Research shows that eating at work isn’t very healthy. Whether it’s grabbing a burger and fries or a salad drenched in too much dressing, eating while working doesn’t always work in your best interest.
Fresh Bowl is among a raft of startups looking to change how we eat at the office by providing a “Farm-to-Desk” vending machine experience that serves up healthier food options like lentil salads and açai bowls. The company even wants to improve how we consume our food by dispensing it in reusable glass containers.
The startup launched its first Fresh Bowl vending machine at the WeWork West in Soho New York City last November. The machine features food made from scratch that is delivered every morning. Prices are just under $10 for salads and just under $5 for a snack.
However, since food is served in reusable glass jars, there is an additional $2 jar deposit on top of that price. But what’s pretty cool is that you can return the glass jar to the vending machine and roll a $2 credit towards your next purchase (which covers the cost of your next jar deposit).
Fresh Bowl is similar to other players out there with the same mission of making office meals more healthy. Farmer’s Fridge raised $30 million last year to expand its salad-dispensing vending machines. Chowbotics raised $11 million last year to expand its menu robot-made salads to robot-made food bowls. And Byte provides offices with smart vending machines that are loaded with healthy food.
While there is plenty of competition on the healthy eating front, the reusable glass container is a nice differentiating hook for Fresh Bowl. The eco-friendly packaging comes at a time when the stigma around single-use plastic is increasing, and even big CPG brands are getting into the reusable packaging game. In a recent social media post, Fresh Bowl says that 90 percent of the jars were returned.
FreshBowl raised an undisclosed sum of money in December last year from a Bay Area investor and a few NYC-based angels. The company has three employees and is looking to roll out more vending machines by the end of March.