Canadians generally like to think of themselves as conscious consumers, yet 58% of all food is wasted, every year. Food scarcity is a global issue and inflation rates worldwide are soaring. It’s getting harder for consumers to eat well, while managing all the external issues surrounding them. Supply chain challenges are wreaking havoc on the best-laid plans for predictability, and some things, such as protests or weather anomalies, are simply out of our control.
However, with technologies assisting us in our everyday decision making, coupled with a conscious effort to be mindful of waste and the world around us, it’s getting easier to minimize food waste, while also indulging in nutritious, varied and delicious cuisines. Enter UpMeals, which is using its mission and its technology to shape consumers into being more more conscious, while providing the convenience they expect.
Trends colliding: curated to the consumer where they are, what they want, when they want = waste not
A collision of trends that focuses on solving a host of problems is part of UpMeals’ origin story, and its adaptation into smart vending technology is an evolution of that. Innovative practices developed by UpMeals, using AI-powered automation and real time customization, have perfected the consumer journey, even building in light, hands-off, yet interactive socializing components to their SmartVending machines. These SmartVending machines use predictive algorithms with the delicious, healthy, customizable, curated meals that tap into consumer habits, while appealing to the conscious consumer. That’s a lot of heavy lifting, without even touching on the enhanced impact of food safety and security with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed and is changing the most minute details of our life.
UpMeals has a smart way to tackle all of these components in a streamlined, comfortable, curated, civilized consumer experience.
Urgency to minimize waste
Humans are predisposed to avoid waste. UpMeals’ app uses AI coupled with customized options for each user that empowers them subconsciously, at no effort, to make smart meal decisions without doing the work behind making waste-minimizing choices.
By using targeting tech that monitors our inventory to track expiration dates, UpMeals’ technology prompts items that are soon to expire to be listed at the top of menu options. These options are also curated to the palate of each person, so it’s a pleasant, easy, consumer experience, time isn’t wasted, and neither is food. Its principles are actually pretty simple and rooted in an innate desire to avoid waste; you’re less likely to waste something if it has a tangible cost to you. If you think about things you don’t waste, and why, it’s easy to understand how this works. For example, in pre-Netflix days, you would rent a movie for X amount of days, and you not only had to ensure you watched it, but you had to return it within a certain timeframe, or else face penalties – wasted money, wasted resources. Or a more modern take, if you rent a movie on Apple or Amazon, you have it for 24-48 hours, and can have notifications that trigger you to watch it within a certain window, or else, enter expiration date.
Demand is there – UpMeals supplies it, intelligently
UpMeals caters to every consumer through our ready-made meal-delivery service and SmartVending machines. SmartVending machines are upscale, fresh vending machines that are where consumers are, like schools, office hubs. We also offer a scheduled food delivery option, with our subscription-based delivery system. UpMeals’ SmartVending machines provide 24/7 access to nutritious food tailored to meet the preferences of the machine’s users, while our subscription option provides planned delivery of custom meals. On the tech side, our company’s software provides robust data analytics and tracking to reduce waste, optimize stocking levels and frequencies, focusing on local and seasonal food items. With our SmartVending machines, once we know a meal is coming up for expiration, we can safely donate it to a food distribution service (for example in Vancouver we have partnered with Vancouver Food Runners) that allocates it to those in-need – and these types of programs are available across the country. Because the food is stored in its own package in a refrigerated unit, this is completely safe.
Demand is supplied with what is available, in a timely and resource-efficient way, while also catering to the vast array of food preferences and options that an Uber society has come to expect. UpMeals has partnered with top chefs in Vancouver to create restaurant caliber-cuisines, already elevating the vending machine game substantially.
UpMeals is doing much more than putting a bandaid on a pervasive and costly social issue, it’s upending the way we think about food and consumption. The phrase “expiration date” is laden with negative connotations, but if the meals are fresh, and they are, and positioned to provide a flawless, easy, rewarding experience, that jargon is left behind. What’s not left behind? Food waste. While technology alone can’t tackle resource scarcity or government-directed inflation, UpMeals gives consumers, conscious or not, an easy, accessible, healthy way to eat well, want not, and most definitely, waste not.