Innovation Alert: Meat Vending Machines Are Here

Your 24/7 steak cravings will not go unsatisfied.

Carnivores, your meat-on-demand moment has finally arrived.

A New York State meat maven is rolling out a midnight-snacking meat eater’s dream come true: 24-hour-a-day meat vending machines.

Joshua Applestone, who co-founded the high-end, whole-animal-movement-sparking Fleischers Craft Butchery in 2004 before selling it in 2013 (it has retail locations in Brooklyn and the Upper East Side as well as the tony Connecticut towns of Greenwich and Westport), is looking to further innovate meat-buying with his follow-up venture: The Applestone Meat Co.

Aiming for better “accessibility and affordability” for fresh-cut steaks, chops, ground beef, sausages and the like, Applestone is launching a line of 24/7 meat vending machines, so customers, especially busy millennials, can buy meat “whenever works for them,” according to the company’s website.

The idea came to Applestone while trying to figure out a way to easily and efficiently sell meat to customers at his minimally staffed meat-processing location in Stone Ridge, New York, not far from Woodstock, he told Bloomberg. Inspired in part by the old New York City automats, where a few coins provided access to a lunch that awaited you in a little see-through, climate-controlled compartment, Applestone has installed four meat vending machines – one stocked with beef, one lamb, one pork, and one ground meat and sausage -- in the company’s main location. The machines have been such a hit, needing constant restocking, that Applestone is planning a wider meat-vending-machine rollout to other New York locations, including targeting its first Manhattan install by 2019.

While Applestone’s current vending machines have a vintage sandwich-machine-carousel vibe and stock about 150 items, it is developing new ones that will hold as many as 1,000 items.

“The next version will make it a smoother, more intuitive process,” Applestone told Bloomberg, adding that he’s hoping, in time, to have them in every city nationwide. “This is going to be like getting your first iPhone.”

Except ... meatier.

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