit, behind glass doors.

All visitors to the farm shop have to do is key in the number, pay by card using no-contact technology and the windows open.

Providing customers with high quality, local produce is something the Stephen family, who have owned the farm for three generations, is really passionate about.

Penny Stephen said: “By shopping local, people have become more attuned to seasonal eating and championing what is available in Scotland across different periods of the year.

“Investing in the community is something that’s really important to us and is an ethos that our customers share. We’re excited for what’s to come as more people look closer to home for high quality fare.”

The success reflects research by Quality Meat Scotland that revealed Scotland’s love of local produce grew over lockdown, with over three quarters (79%) of people agreeing it is important to support local.

Lesley Cameron, director of marketing at QMS said: “The success of Thorneybank Farm highlights that people are keen to support local businesses and make conscious shopping choices.

“We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone across the Scottish red meat industry and beyond who played a part in keeping quality food on tables over what has been a difficult period for so many.”