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Chilean vending machines model takes off

In Chile, vending machines inside local stores are offering cash-strapped shoppers affordable staple items – without denting retailers’ profits.

Trend monitoring website reports some 73 per cent of the population of Latin America lives on less than US$4 per day, but the prices of food and necessities in struggling areas rarely reflects this.

Often, shops in areas such as Santiago in Chile offer products at prices up to 40 per cent higher than better off areas. Hoping to end this inequality, Algramo distributes vending machines containing staples such as beans, lentils, rice and sugar around Santiago. It installs the affordable alternatives in local stores and splits the profits with the shopkeepers.

Algramo enable locals to purchase goods in bulk in reusable containers, lowering the price and encouraging a more eco-friendly retail model. Rather than setting itself up as a competitor to neighbourhood shops — which are an integral, social part of Chilean life — Algramo work with the shopkeepers to improve the economic climate of the area.

The company developed their own vending machines, including one which dispenses washing powder and one which dispenses a variety of staple foods. All the machines can be installed easily and operated by customers.

So far, Algramo has installed more than 300 machines in Chile and now plans to expand into Colombia.


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