Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Ukko Robotics introduces direct-to-consumer platform for farm retail


September 1, 2021
By Fruit and Vegetable

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The Vendii locker. Photo courtesy of Ukko Robotics.

Canadian farm technology company Ukko Robotics recently introduced Vendii, a new direct-to-consumer sales platform for farmers and other small businesses needing a non-staffed retail solution.

Vendii consists of a “smart locker” to store and deliver goods and an app which consumers use to order products. The lockers have multiple locked compartments, which can be opened with codes issued to a buyer. The farmer/retailer fills a compartment with an order when it is received and the buyer retrieves it at their convenience.

Vendii lockers are powered by 120V or solar, allowing them to be placed in almost any outdoor location. They come in both temperature-controlled and non-controlled versions, so perishable food items can be stored safely.

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Ukko Robotics co-founder Daniel Badiou said the Vendii was designed to meet the growing challenge of farm retail staffing as more smaller farms are selling directly to the public.

“We were hearing from farmers who were getting tired of going to farmers markets every weekend. Vendii is intended to give them some of their time back and it requires a lot less effort than hauling product to the market and unsold product back,” he said in a press release. “We also make it a lot easier and convenient for both the farmer and consumer to pick up products on the farm. If a customer knows what they want, they can purchase online and pick up at their convenience.”

Aside from freeing up a farmers’ time, Vendii also can help lower food waste by allowing harvesting to order and reducing the amount of loss from unsold farm products.

“The challenge with farmers markets is you’re guessing how much you’re going to sell and what products are going to sell better than others,” Badiou said. “Vendii is something a single farmer or a group of farmers could use to better anticipate demand for specific products and ensure they can deliver them from the best locations.”