Robotic vending machines that offer fresh vegan smoothies and cold-pressed juices recently launched in California. JuiceBot uses first-of-its-kind technology to make and serve 100-percent raw organic juice and smoothies with the push of a button. Founders Kamal Mohamed, Eric Ploeger, and LJ Stead started JuiceBot with a mission to create a space for convenient beverages without preservatives, emulsifiers, or additives. They spent two years working with biotech firm PathSensors to develop a food safety technology for fresh, raw, unpasteurized foods that can detect pathogens, like salmonella and listeria, in under five minutes (the standard length of time for food safety testing is two weeks). With this new technology, JuiceBot has become the first and only approved machine that can serve raw food in California. “In order to make fresh raw foods as convenient and accessible as getting a soda from a vending machine, we had to rethink and create a new model,” Kamal Mohamed, CEO of JuiceBot, said. “The old system favored pre-packaged, longest shelf life, and just mass in general. Our mission is to change the distribution model to fit good healthy food, not the other way around.” The machine’s touch screen walks users through the juice and smoothie customization process, where they can choose a mix of fruit and vegetable blends, all served in a 100-percent compostable cup. Machines are currently available in four public locations in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood, as well as private businesses and schools, and have had approximately 23,000 customers to date. JuiceBot is also collaborating with the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to launch an initiative that provides complimentary smoothies and juices to people in the community, regardless of socioeconomic status.  

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