Vending beef: Singapore’s EasyMeat taking wagyu retail out of the box


By Richard Whitehead, Food Navigator Asia



Japan might have a global reputation for its vending machines, but that’s not going to stop Singapore from putting in a bid to steal its title - this time with wagyu beef.


The city already offers fresh Norwegian salmon and chilli crabs from refrigerated boxes. And that’s before one considers the skyscraper-sized luxury car vending machine.


The latest addition to the line-up is by EasyMeat, which is now selling Australian wagyu beef from six machines across the island. Burger patties cost S$10.90 (USD$8.10) for 300g, 200g of ribeye costs S$25.90 (USD$19.20) and a 200g strip-loin costs a little less.


These are portioned, frozen and vacuum packed before being put in smart machines located largely in residential areas that target younger beef connoisseurs.


“Singaporeans are generally tech savvy and have a sophisticated taste, so you not only see a wider range of products in vending machines, the value of the products is also increasing​,” said co-founder Mervin Tham.


“They don’t just sell drinks and snacks, you can now buy clothes and high-priced items like chilli crabs. This suggests that people are willing to pay and have greater trust in buying from a metal box when sometimes they cannot even see the product. We saw that potential​.”


The vending machines’ USP is the convenience to buy a wagyu cut at any time of the day or night from a vending machine near to home. But do Singaporeans really wake up in the middle of the night craving something marbled and potentially medium-rare?


Though the machines obviously accommodate impulse purchases, Tham says this convenience angle centres on the availability of wagyu at stores and supermarkets. The meat is not stocked widely, so an EasyMeat box would save a separate trip to the store...