CHRÁŠŤANY, PRAGUE — Dog owners in Finland will have the chance to sample super-premium dog food from Hau-Hau Champion, a brand of VAFO Group’s subsidiary Prima Pet Premium Oy, through an AI-powered vending machine built specifically for their four-legged companions.

The Dog Vending Machine, inspired by Finnish creative agency TBWA\Helsinki and prototyped by the firm’s brand experience and innovation division, TBWA\NEXT, utilizes facial recognition software powered by artificial intelligence (AI), as well as blue light technology to disinfect the bowl between each sample.

“Facial recognition using artificial intelligence ensures that the vending machine dispenses kibbles only to dogs, not, for example, to cats or children playing near the machine,” explained Juhana Hokkanen, head of experiential creative at TBWA\Helsinki. “Another important feature of the vending machine is its safety for dogs. UV disinfection ensures constant air and surface purity. We utilize a new type of UV light to eliminate bacteria and viruses safely, which in turn makes the disinfection process quicker and more efficient.”

Hau-Hau Champion offering food samples to dogs through AI-powered vending machineSource: Prima Pet Premium Oy

Additionally, the vending machine represents a pilot effort by Hau-Hau Champion as part of its mission to reduce dog food waste. According to the brand, offering samples in this controlled environment can save dog owners money while preventing waste in the case that a dog refuses to eat the food.

“Wherever the vending machine is used, it seems to be a very welcome and pleasant surprise for both dogs and owners,” said Timo Pärssinen, chief executive officer at Prima Pet Premium. “But most of all, we hope that by giving dogs a chance to taste food beforehand will help decrease food waste in the future.

“The wellbeing of dogs comes first for us. And it means both state-of-the-art hygienic practices as well as top of the line food, which is safe and tasty for dogs,” Pärssinen added. “We have created an interesting and fascinating pilot project, and we hope that in the future we’ll see the vending machine in use not only in Finland but also in other parts of Europe.”

Read more global pet food and treat news from outside North America.