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Longo's testing "Meals Made Easy" kiosks

The new kiosks give shoppers more power to choose ingredients rather than having to take everything that would be in boxed meal kits

Longo’s is testing new “meal-based” shopping kiosks at one of its Toronto stores with plans to expand the concept across the chain next year.

The “Meals Made Easy” kiosks are inspired by the the popular meal-in-a-box trend, providing shoppers everything they need for a complete meal that is healthier than fast-food options, said John Fiorino, who is leading the kiosk project for Longo’s. However, the kiosks also give shoppers more power to choose the ingredients themselves rather than having to take everything that would be in the boxed option.

Shoppers can review the recipes, then choose the ingredients—produce, meats, starches and garnishes—based on how many people are eating, from a meal for one up to a dinner party of 10.

“In a box, you don’t even see what you are getting sometimes,” said Fiorino. Or else you may not need everything in the box if you have some of the ingredients at home already.

There is no additional cost to using the kiosks since the ingredients are the same as anywhere else in the store, just brought together for the sake of convenience. “You are shopping the store, but all in one spot,” he said.

The three kiosks are each about four feet by nine feet, near the prepared foods section of the store. Each kiosk has a fridge on the bottom with shelving to hold more ingredients and a digital screen above that presents the menu and recipe options. There are also recipe cards shoppers can take with them.

For now, Longo’s is posting four options a week: a vegetarian, a fish and a meat option for most of the week, with one of those three replaced by an option ideal for hosting a dinner party with guests.

“This program seeks to prepare us for the future of retail,” said Rosanne Longo, in a release introducing the new kiosks. “As we carefully examine consumer trends, we know that customers are certainly seeking convenience, but we firmly believe that they also want a human-centred experience where they can browse, see, feel and compare ingredients before purchasing."



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