DENVER, CO / ACCESSWIRE / October 1, 2021 / Ever fallen off a diet wagon with a ‘snack-cident’ that spiralled out of control? You’re doing all the right things – eating well, taking walks, and, suddenly, you start craving a bite while out walking or working late. You spot a vending machine, and things go downhill from there.
But what if the vending machines along your path only stocked healthy food and snacks? What if you could actually ‘see’ the contents of each vending machine in advance? Experts suggest that one way to make healthy eating a sustainable habit is to make healthy food options readily available – and that’s what Mama Gaia is on a mission to achieve, through clever technology.
AI meets healthy food meets local producers
Founded by Sarah Lynch in 2018, Mama Gaia is an innovative startup that builds and deploys smart, temperature-controlled vending machines stocked with healthy food to go. But that’s not all. Beyond easing access to healthy food, Mama Gaia offers end-users visibility into its vending machines through its proprietary patent-pending technology.
For local food producers, this is good news because it offers direct access to consumers plus predictive AI-powered insights – without expensive middlemen. Local businesses can save the costs (and headache!) of managing onsite kitchens while providing their staff with fresh healthy meals on-demand. In addition, businesses in high footfall areas can earn a passive income with sales on auto-pilot while leveraging the power of AI for automated customer engagement.
Built for easy access to healthy, locally sourced food, Mama Gaia offers the perfect technology-optimized middle ground between a growing demand for healthier options and an excellent earning potential.
Vending machines are evolving
Vending machines have come a long way from the days of the 1940s “Speedy Weeny” hotdog vending machines. Fast forward a few decades, and 56% of the 4.6 million vending machines that exist in the USA primarily dispense food and snacks of poor nutritional value. This number skyrockets to as high as 85% for vending machines located in American schools.
On the other hand, research also shows that 94% of Americans snack daily, with 33% of these opting for healthier options. However, the limited availability of healthier food options exposes a gap in the market between the desire to eat healthily, and the availability of healthy food options. This is not an insurmountable gap as it has been proven that increasing the availability of healthier options is an effective strategy for increasing sales.
To address these gaps in the market, Mama Gaia offers the perfect solution for more visible healthy food options that directly benefit local communities:
Businesses are empowered with a smart, effective platform for offering fresh meals and snacks to employees without an onsite kitchen.
Small, independent food producers can access a level playing field to present, and optimize their sales through AI-powered insights.
End-consumers enjoy streamlined availability of healthier convenient food options with motivational prompts such as push notifications and weekly discounts.
The birth of Mama Gaia
“I just loved the concept of supporting local food systems in a super convenient way,” Sarah said when asked how she came up with the idea.
So when the opportunity presented itself in the form of 3 temperature-controlled vending kiosks seeking a new owner, she jumped right in – especially as two of the units already enjoyed a steady influx of customers. As an English/Psychology major with no idea what a pitch deck was in the beginning, Sarah’s resilience drove her to work around the clock, learning the intricacies of marketing, tech, branding and a million others at lightning speed.
The journey was a difficult one, with some key lows. “I broke a fridge once, trying to move it myself”, Sarah remembers. “It toppled over in the middle of a busy intersection, and the glass door shattered all over the street”. Luckily, her persistence paid off with high end-user return rates, as customers loved the units and kept coming back.
Sarah hired a technical co-founder to build a proprietary platform complete with an app and inventory dashboard – all without any VC capital. With the app, customers were not just able to find their closest units, but they could also remotely scan the contents of each unit. Once at the unit, a scan of the QR code unlocks the door, allowing the customer access to whatever they want with a retrospective charge for only the items taken. The unit’s inventory is automatically tracked and updated using AI-powered vision, with stock levels reported on the administrator’s inventory dashboard.
Funding the future of healthy vending machines
In the future, Sarah wants to see Mama Gaia’s proprietary technology adopted nationwide to help increase the availability of healthy food in public spaces. In 2022, the company aims to roll out 100 vending fridge units across the United States, to help local food producers get their products in front of consumers more effectively.
Mama Gaia’s mission has already enjoyed significant success with almost 50% of their 2022 target signed up to the waitlist within the first 4 months. The soaring demand for its franchise applications also validates the notion that the convenience food industry is ripe for disruption. Mama Gaia offers the perfect solution that intersects across the vending machine industry worth $8.6 billion (in 2021) and the meal kit industry worth $11.5 billion over the same period.
Mama Gaia is currently scaling its technology to make vending units available to universities, hospitals, residential communities, and offices throughout the United States. Using data and profits from the company’s initial controlled expansion in Los Angeles, CA, Sarah plans to launch a franchised nationwide rollout that deploys tens of thousands of units across the country that delivers the ultimate goal of making healthy food options convenient.
SOURCE: Mama Gaia
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