Person holding a smartphone looking at a food delivery app

New Food Solutions; Smoothie bots & delivery to the rescue

Published on : 5/7/20
  • Very fortunately, the exploration into new food solutions, including AI and delivery bots, had already begun before COVID-19 turned the world upside down. As the world’s leader in food service, our teams stepped outside of the typical food-tech paradigm and began working on innovative solutions to offer our guests greater choice, flexibility and convenience.

    We never could have predicted how critical it would become.

    Reimaging the vending machine 

    From smart phones and refrigerators to smart speakers that can order you dinner, meet: the smart vending machine.

    Alberts smoothies vending machines

    An on-demand smoothie kiosk can make all the difference for exhausted healthcare workers or cleaning staff. We believe that access to proper nutrition is critical as essential workers see their energy lag or their attention to detail waning after triaging thousands of patients and reducing the spread of an invisible disease. And, with many on-site restaurant options having closed in hospitals, it can be difficult for healthcare workers to access nutritious meals. Working long shifts in high infection areas, basic needs - like eating right - become a second (or third or fourth) priority, compared to keeping people alive and healing.  

    Alberts Smoothies Vending machine and appCan a robot be a hero? Certainly not, but the people behind it, and the people it serves, are. 
    That being said, the self-operating, self-cleaning Alberts Smoothie Robot deserves a gold star. We placed it our University Hospital of Anthwerp in Belgium.  

    • Its pay-by-app function means you never have to touch the command keys, reducing the risk of exposure from many hands.  
    • Needing only a water and power line, its limited maintenance means it takes less time to maintain than a coffee machine.   
    • And, the user is totally in control of what comes out by choosing fully visible frozen fruits to drop and blend. 

    This is one of several smart vending solutions being used across our sites.

    New ways to bring healthy to your door

    Not everyone has the time, skill or inspiration to concoct tasty and healthy meals during the long days of confinement, leaving them to eat pasta or rice day and night.  And, many critical workers like doctors, nurses, or grocery store attendants, may come home from a long shift without the time or energy to wait in lines to get ingredients or prepare nutritious meals for their family. While third-party delivery companies like Deliveroo and Uber Eats were gaining popularity recently, much of their selection has become inoperable due to the closure of the restaurant industry and physical establishments that are considered non-essential.  

    Seazon dishesMeet: the virtual kitchen… 

    with no customer reception infrastructure, designed not to serve, but to deliver, and hyper-adapted to confinement.  

    Seazon, a service under FoodCheri, a French food-tech pioneer who joined forces with Sodexo in 2018, and a Parisian start-up provides "fresh home-cooked dishes" to individuals. Veggie curry, penne with cream and mushrooms, tortiglioni with goat cheese, chicken tagine, chili sin carne and avocado puree; the delicious menu is half vegetarian with sizeable portions (400 grams) and each is bestowed with a Nutriscore varying between A and B.

    “Our offer was already working well. But in the days following the president's announcement of the containment, the number of new subscribers increased sharply: + 18%,” observed Patrick Asdaghi, the founder of Foodchéri in France, a meal delivery service at the workplace “put on pause" when teleworking became the rule.

    Seazon appDelivering tens of thousands of meals every week, everywhere in France, including rural areas thanks to a La Poste service provider, Chronofresh. Meals arrive cold, in sealed dishes, with an expiration date of around a week thanks to a modified atmosphere system. 

    Seazon has also made a special effort to care for our healthcare heroes by delivering 23,000 dishes free of charge to hospitals in Paris and its suburbs, in addition to a 25% discount for caregivers who need a little extra help and want the service delivered at home.

    Another Sodexo delivery service, now available in Paris in Lyon is Prêt à Partager, bringing flexibility and family dishes prepared by our expert chefs, baskets of fruit and yogurt from local producers. A person can order the day of and have sustainable, seasonal products delivered same day. In line with our core values, users can expect:

    • 100% fresh (not frozen), French origin meat 
    • 100% seafood from sustainable fishing
    • 60% of locally sourced supplies 
    • 100% seasonal fruits and vegetables 
    • 100% French origin for the milk used in our recipes

    For the elderly whose outings could be life-threatening, work-at-home employees, or families that just want a break or some creativity, this model is a fresh, healthy way to access food, while often supporting the local farming community.  

    Learn more about the driving force behind Sodexo’s innovation

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