Bizarre Vending Machines From Around the World

Vending machines have come a long way over the years. The first vending machine was a simple coin operated device that dispensed post cards in the early 1880’s. Nowadays they are commonly used for vending snacks and drinks automatically 24/7.

The idea is simple; the user inserts money, chooses their selection and then out comes their chosen item. Vending machines are a popular choice for areas where there are a lot of people, for example shopping centers, schools, colleges, offices, hotels and train stations. In situations where there might not necessarily be staff available 24 hours a day, vending machines provide the ideal solution for those looking for a quick snack or drink on the go.

However vending machines have evolved far beyond serving just chocolate bars and bottles of drink. Around the world in places such as the Far East, vending machines have become very popular. Did you know that in Japan, vending machines are so widespread that there is roughly 1 vending machine for every 23 people?

Their popularity has lead people in some parts of the world to take vending machines to a whole new level. In fact you simply would not believe the variety of items that can now be bought from a vending machine. Here are some of our favourite weird and wonderful vending machines from around the world…

Baguettes – France

Freshly baked bread is an important part of French life, so it’s no surprise that in the French capital Paris you can now buy baguettes 24/7 from a vending machine. Partially cooked loaves are loaded into the machine and heated then served to the customer on their request. The baguette dispensing machine is the brainchild of French baker Jean Louis Hecht who came up with the idea because customers were knocking on his door at all hours looking for fresh bread – even when he was closed!

French Fries – Australia

If you’re after some fast food on the go, this vending machine in Australia offers the perfect solution. The machine stores frozen potatoes that are cooked and seasoned to order. In just two minutes the fries are hot and ready to be served, with a choice of mayo or ketchup.  

Lobsters – Las Vegas, USA

Fancy a fun game that offers you the chance to catch your own dinner? Well in some US restaurants there are vending machines which store live lobsters in a tank. For a small fee you can try and catch one of the creatures using the mechanical claw. As they’re are alive this is much more difficult than it looks, a new twist on the old fairground claw game. Bonus is if you manage to catch one, the restaurant will cook your lobster for free!

IPods and Accessories – USA

These are a common site in shopping malls across the US. Vending machines offering high end electrical goods are popping up all over the place.  As well as iPods, there are many other items available including iPhones, iPads, headphones, chargers and other accessories.

Caviar – Los Angeles, USA

At the Burbank Town Centre mall in Los Angeles you can now buy caviar and other luxury food items from a vending machine. With prices ranging from $50-$500 the machine dishes out gourmet treats including truffles, escargot, bottargo and blinis at the press of a button.

Cupcakes – USA

Dubbed a ‘cash point for cupcakes’ these bright pink vending machines have the appearance of an ATM except instead of cash, they dispense cupcakes. These cupcake ATMs are from popular LA bakery Sprinkles which are a firm favourite of many A-list celebs in Hollywood. For just $3.50 you are given the choice of 8 different cupcake flavours, with fresh cakes being loaded into the machines every couple of hours to ensure quality.

Eggs, Milk, Cheese & Frankfurters – Germany

In case you forgot to buy some or your essentials when out shopping in Germany, fear not! Thanks to Peter-and-Paul-Hof you can now buy fresh farm goods straight from a vending machine. These machines were originally intended to save the farm having to make deliveries and the idea caught on. So now you can pick up your fresh eggs, milk and cheese 24/7 from a vending machine in thirteen German towns.

Mashed Potatoes – Singapore

For just one dollar this vending machine at 7-Eleven store in Singapore will give you a cup of gravy and mash. Designed by food company Maggi, this contraption serves mashed potato and gravy instantly through the nozzle, just like a standard drinks machine. There’s even an option for BBQ potato if you’re feeling more adventurous.

Beer – Czech Republic

The sale of alcohol through a vending machine presents an interesting challenge for vending machines, as in many countries there are alcohol age restrictions in place. What this vending machine in the Czech Republic manages to do is solve this issue, with the use of a passport scanner to check ID before a purchase is allowed to be made. These are becoming more popular at sports venues, hotels and dorms.

Pizza – Italy

Last but by no means least, probably the most incredible and unbelievable machine is the Let’s Go Pizza vending machine. This machine is a world first in that it makes and serves pizza to order. You can choose from 3 different toppings and in two and a half minutes the machine will knead the dough, add sauce and toppings then present you with your very own pizza. Incredible.

Look out for part 2 where we’ll be bringing you more bizarre vending machines from around the world.