Image courtesy of Thorneybank Farm Shop: After installing digital vending machines just a couple of years ago, thinking outside the box has been at the heart of lockdown success for an Aberdeenshire farming business.
Thorneybank Farm Shop near Inverurie made the news in 2018, when it was named the first shop in the UK to install digital vending machines to sell fresh produce and since then, the machines, which sell quality-assured red meat along with freshly picked farm vegetables, have been a big hit.
The state-of-the-art technology sees food packaged in portions in a refrigerated unit, behind glass doors. All visitors to the farm shop have to do is key in the number, pay by card using no-contact technology and the windows open.
Providing customers with high quality, local produce is something the Stephen family, who have owned the farm for three generations, is really passionate about and that’s the stock-in-trade at Thorneybank Farm Shop
“By shopping locally, people have become more attuned to seasonal eating and championing what is available in Scotland across different periods of the year”, Jenny Stephen said. “Investing in the community is something that’s really important to us and it’s an ethos our customers share. We’re excited about what’s to come at Thorneybank Farm Shop, as more people look closer to home for high quality fare.”
The success reflects research by Quality Meat Scotland that revealed Scotland’s love of local produce grew over lockdown, with over three quarters (79%) of people agreeing it is important to support local businesses.
“The success of Thorneybank Farm highlights that people are keen to support local businesses and make conscious shopping choices”, Lesley Cameron, Director of Marketing at QMS said.
The pandemic has accelerated growth in the installation of Unattended Retail outlets. Vending operators eager to expand their customer bases may well find themselves pushing at an open door as Farm Shops and similar enterprises seek their own solutions.
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