Source: Choyal

Vibhuti Choyal, general manager of product and services at Choyal, with the Floura machine

In-store flour milling machines are to be rolled out to three UK locations in the new year.

The Floura milling and vending machine, made by Indian company Choyal, serves up fresh flour on demand to shoppers within a few minutes.

Customers select the variety and quantity they require on the machine’s touchscreen, before its built-in milling stone grinds the grains and packages the flour for collection.

The 10 ft by three ft machine also features a sampling point so users can check the quality of the grain before ordering. The machines serve the milled and packaged flour within four minutes for a 2kg pack and within six minutes for a 5kg pack.

Stores lease the machine on a long-term basis, with its contents topped up by Choyal. Choyal is currently securing supply deals with local growers, with the ambition that shoppers will be able to see the provenance of their flour down to the individual farm level.

The retailer provides the space in store with “everything else done by us” Choyal said. The company takes a profit margin from each sale.

The three early-adopters of the Floura machine are Asian supermarket Pick N’Save in Harrow, The Fresh Flour Company in Devon and farming and food education centre Farmed in Chipping Norton.

The machine can hold three varieties of grain and shoppers can choose the fineness of their flour and quantity. A greater number of varieties will be available from future iterations of the machine.

“Artisan bakers are very interested in using the machines within their production facilities, and for retailers it provides a great USP for their stores,” said Choyal general manager of product and services Vibhuti Choyal.

“They can provide the freshest flour in their area, rather than the same off-the-shelf flour as everyone else, which is already a month or two old.”

While admitting fresh flour was a slightly “niche product”, she said more and more consumers were seeking fresher ingredients and demanding to know the source of their food.

“Every stakeholder in the current system is working in isolation – farmers, millers, middlemen. And by the time it gets to the consumer they don’t know where the flour has come from,” she said. 

“I’m working to disrupt the traditional linear flour supply chain into a more sustainable one, through an end-to-end digital ecosystem making fresh flour accessible to all. We will build local ecosystems where raw material is procured locally, processed locally and consumed locally,” she added.