Boston Startup LeanBox Makes Vending Machines a Healthy Venture

| Lauren Metter


leanboxIt’s crunch time at work at and you’re starving—but according to your calculations you only have two minutes to spare for acquiring food. You sprint down to the vending machine. BLAST! It’s gotta be two bags of Cheetos again. You sigh and loosen your belt another notch.

This was your old work life.

Enter: LeanBox.

LeanBox is one of the newest startups on the block—a vending machine full of healthy, fresh food items (many of which come from local startups themselves) available in under a minute.

Ding ding ding!

“We looked at the three excuses for not eating healthy: [junk food] tastes good, [healthy/organic food is] pricey, and [healthy/organic food] is inconvenient,” said co-founder Shea Coakley. “LeanBox takes care of all of those things. It’s like having an unattended grab-and-go market in your office. It’s basically a vending machine of the 21st Century.”

Having existed for just over a year, LeanBox is growing by leaps and bounds with machines located within our neighbors the CIC, as well as Wayfair, Constant Contact, and Faulkner Hospital.

One of the coolest aspects of LeanBox is that it’s a startup of startups; the food inside the digital fridges is made by other local start up food brands.

“We really like to concentrate our efforts on unique and local start up food brands when possible.  We work with great companies likes Budi Bar, Perfect Fuel, Game Plan – Focus Food, and Motto sparkling matcha tea in addition to our entree meals, salads, and wraps,” Coakley said.

LeanBox utilizes the Microsoft Surface tablet for their front facing point of sale.  Coakley explains that it gives the customer a nice, clean, easy checkout and gives them the full Windows backbone needed for their robust back end inventory system. Their software stack optimizes the classic Microsoft components – SQL, .NET and ASP.Net for a dependable consumer platform.

Oh, and next time you’re passing up the Cheetos for a fresh wrap—know that credit card swipe is going to a good place.

“The overall mission is access to healthy food, so one of the things we’ve done is made it such that for every $10 spent in machine we donate the financial equivalent of the meal to the Greater Boston Food Bank,” Coakley told MSNE, referring to the “FYFO” on their machines: for you. for others. “Then all of the food that would otherwise be wasted is redirected to local food shelters and food kitchens. It’s a zero waste process.”

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