Health food from a vending machine sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s exactly what a San Francisco-based startup called leCupboard claims to offer. The company believes it’s business model will turn “the food system rightside up.”
With ten vending machines now in operation in San Franciso, leCupboard hopes to expand to 30 in the near future, all with meals the company touts as healthy, personalized and vegan.
“By inviting us into your daily food choices, you’re being responsible not only to yourself, but to all who have brought this meal to you, soil to plate. Under the current food and retail industries, our norm is to accept compromises at the loss of accessibility, health, and sustainability. We have paved another way to turn the food system rightside up,” states the company web site.
The startup's goal is to get people to think differently about healthy food by making it as convenient as fast-food, and the company believes vending machines are the best delivery method. The New York Times reports that since 1995 the number of vending machines in the U.S. has grown 96% to 5.1 million.
According to a report in Business Insider, each leCupboard dish comes with a label that lists ingredients and lays out its nutritional profile, including fiber, protein, and what leCupboard calls "healthful" fat, a tweak to standard nutrition labels that aligns with the latest nutritional science on fat. Healthy main dishes get labeled "Build," while desserts — which mostly rely on ingredients like nuts and fruit — get labels like "Indulge."
The dishes range in price from $6-$13, and most are high in protein and whole grains.
“Each dish has been designed to give you a full range of nutrition and to embrace the ingredients’ natural healing properties for your mind and body,” leCupboard states on its web site. “Our meals are brought to you at an accessible price, challenging the notion that health costs. And, most of all, our meals are delicious, inviting you to crave.”