Revolutionizing contactless food prep with robotics & AI – Interviewing Vipin Jain, CEO of Blendid


The first autonomous robotic kiosk serving skyr-based smoothies has been unveiled in the United States in a dynamic partnership between Thor’s Skyr and Blendid. This groundbreaking venture within LA Fitness marks a significant leap forward in providing health-conscious consumers with quick, nutritious, and customizable food options.

To delve deeper into the innovation behind this collaboration and the future of contactless food preparation, we had the privilege of speaking with Vipin Jain, the co-founder and CEO of Blendid. With nearly three decades of experience in engineering, consumer product development, and successful serial entrepreneurship, Vipin brings a wealth of expertise to the forefront of this technological advancement.

From his past endeavors as the CEO of Retrevo to co-founding Telseon, a metro broadband service provider, Vipin has consistently demonstrated a pioneering spirit in embracing emerging technologies to redefine industry standards. Now, with Blendid, his vision is set on revolutionizing the way we approach food service through robotics and artificial intelligence.

Join us as we explore Vipin’s journey, his insights into the transformative potential of Blendid’s proprietary food automation platform (foodOS™), and his unwavering commitment to making healthier food and beverage options easily accessible in an increasingly digital world.

1. What motivated the collaboration between Blendid® and Thor’s Skyr to open the first autonomous robotic kiosk serving skyr-based smoothies in LA Fitness, and how does this align with both brands’ visions and goals?

Vipin Jain - Blendid
Vipin Jain, co-founder and CEO of Blendid

When Blendid started, we imagined a future where everyone had access to healthy, delicious, personalized and affordable food any time of the day, anywhere. We continue to work toward that vision!

We have been actively deploying our first robotic kiosk product, which is making delicious protein drinks, smoothies, and functional / hydration drinks at colleges, health clubs, corporate offices and other venues.

When the team at Thor’s Skyr reached out to us last summer, we all immediately clicked. The team, led by Unnar Daníelsson, had a similar vision, motivation, and passion for bringing highly nutritious skyr-based smoothies to the U.S. market. Blendid’s technology allowed them to imagine a future where they could bring skyr-based products to the masses in the shortest possible time with much lower CAPEX, much lower OPEX, and much higher speed to deploy and easier path to activate new retail locations. While our first location is now open at LA Fitness in Escondido, California, we are looking forward to expanding aggressively and opening more Thor’s Skyr by Blendid locations in the year ahead.

2. The announcement mentions that Thor’s Skyr products offer benefits for health-conscious consumers. Can you elaborate on what sets Thor’s Skyr apart, especially with its use of innovative Icelandic methods, all-natural ingredients, and the incorporation of a new lactose-free formula?

Thor’s Skyr product is high in protein, high in probiotics, lactose-free and has no added sugar. It’s made in Pennsylvania using traditional Icelandic methods with milk sourced from a cooperative of premium dairy producers. Casein protein in Thor’s Skyr releases energy slowly throughout the day avoiding spikes and crashes in the energy levels.

At the biochemistry level, Thor’s Skyr products use an enzyme called lactase that breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose, which are simple sugars (monosaccharides) that the body can easily absorb and utilize for energy. So you get the benefit of making it suitable for people who are lactose-intolerant, while providing simple sugars to avoid the use of added sugar completely.

3. The grand opening features Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, known for his role as The Mountain on Game of Thrones. How does his involvement contribute to the promotion of the skyr-based smoothie kiosk, and how does it tie into the broader marketing strategy?

Hafthor is one of the founders of Thor’s Skyr and was present (via a live video call) at the grand opening at LA Fitness in Escondido where he took questions from the members and press. Hafthor is a big believer in the benefits of skyr and the collaboration between the two companies, which we hope helps with the overall awareness and adoption of these amazing nutrition in a smoothie format across the country.

4. The collaboration emphasizes the convenience of Blendid’s robotic kiosks for health clubs, providing quick and nutritious food options without additional staff. Can you share specific features or benefits that these kiosks bring to LA Fitness and its members?

Blendid kiosks allow access to healthy and delicious food in blended form 24×7. A typical Blendid location requires once-a-day servicing (1-2 hours a day), and the robot works autonomously for the rest of the day without any staffing. For the customer, it’s a completely digital experience using the mobile apps and ordering tablets at the kiosk that allow for consumers to browse the menu, customize their order, pre-order for preparation at a specific time or right away. When an order comes in, the robot goes to work satisfying the consumer need for nutrition any time of the day as long as the club is open. The combination of good nutrition at affordable prices combined with 24×7 availability is what sets Blendid kiosks apart in health clubs, hospitals, supermarkets, college campuses and more.

5. With the introduction of Thor’s Skyr by Blendid kiosks at LA Fitness, how does this partnership address the challenge of offering fast, customizable, and nutritious on-the-go food choices, especially in the context of fitness centers that may face difficulties in providing such options?

We fit into the health club community with ease. Fitness centers are unique in that there is steady flow of gym-goers throughout the day (16-18 hours of a day) with some peaks during specific hours. Staffing for food service for such extended hours to satisfy the typical demand is economically impractical, but an enormous benefit for health-conscious fitness club members.

Thor’s Skyr by Blendid is a completely autonomous operation. The kiosk is active automatically as soon the club opens, and it becomes inactive when the club closes. It allows members to have access to freshly prepared nutritious smoothie blends any time they like. They can even schedule an order for delivery at a specific time based on their exercise routine. This is a fairly unique and highly personalized experience for members.

We’ve had great feedback from our customers at the new Thor’s Skyr location at LA Fitness, and continue to hear that customers and staff love our original Blendid locations in other health clubs as well.