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The Future Of Vending Machines: Freshly Made Pizza, Do-It-Yourself Muffins

(CBS) -- Vending machines and food might conjure up some negative images:

-Shaking the machine when your potato chips get stuck.

-Not the best options for dining.

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports that's all changing. He paid a visit to a vending machine trade show in Chicago.

How's this for a treat? A TCBY yogurt with Oreo crumbs. It starts with a touch screen where you choose sizes, flavors and toppings. No, an army of oompa loompas isn't inside the big box. It's a robotic assembly line.

Meanwhile, Matty Castellano is selling fresh pizza from a vending machine.

"The idea was to put our pizza in a machine all over the country," he said.

Technology has helped him see the way, to a pizza you order on a touch screen that's ready in 3 minutes, from fresh locally made sauces and doughs with all kinds of toppings.

"A mac-and-cheese pizza – now I've never heard of that before, but everyone that tastes it loves it," he says.

The "24/7 Pizza Box" is a family affair for Castellano. He and his children perfected the robotic ovens and coolers that keep the product uniform and fresh.

The pizza dough is made locally and then vacuum-sealed, allowing it to stay fresh for five days.

Among other standout machines at the trade show, a robotic barista pours a creamy cappuccino inside a brewer from Vendors Exchange.

But not all the innovations at the show are high-tech. Take, for example, muffin mix in a cup. Just add water and microwave for 45 seconds. The folks at FlapJacked were originally serving up protein-infused pancake mix.

"We found millennials, which are our biggest consumer base, were a little too lazy to fire up the griddle and so they were taking the pancake mix and mixing it in a coffee cup," company representative David Bacon says.


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