Veggie and meat vending machines crowd out stores during quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic and general quarantine have exposed the vulnerability of the food system of developed countries. Previously, almost the entire crop was bought up by large companies and supplied in wholesale quantities to retail chains and catering systems. Now that both supermarkets and restaurants are closed, people are looking for ways to buy groceries at retail without risking infection. In the UK, vending companies, fishermen and hydroponic vegetable growers have taken advantage of this.

In the 1970s, the grandfather of farmer Neil Stephen of Inverrier parked a wheelbarrow with vegetables and a piggy bank of honesty at the gate - people took the goods themselves and left 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 packaging, customers pay through electronic cards and do not risk getting infected. Thanks to this convenient format, sales have grown fivefold since the beginning of quarantine in the country, and residents of cities within a radius of 30 km come to buy food.

Plate to Crate, a London-based hydroponic grower in converted shipping containers, is preparing to harvest 12 crops a year, starting at 15 tonnes per container. In order not to use pesticides and eliminate the threat of pests, they initially relied on perfect cleanliness, including biosecurity suits for employees. All they had to do was add a workshop for sterile packaging of products in packages - and since the beginning of quarantine, the number of customers has already grown by 3000%. A little-known startup has become the main breadwinner of a densely populated area.

British fishermen are also trying to find their own approach, having received a million pounds of subsidies from the authorities for this purpose. Previously, all commercial fishing was export-oriented, which is now closed. Therefore, huge trawlers stand at the berths, and small ships daily bring small volumes of fish to the shore, which is packaged and delivered directly to customers' homes through couriers. In addition to the fact that people have fresh fish on their tables again, its assortment has also increased - earlier wholesalers bought only a few of the most popular species, and now fishermen have plenty of space.