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'Fridge on doorstep’ opens for business
By Zhao Wen

A VENDING machine selling raw meat, crabs and other produce has been installed in downtown — the first of 200 planned over the next year.

The machines are intended to make up for a lack of wet markets in downtown and serve areas where public transport is inconvenient, the Shanghai Commerce Commission said yesterday.

The first machine, installed in a Nanjing Road community where many elderly people and office workers live, went into operation on Thursday.

Produce on offer includes packaged meat, fish, crabs, eggs, fruit and fresh vegetables.

The machine operates 24 hours a day accepting cash, bank cards and membership cards, said vending machine operator Jinshan Qiangfeng Co.

Residents seemed enthusiastic about their new grocery outlet.

“The vending machine is great. It’s like having a fridge at the doorstep and saves a lot of time,” said an elderly resident surnamed Chen.

Chen said that a trip to her nearest wet market took at least two hours.

White-collar workers also welcomed the machine. An office worker surnamed Huang said he could buy vegetables at any time now, no matter how late he finished work.

Jinshan Qiangfeng said there had been a good response from residents.

“We’ve already replenished stock twice today,” said Jinshan Qiangfeng representative Shen Bin, adding that eight residents applied for membership cards on Thursday.

Shen said prices can be 20 percent lower than wet markets because the vending company is directly supplied by farmers in Jinshan District.

Leaf vegetables were selling for 2 yuan (33 US cents) a kilogram yesterday.

Residents can also order groceries online and these will be delivered to the vending machine the next day, said the operator. Customers use a password to collect their purchases.

The next batch will be in communities on Julu Road, Yan’an Road M., Xinzha Road, Wanhangdu Road, Jiangning Road, Wuding Road and Shimen No. 2 Road in Jing’an District.

Residents can also pay phone, credit card and utility bills at the machines.


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