Fishmongers turn to fresh fish vending machines to compete with supermarkets.
Spanish consumers now have a new option to buy their fish: via vending machines located at their local fishmongers.
Faced with southern Europe’s continued economic gloom, vending machine specialist Olevending was spurred on to sharpen its wits and put into practice an innovative approach.
To start with, Olevending sold live-bait for fishing through vending machines, but with the tough economic climate the company saw the need to reach different clients and create new options for its machines.
The idea started in 2011 and the company now has 15 vending machines throughout Spain, mainly in the north – where consumers are more used to buy fresh fish — in the regions of Galicia, Cantabria, Basque Country, Asturias and Catalonia.
Local fishmongers are the only ones using the vending machines so far. The machines allow to compete with supermarkets as they can offer 24/7 service, providing a net profit of €588 per month according to Olevending.
“So far no supermarket is interested in this, but vending machines for seafood will spread like wildfire”
“Consumers look for seafood quality from local shops, but their opening hours are more limited than supermarkets, so we offer vending machines as a solution, since consumers usually use the machines when fishmongers are closed,” Olevending’s deputy director Luis Emilio Rodriguez told Undercurrent News.
Each vending machine – with a cost of around €8,000 — has been adapted so it can sell perishable products, working like a fridge that keeps the products at 3 degrees Celsius, with a robotic basket to avoid the deterioration of the product when it falls once it is selected and LED lighting to avoid internal heat sources.
The service also includes optional fault text messages to reduce downtime, as well as control of cash flow, transmitting remote data of sales through mobile phone networks.
Once the vending machines are set up, the shop owner chooses between two types of packaging to display and sell the seafood: fresh vacuum packed or plastic containers for ready-to-cook fish.
“So far no supermarket is interested in this, but vending machines for seafood will spread like wildfire,” Rodriguez said.
Olevending has no record of other vending machines for seafood in other countries, and claims to be the first to promote this retailer vending strategy.
“We are just working in Spain, but other local retailers from Chile and Argentina have shown interest in this type of vending machines,” Rodriguez said.