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Vegetable and meat vending machines displace stores during quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic and general quarantine revealed the vulnerability of the food system in developed countries. Previously, almost the entire harvest had been bought up by large companies and wholesale shipments had been supplied to trading networks and the catering system. Now that both supermarkets and restaurants are closed, people are looking for ways to buy food at retail without risking infection. In the UK, this has been used by vending companies, fishermen and hydroponics vegetable producers.



In the 1970s, farmer Neil Stephen's grandfather from Inverry used to put a car at the gate with vegetables and a piggy bank of honesty - people would take the goods and leave the payment. Today, the Nile has a building with a dozen vending machines selling fresh produce from nearby farmers. All products are divided into portions, in separate packages, customers pay through electronic cards and do not risk getting infected. Thanks to this convenient format, sales have increased fivefold since the beginning of quarantine in the country, and people from cities within a 30 km radius come to pick up the products.

The London-based start-up "Plate to Crate", which grows vegetables and greenery on hydroponics in converted sea containers, is preparing to harvest 12 crops a year. In order to avoid pesticides and pest threats, it has initially relied on perfect cleanliness, including biosecurity suits for employees. All they had to do was add a sterile bagging shop - and since quarantine began, the number of customers has already grown by 3000 percent. A little-known startup became the main breadwinner of a densely populated district.

British fishermen, who have received a million pounds in subsidies from the authorities, are also trying to find their own approach. Previously, all fishing was for export, which is now closed. Therefore, huge trawlers stand at the berths, and small boats daily bring small amounts of fish to the shore, which is facaded and delivered through couriers directly to the house customers. In addition to the fact that people on the tables again have fresh fish, and increased its range - previously wholesalers bought only a few of the most popular species, and now from the fishermen in the distance.

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