Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vending Machine Salmon with Julienne of Vegetables & Chive Sauce?


In my adventures around hospital cafeteria food I found myself exploring the Compass Group's website (world's leading provider of retail food service delivery) and I also enlisted some folks from my office to do so. Lorne, our director of operations, came across something they call, "Steamplicity".

Basically it's a vending machine that cooks meals using steam, and where I see great promise for a system like this is in those hospitals where their cafeterias close at 2pm and aren't open on weekends.

If you've ever worked a night shift in a hospital you'll know that pretty much every night there's a group of docs and nurses ponying together to order something from takeout and I'd be willing to wager there's not a nursing station in North America that doesn't have a dedicated drawer of take out/delivery menus.

How great would it be to actually be able to instead go downstairs and order a hot, healthy meal? Meals like Oriental Rice with BBQ Chicken, Mediterranean Chicken & Ratatouille Vegetables, Mild Vegetable Curry and Rice, Haddock with a Penne Pasta Mornay, Broccoli and Cauliflower Mornay, Mediterranean Vegetables with Olives & Mozzarella and of course Salmon with Julienne of Vegetables & Chive Sauce? That's the promise of Steamplicity.

Now of course I don't have any nutritional breakdowns to look at, and the photograph on the menu has a big steaming pile of white refined rice, but certainly I can't imagine it would be that difficult to have Steamplicity make some truly healthy options.

I'm not sure if Steamplicity is set up as a standard vending machine or if it's more for institutional meal preparation, but given the existence of the unit itself, how hard could it be to set it up for vending machine style use?

See, even good news from Big Food!

So that rounds out good news week....maybe I'll do another one someday, but not next week. Next week I've got a bunch of angry posts planned.

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  1. Anonymous11:23 am

    Some of those entrees sound quite delicious. (Hopefully not loaded with sodium.) You don't have to be night shift to be tempted to choose those over fast food. I work days at a hospital, and if those were healthier choices (not knowing the nutritional info, it's hard to say), I'd want to pick them over Tim Horton's or the food court that are choices where I work.

  2. Anonymous3:47 pm

    With some planning, I have finally acquired the habit of making and carrying my lunch and snacks almost every day now -- and my son's too (his by necessity, no cafeteria at his school).

    I have learned that when I prepare and carry food, I make far better "choices" based on what's with me and handy when I need to eat.

    It's also far less expensive. Having lunch "out", no matter what shift you work, is best as a treat - both nutritionally and financially.


  3. Heather8:03 pm

    I came across this post in my research for becoming a franchisee for Organic vending machines. I'm wondering if any one here has any input on if folks like yourself would find it useful to have healthier snacks avaiable? It wouldn't be meal replacement..that's for sure. And Ottawa is such a conservative, red tape kind of town so I'm not too sure if there would be much uptake on this. But I know for myself, I care what my family eats and we're mostly organic at home but that certainly doesn't stop us from the need to grab snacks so it would be nice to have some healthier choices.