Behind-the-scenes at Farmer's Fridge factory in Chicago

Think of them as the smallest restaurants in America, hundreds of vending machines with healthy meals in jars

Farmer's Fridge serves everything from pesto pasta, to Greek yogurt bowls, Ceasar and Caprese salads and much more. There are 30 healthy choices in all. 

Founder and CEO Luke Saunders didn’t even have a restaurant background. But he was hungry for healthier options while on the road.

"Just before this, I was a traveling salesperson for a metal finishing company, which is like non-stick pans for industrial use," said Saunders. "And I was really looking for something healthy to eat on the go. I thought, you know, vending machines are a great way to feed people conveniently. All you need to do is make that food and get it in there faster. So we started with the first machine in a food court 10 years ago and now we have over 2,000 locations across the country."

The key to the success of the business, was placing the Farmer’s Fridges in locations where people need quick, affordable and healthy food options that might not otherwise be available.

"Most people recognize it from the airport," said Saunders.  "You see the vending machines, they're full of salads and sandwiches and wraps. But we also are in hospitals, universities, even Amazon fulfillment centers, police stations, and all over the country," Saunders said.

In Chicagoland, the company employs more than 500 people who do the cutting, chopping, cooking and assembling. Add another 100 drivers who deliver the tasty jars seven days a week.

Saunders says the average customer pays just $7.58 for a full nutritious meal. By comparison, an online check of the cost of a Big Mac Meal on UberEats was over $14.00.

Proof that vending is trending? Saunders says more than 100,000 meals are sold each month across Chicago.

A promotion underway right now on the Farmer’s Fridge App offers your first meal free.