August 18, 2019
There are close to seventy milk vending machines in Slovenia, enabling consumers to come and get as much or as little raw milk from local farms as they need in their own container or one that can be bought from the machine itself.
The first milk vending machines were introduced in some European states (Switzerland, Italy and France) in the mid-1990s, while the first milk machine arrived in Slovenia in 2009, and soon many more joined it. Milk machines became increasingly popular among the population, who preferred raw milk straight from the farmer instead of treated milk from retailers. Many farmers, who get the full purchase price from the vending machines (1 EUR/L), but only 30% of that from milk merchants, believe that the raw milk safety scare of 2011 was in fact orchestrated by milk traders, who were worried about the future of their business once farmers were given direct access to consumers through the milk machines.
Eight years later, milk sales through vending machines have not been yet reached their pre-scare levels, but are certainly on the rise again. Moreover, with the plastic waste problem that has hit the minds of Western consumers after China banned imports of recyclables beginning with 2018, milk vending machines make more sense now than ever, as a way to support farmers, reduce waste and get a higher quality product.
The milk in the machines has to be changed every 24 hours and is kept at 4 degrees Celsius. A list of milk vending machines in Slovenia can be found here.
And this is how they are used: