As final exams approach, many students at Ohio State University will be fueling their brains with bacon. According to USA Today, a vending machine filled with ready-to-eat bacon strips and bits has been installed in the lobby of the Columbus-based school's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences to help raise funds for the department.
The snacks may not be as cheap as ramen noodles, but they are a close second. The university is able to sell the bacon at a discounted rate of $1 per item because all of the products were donated by Sugardale Foods, Hormel Foods, and Smithfield Foods. Proceeds go to the university's Meat Science Program, which teaches students "the underlying principles of biology, physiology, and nutrition that drive animal growth and the impact they have on meat quality," according to the school's website. Students within the Meat Science Program are tasked with restocking the vending machines until December 13, which is the last day it will remain on campus.
The unusual fundraiser is the result of a partnership between the university and the Ohio Pork Council, which works to promote the pork industry within the state. Because all of the products in the vending machine are shelf-stable, no refrigeration is needed. "Customers can eat the bacon straight out of the vending machine!" Emily Bir, director of communications for the Ohio Pork Council, tells Mental Floss.
Could the bacon vending machine be coming to a city near you? One can only hope, but it's too soon to tell. "The future of the vending machine is still unknown—you may see it appear again after December 13, or maybe not. Time will tell," Bir says.
Oddball vending machines have become more popular in recent years. There's a pecan pie vending machine in Cedar Creek, Texas, and past examples (some more successful than others) have included those that dispense hot pizza, burritos, live crabs, baguettes, and caviar.
[h/t USA Today]