ooft kitchen

The company behind a vending machine that provides hot and “healthy” food 24 hours a day is gearing up for a major rollout across the NHS.

The machine has already been installed at Mount Vernon Hospital and Hillingdon Hospital in London, for use by doctors, staff and patients.

Ooft Kitchen has agreed a distribution contract with Bidfood for the wholesaler to stock the machines with 10 gluten-free meals, such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Chilli Con Carne, and Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Bake, using “all-natural ingredients”.

The machine has an on-screen menu that displays ingredients, allergens, and nutritional information for each meal.

Users can pay using cash, credit or debit card, or Apple Pay.

The hand-prepared ready meals are then cooked within two minutes before being dispensed.

Each meal meets the government’s salt targets, according to Ooft, and can be stored “without refrigeration”, or the use of additives or preservatives.

Ooft claims the machine helps hospitals meet new NHS criteria, introduced in March, to provide hot and healthy food to staff, patients, and visitors 24 hours a day.

Bidfood CEO Andrew Selley said: ”As a business we strive to help customers stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of the most relevant innovation that will make their lives easier and help them to grow. Many operators like universities, workplace operators, and the NHS, require 24 hour hot food availability.

”As the exclusive distributor of the Ooft Kitchen range of ready meals to its automated kitchens I believe we have a fantastic opportunity to address these needs on a national basis. I am delighted that the range offers a choice of special dietary options such as gluten free, vegetarian and vegan to customers and consumers.”

Ooft says it wants to install a further 100 at private and NHS hospitals in 2018, and is also targeting universities, student halls, workplaces, and ferries. The machines can be bought outright or leased from three to five years. Ooft would not say how much the machines cost because of “commercial sensitivities”.