The French Have Unveiled 24/7 Oyster Vending Machines Because, of Course

Oyster farmers are innovating to sell their goods outside of business hours

By Dan Q. Dao

Published on August 7, 2017

Grilled Oysters
Grilled Oysters

Contrary to conventional technique, chef José Andrés gets smoke from his coals for these grilled oysters by flicking melted butter around them as they cook. Get the recipe for Grilled Oysters »

Ever find yourself craving oysters at midnight while vacationing on Île de Ré? You're in luck: According to Reuters, the tourist-friendly French island has debuted oyster vending machines so you can get your bivalve fix 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It may sound funny, but the move by French oyster farmers mirrors what other small farmers and producers in the country have done to offer their goods outside of business hours, using refrigerated vending machines similar to those used to dispense cold drinks, but with glass panels showcasing the offerings. Guests can use a debit or credit card to access the oysters, which come in a variety of sizes and types, allowing the farmers to make money even without a shopkeeper.

Tony Berthelot, a 30-year oyster breeder, is paying off the cost of his machine through a series of installments. He tells Reuters that so far, the investment has been worth it, and that he sees the machine as just another point of sale to supplement what he earns at traditional markets and fishmongers.

Oyster farming is the largest aquaculture industry in France, and represents one of the highest economic values in terms of cultivated seafood in the European Union. This latest innovation caters to a younger generation that feels perfectly at ease buying goods without a cashier or storekeeper.

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