I'm on board for the hard wired transporter for centrally prepared food. This allows the Tribbles to get caught up in the works, and come out alive at the other end.
Except that after Kirk found tribbles in the food slot, Scotty said, "They're in the machinery, all right," and went on to say they probably got there through an air vent. That implies they weren't beamed.
What would be the difference, energy-wise between hard-wired transporters for centrally prepared food, versus crude replicator technology?
If you've got transporters, you've already virtually got replicator technology. The only thing you need to add to a transporter to make it a replicator is enough stable computer memory to store a pattern indefinitely, plus a hardware/software tweak to let it materialize that pattern from a stored matter source rather than the original. (Indeed, we've already seen a TOS transporter function as a replicator; it replicated Captain Kirk in "The Enemy Within," though where it got the extra matter supply is mysterious.)