Kellogg’s – legal guardian of grain mascots like Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam – has entered into a partnership partnered with Chowbotics, owned by DoorDash, to launch a new grain mixing robot at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Florida State University (through Gizmodo). The Kellogg’s Bowl Bot offers a vending machine-like experience for one of the simplest of breakfast foods, charging anywhere from $ 2.99 to $ 6.50 for the privilege.
The Bowl Bot can best be thought of as an extension of Chowbotics’ earlier “Sally” robot for fresh food and salad. You interact with it via a touchscreen to select your dairy base (milk or yogurt), combinations of cereals and granolas and toppings such as fresh fruit or cocoa nibs. Kellogg’s also offers custom, pre-designed cereal pairings at a higher price if something like the “Hawaii 5-0” (Frosted Mini-Wheats, Bear Naked Fit Triple Berry Granola, Pineapple, Coconut and Mango) sounds better than you can invent it yourself. While Bowl Bot seems to offer plenty of options, there are some more human preferences this may not take into account, such as adding less milk to avoid soggy cereal. We reached out to Kellogg’s to see just how customizable the Bowl Bot actually is.
Applying the Coca-Cola Freestyle experience with cereal soda machine makes a bit of sense. It takes up less space than a granola bar and, in theory, eliminates the need for individual boxes and walk-ins full of milk. It also seems like a way to help nickel and dime students through a kind of ‘food DRM’. Every college will treat their meal plans differently, but I would be pretty annoyed if my all-you-can-eat cereal lifestyle were saddled with $ 3 per bowl microtransactions.