Westomatic believes it has cracked the problem of producing a vending machine that offers hot food of sufficient quality to satisfy today’s demanding consumers.

Its new hot food vending system stocks the Pot Stuff and Westlers products from The Big Kitchen, which offers a wide range of meals such as Irish Stew, Bolognese, Chilli and an All Day Breakfast, all of which have a one-year shelf life. These products require no refrigeration, saving on expensive transportation and wastage. Meals take an average two minutes to cook.

Customers can pay at the machine using coins as well as via cashless systems or Apple pay, avoiding the need to queue up with people who are paying for petrol.

Charlotte Summersby, marketing executive at Westomatic, said: "We have all been on a long commute where a quick stop-off for a bar of chocolate or a bag of crisps won’t suffice, but now we have a hot food offering that is not only welcomed by the end user, but is also sustainable for service stations big and small."

Richard Brinsley, managing director at Westomatic, said: "Hot food vending has always had expensive restrictions for vending operators, caused by factors such as short shelf-life, stock fatigue and costly refrigerated transport. But now we have found the perfect product to partner with our vending equipment."

Mitch Higginson, managing director for The Big Kitchen, added: "Our products are free from preservatives and maintain their shelf life due to the ’pressure cooker’ style of manufacture. They also have very reasonable calorie content and have no added salt."

Brinsley added: "The partnership of the Easy 6000 drum vendor, Easy Kitchen Microwave unit and this new long-life product line will open up new opportunities for operators all over the country. We finally have the full hot food package that these sites have been looking for."

He says the new concept would work well alongside Westomatic’s Coffee to Go self-serve unit (above) for sites that could benefit from a café or restaurant area but don’t have the space or sufficient staff to run it. This self-serve vending unit uses dehydrated milk so there is no need for refilling of fresh milk or hygiene issues.

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