An award-winning Aberdeenshire farmer and his wife have set up Scotland’s first egg vending machine.
Craig and Claire Grant have installed the quirky new machine in one of the North-east’s most popular garden centres. Customers at the Happy Plant in Mintlaw can now pay £3 for a dozen eggs from one of the machine’s 28 drawers.
Mr Grant, who was named Young Farmer of the Year in 2012, said: “The idea was to promote local food to local people and try to reduce the carbon footprint. It’s also a cheerful, quirky way for us to sell our eggs and kids love it too.”
Once customers have popped in their £3, one of the machine’s 28 doors opens to reveal two cartons of Aberdeenshire Choice farmed-produced eggs.
The machine is chilled to keep the eggs fresh and has a modem in it which sends a message straight to Craig and Claire’s mobile phones when there are only four dozen eggs left.
The Grants also sell their eggs in 15 Aberdeenshire Tesco stores.
Claire, who first thought of the idea in the week before Christmas, said: “We actually got the idea from one of the Fast & Furious films.
“There’s a scene in Toyko where they eat in a restaurant and get everything from vending machines.
“We looked into it - there a couple in England, half a dozen in Ireland but none here i n Scotland. Everyone we spoke to wanted local produce, and we produce these eggs right on the doorstep.”
Until the Grants installed their machine - designed in Ireland - Happy Plant did not sell eggs.
Now business is booming and staff are using the eggs in the cafe, encouraging people to use the machine.
Mrs Grant continued: “Can it be a big success? We just need to see how it goes.
“But the main thing is to give local people access to fresh, locally produced food.”