ShopRite uses robotics to offer contactless salad bar

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A mid-Atlantic grocery co-op is piloting a salad bar that is self-serve – and roboticized.

ShopRite is rolling out Sally the Salad Robot at a store in Carteret, N.J. Based on technology from food robotics company Chowbotics, Sally enables customers to create an individualized salad bar meal with a few taps of its screen. The fresh food robot contains 22 ingredients including dressings, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, as well as proteins such as chicken, eggs and ham. Sally can combine two main base ingredients, up to six toppings and a dressing to make a custom salad, grain bowl or pasta salad. 

Sally also offers several chef-recommended recipes, and users can view nutritional and calorie details for each ingredient. Customers can tailor that nutritional information to their own dietary needs by adding or subtracting ingredients from their order.

Shoppers get a glove from a dispenser to wear as they tap the screen to order their salad before inserting a credit card for payment. The customized salad is dispensed into a bowl that customers can cover with a lid and take on the go. ShopRite is piloting the Chowbotics salad bar at its Carteret store with hopes to roll out similar Sally salad bars at other locations.

Chowbotics’ proprietary technology keeps ingredients fresh and sanitary in sealed and separate containers under constant, monitored refrigeration. Each of Sally’s ingredients is replenished on a regular basis and contained within the robot. 

“We are very excited to introduce Sally to our customers,” said Jonathan D’Orsi, VP of operations at his family’s ShopRite store in Carteret. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, my family's ShopRite store was looking for a salad bar solution that was touchless, fresh, and innovative. The current health crisis made it even more of a priority. The ShopRite of Carteret is thrilled to partner now with Chowbotics and proud to offer Sally, our salad robot, to customers looking to create their own fresh, healthy salads.”

“Sally is an ideal alternative to a traditional salad bar or prepackaged vending,” noted Rick Wilmer, CEO of Chowbotics. “Through ShopRite’s tremendous partnership, we’re excited to introduce Carteret shoppers to a safer self-serve experience that delivers restaurant-quality meals, while enabling custom choices for their unique preferences and dietary needs.”