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Vending Machine Maker Unveils Machine That Preserves, Safely Dispenses, Fresh Produce

October 21, 2010: 12:03 PM EST

A vending machine manufacturer is partnering with Fresh Del Monte Produce to develop a machine that will vend bananas and other fresh produce without damage. The effort is driven by the push to provide healthier snacks in machines located in schools and offices. The Wittern Group’s new machine, launched earlier this year, is partitioned into two separate chambers. The upper chamber contains bananas kept at 57 degrees; the bottom contains other fresh-cut produce kept at 34 degrees. Other special features include: plastic packaging to keep bananas fresher longer; padding in the retrieval bin to protect delicate produce from the long drop; and, in future models, elevators to gently lower fruit to the bin. Freshness is not cheap: the new device costs $5,000, compared to $3,000 for traditional models.

ILAN BRAT, "The Great Banana Challenge", The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2010, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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