When traveling through the Japanese countryside and in some smaller neighborhoods, it can often come as a surprise to some to encounter unmanned produce stands. Many of these staffless stations operate relying on the honor system as well as the hope that communities will opt to support each other with local purchases of cheap and fresh produce. They usually consist of fruit and vegetables and a drop-box for customers to place their money to be collected later.
Japanese design agency Nendo believes that these unmanned vendor stands are a solution to the growing concerns regarding food waste in Japan. Despite being perfectly edible, produce can often go unshipped or unpurchased due to perceived blemishes, resulting in wasted food. Nendo says that these stands are a "a mechanism to promote distribution of cheap, fresh produce by supporting direct sales from farmer to consumer, to prevent food loss and revitalize local economies".
Because these stands allow for direct sales (often at cheaper prices) of a variety of produce from farmers to customers, the problem of food waste can often be nullified, so Nendo has designed a foldable and easily assembled food stand to encourage their use. Its stylish design and ease of implementation should help encourage that.
The kit, called the Petit Market, is delivered folded, and can be assembled and disassembled in 10 minutes by a single person without the use of special tools. It comes with a sign board to display prices, but can also be closed and secured in front of the produce when business hours have finished.
The unmanned shop kit even comes with optional outdoor LED strip lighting for nighttime use, and the money box if designed to fit a QR code display to enable digital payments.
Its "plug and fit" nature means sellers can a larger unstaffed market simply by aligning separate units together in a house like structure.
Product information and price can be found at the Petit Market official home page.
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