The next time you find yourself searching for the sample table at your local grocery store, you may stumble upon a different way of trying out new products. What used to be handed to us on a toothpick or in a mini plastic cup may soon be doled out to us from a vending machine that is smart enough to know our age and gender.
An article from USA Today reports about the new sampling machine introduced by Kraft Foods a few months ago.
The first vending machines were introduced in Chicago where grocery store customers could retrieve free samples of Jell-O Temptation’s mousse-like dessert. The Jell-O samples were meant for adults only and is equipped with a camera that can scan a customer’s face in order to detect their age. If a child were to step up for a taste, the machine would automatically shut down.
Though the new machines do not save photos or videos of customers, it does compare and store the data it retrieves. Creators of the machine say they are working on a way to get the machines to also measure a person’s reaction to the sample by determining whether they are smiling or not.
Director of the Platt Retail Institue, Steven Keith Platt, was excited when he heard about this innovative new way to try products. Platt jokingly said, “This is wow. I'll now have the ability to interact with a cool device that dispenses a unique product vs. walking up to some old lady with a white apron on.”
What do you think of the idea of retrieving your food sample in the grocery store from a vending machine?
Do you think vending machines are a better way for customers to sample products in the grocery store?