United Kingdom

Click your own! This farm shop is one big vending machine 

It's not quite the traditional farm shop, though there's plenty of fresh local produce on sale.

Instead of eggs, veg, fruit, cakes and jams arrayed on tables or stacked on shelves, everything at Betty's Farm comes from a vending machine.

In fact, three British poultry farmers have developed Europe's largest automated store, providing a futuristic, pristine and perhaps rather clinical shopping experience. 

The concept of vending machine shopping is popular in the Far East. Now Betty's Farm is bringing it to the UK – by using redundant space in a chicken shed in Derbyshire.

Three British poultry farmers have developed Europe's largest automated store, providing a futuristic, pristine and perhaps rather clinical shopping experience

The concept of vending machine shopping is popular in the Far East but now Betty's Farm is bringing it to the UK – by using redundant space in a chicken shed in Derbyshire

Shoppers select what they want on a huge touch-screen before making a contact-free card payment.

Once they have paid, locker doors pop open and they help themselves to their groceries. 

Prices for the range – which includes salads, bread, cakes, ice cream, pies, sausage rolls, butter, fresh meat, jams, premium tea, relishes and chutneys – are rather more comparable to those at Marks and Spencer than Aldi.

With a combined length of 69ft (21 metres), 400 white lockers are stacked floor to head-height, along two walls. A large wind-turbine and banks of solar panels supply more than enough power.

Shoppers select what they want on a huge touch-screen before making a contact-free card payment and, once they have paid, locker doors pop open and they help themselves to their groceries

Prices for the range – which includes salads, bread, cakes, ice cream, pies, sausage rolls, butter, fresh meat, jams, premium tea, relishes and chutneys – are rather more comparable to those at Marks and Spencer than Aldi

Lucie Bowler who founded the business at her family's farm in Willington with Greg Marsh and Stewart Adams said: 'We wanted an easier way to get our eggs to market.

'We thought a vending machine would be a great idea and we realised we could sell other farms' and local suppliers' produce – 95 per cent of what's in our lockers is from Derbyshire and Staffordshire. We are still learning, and so are our customers.

'Our main aim is supermarket convenience but with local produce.'

Mr Marsh added: 'Covid has changed shopping habits. People care more about where their food is coming from.'

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