The Grand-Union Food-o-Mat

“EAST PATERSON, NJ — The Grand Union chain, pioneer in outdoor supermarket vending, is resuming its automatic merchandising operation at the flagship shop here after a one-month interruption in the experiment.

Pilot models of the Grand Union Food-o-Mat are being tested, with and [sic] 11-battery machine scheduled to go into operation by the end of the month.

The Food-o-Mat, an invention of Lansing Shield, GU President, has been used as a non-coin device to speed the selection of goods within the store. Its principle is that of an inclined chute. When the consumer removes the bottom item, the next one slides into delivery position.
Coin Mechanism: These units are being adapted for coin operation. According to Carl Shaver, director of sales, the coin mechanisms will take any combination of coins– including pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and half-dollars– for any purchase of up to 99 cents. It will take as many a four pennies.

Some of the units are refrigerated and some are not. The chain is currently running tests on canned goods, bakery items, and dairy products.”

The Billboard, “Grand Union Resumes Outdoor Vending Test,” p.85, June 10, 1957.