Vending Options in Montgomery

Vending Industry Shines at NAMA Show

NAMA logo

Last week, leaders in the Montgomery vending industry joined their counterparts nationwide in attending the annual NAMA show in Las Vegas. Their goal was to explore new trends, technology, and products to bring to their customers. The show is an annual tradition sponsored by the National Automatic Merchandising Association, a group representing the $25 billion convenience service industry in the United States. 

Advancements in vending machines, coffee service, micro-markets, and pantry services were on display. Attendees took advantage of the opportunity to learn about them and connect with other industry members. Some of the world’s most popular brands were represented. They were complimented by new showings from fledgling entrepreneurs. Over 100 new exhibitors joined the show this year, and overall the show welcomed over 360 exhibitors and 4,500 members. 

A total of 125 new products premiered at the show, and it is clear that healthy snacks and beverages continue to be a key growth category. The show’s Better For You Pavilion featured a collection of healthier items, and healthy products as a whole occupied its largest space ever at the show. Visitors discovered new items that continue to increase the appeal of healthier food options.  

Advancements in technology were also on display at the show. New and easier ways of processing digital payments that keep pace with consumer’s desire for quick, cashless payment at vending machines and in micro-markets were presented. Innovative systems that optimize up-to-the-minute sales data, maximize delivery route efficiencies, and minimize out-of-stock occurrences were also revealed. 

The NAMA Show also featured a large number of educational speakers who are experts in their fields. Speaker Neil Swindale discussed marketing strategies that will help vending providers thrive in our quickly evolving digital age. Neil is the owner of VendCentral, a top marketing agency for the vending industry, and an expert in customer lead generation and engagement. 

With the vending industry constantly changing, keeping up with the latest technology and best practices is a great way for Automatic Food Service to ensure that we are up-to-date with what is going on and provide the best products and services to you, our clients. We offer complete vending solutions to businesses and organizations in Montgomery. Contact us at (334) 264.7336 for more information and a free consultation.

coffee options in Auburn

Coffee Offers Auburn Employees Another Health Benefit

coffee options in Auburn

Coffee’s reputation keeps getting better as scientists learn more about it. A recent study by Dr. Donald Weaver, Senior Scientist and Research Director of the Krembil Brain Institute examined how compounds in coffee might help the brain fight Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

During their research, they inspected coffee extract samples to understand, which proteins, if any, slowed the misfolding process of two proteins believed to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease and one protein involved in Parkinson’s disease.

Before we go any further, let’s take a quick and simplified look at what proteins do. First, the proteins that we’re talking about are not the type of proteins that we eat. These proteins are the ones inside a human cell that perform diverse and vital tasks. 

Proteins can change shape. The shape of a protein impacts how well it works. If a protein changes shape or folds correctly, everything should function as intended. When the protein doesn’t fold correctly, it is called misfolding and problems ensue. Now, back to the research.

The scientists were able to identify a type of protein called phenylindanes, but these proteins didn’t come from the caffeine in coffee.  Instead, the proteins were the result of the roasting process. The longer the beans were roasted, the more proteins were produced. Whether the beans were regular or de-caffeinated, it didn’t matter. As long as the beans were dark roasted, the potency and inhibition properties were similar. 

coffee options in Auburn

The final conclusion was that phenylindanes play an important role by protecting the nervous system. And that might mean there’s a new tool to help fight Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. While it might appear that this new information isn’t relevant for your Auburn employees, there are many other reasons why a delicious and hot caffeinated beverage is good for your employees.

Improved memory, a short-term mental boost and better group performance

Caffeine has been found to provide a mental boost for 45 minutes after consuming it and to improve memory over the next 24 hours. Research by the Graduate School of Management at UC, Davis also found that caffeine has a positive impact on a group’s performance. 

Reduced risk for type-2 diabetes and heart disease

Four cups of coffee. That’s all the caffeine it takes to trigger a protective effect in the human heart according to researchers in Duesseldorf, Germany. The domino effect caused by the consumption of caffeine ends with the protection and repair of the heart muscle. 

Reduced risk for different types of cancer  

The International Agency for Research on Cancer determined, after reviewing 1000 previously completed studies, that coffee cannot be classified as a cause of cancer anymore. In fact, other researchers determined that coffee intake was associated with a reduced risk of oral, pharynx, liver, colon, prostate, melanoma and endometrial cancers. 

Reduced pain sensitivity for chronic pain sufferers

Scientists from Boston Children’s Hospital found that consuming caffeine may help decrease pain sensitivity in those with chronic pain. The consumed caffeine caused dopamine, a carrier of messages between nerve cells in the brain, to flood the brain’s pleasure center resulting in decreased pain sensitivity.

Offer your Auburn employees a delicious, gourmet coffee experience and the chance to boost their health with office coffee service from Automatic Food Service. We will customize the perfect refreshment menu with healthy and traditional snacks and beverages as well as a variety of hot, caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages for your break room. For more information, please contact us at (334) 264.7336.

Bottled water options in montgomery

Montgomery Consumers Learn About Bottled Water

Bottled water options in montgomery

Did you know that there’s a podcast about bottled water? The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) recently launched the podcast titled H2O In The Know. Each episode focuses on different water related topics including the current science on hydration, how to increase recycling rates, standards and regulations, and the taste of different types of waters. 

Jull Culora, IBWA Vice President of Communication, recently shared that “H2O In The Know offers consumers a great new way to learn interesting facts and stories about water, especially bottled water.” Let’s take a quick look at some of the questions that were discussed in the first episode. 

Before we get to the first question, you might be wondering what any of this has to do with you, a Montgomery consumer. The answer is…a lot. 

Humans need water to survive. Research has shown that humans can last three maybe four days without consuming any water. But, that doesn’t mean that every bit of water on the earth is safe to be consumed. To understand if a certain type of water is good for human consumption, it is important to know more about that type of water. For the bottled water industry, specifically, the answers to the following questions will help Montgomery consumers learn more about what they are drinking, and when it comes to things we consume, more knowledge is definitely better.

Are there regulations for bottled water?

The short answer is yes, there are. Bottled water is regulated at both the federal and state level and is considered a packaged food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, the FDA regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water are as stringent as the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations that govern tap water.  

bottled water options in montgomery

Are there standards that pertain to only bottled water?

Again, the answer is yes. For the standards that focus on bottled water, the FDA has divided them into the following groups.

  • Standards of Identity: regulations that define the different types of bottled water
  • Standards of Quality: regulations that set maximum levels for contaminants that are allowed
  • Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP): regulations that set manufacturing parameters to ensure that food, including snack and beverages, is healthy to consume.

What  types of bottled water are available?

Per the FDA, there are six different types available. They are spring water, purified water, mineral water, sparkling bottled water, artesian water or artesian well water, and well water. To help Montgomery consumers know which type of water they have, the FDA also requires that each type of water be clearly printed on the label of each bottle of water.

Now that you’re aware of some of the regulations and standards, use this information to help your Montgomery employees by removing a potential concern that they shouldn’t have to think about during their day. Provide them with healthy vending machine beverages and snacks in their break room. For an extra bonus for your employees, offer snacks and beverages at a reduced or zero cost. Not only will they be hydrated and satiated, but morale will get a boost too.

For more information about offering healthy snacks and beverages in your workplace break room, contact Automatic Food Services at 650-322-8363. We’ll help you create a customized, healthy menu that is sure to please everyone.

Healthy Snack options in Auburn

Savory Snacks Fill a New Role in Auburn

Healthy Snack options in Auburn

Healthy, savory and tasty snacks are exactly what Auburn employees are looking for when they need a quick bite to eat. A recent survey about the Global Health & Wellness (H&W) market for Savory Snacks found that the growing number of health conscious individuals and the increase of awareness about obesity and its complications have contributed to the increase in demand for healthier and more nutritious choices. 

But Auburn consumers are looking for more specific information about their snacks. Reading that a snack might be healthy isn’t enough. They want to know if a specific savory snack is ‘free from’ or ‘food minus’ certain unhealthy ingredients. For example, the demand for savory snacks that are ‘free from’ a particular ingredient such as cholesterol accounted for 82.6 percent of the total demand for savory snacks. Consumers have learned that avoiding cholesterol and saturated fats is important as both can lead to cardiovascular disease, a major cause of death worldwide. 

So, what does this information have to do with your Auburn break room vending services? A lot. Savory snacks aren’t going anywhere especially as today’s employees consume heavier, more nutritious snacks as mini meals. 

The effects of eating healthier are more far-reaching than most of us realize. In the short term, employees who make healthier choices can have more energy and are able to focus and concentrate more effectively because their bodies have received the right kind of fuel. Increased overall productivity and potentially better long-term health are some of the long-term results that healthier snack and beverage choices today can impact tomorrow. 

Healthy snack options in Auburn

One way to help your Auburn employees make healthier choices is to meet them where they are with healthy, savory snacks and refreshing, cold beverages. But, unfortunately, it isn’t enough to just place any healthy items in your break room vending machine. Make sure that everyone knows that their preferences have been considered by creating a customized snack and beverage menu. If there are enticing and healthy choices at work, grabbing something not-so-healthy off-site will require more time and work to accomplish the same task.

Automatic Food Service, a top wellness provider in the Auburn area, can help you customize a vending machine menu that meets all of your organization’s sweet or savory, healthy needs. To schedule a savory snack product sampling, please call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. 

Vending Options in Montgomery

Montgomery, Celebrate National Vending Day Every Day

Vending Options in Montgomery

March 7, 2019 was NAMA’s inaugural celebration of National Vending Day, a special day set aside to recognize those who make, sell and enjoy vending machines and the products they offer. Whether we realize it or not, the vending industry has played a role in our lives at one point or another, from the vending machines in a break room to the highway rest stop and everywhere in between. In fact, the impact of the Convenience Services industry, which the vending industry is part of, is larger than most of us realize and has had an economic impact of close to $25 billion. Now, that is something worth celebrating.

Instead of waiting until March 7, 2020 for the next celebration, celebrate vending machines and your Montgomery employees every day. Consumers know what they want to eat or drink, and they know when they want it. Help them understand that their break room snack, beverage and food vending machines are a great on-site resource.

Below are a few suggestions that can spark employee excitement and share information about the delicious products that are available.

Taste-testing Event

It’s no surprise that humans are known for avoiding change, and that includes trying a new healthy snack or beverage. New flavors or textures can be daunting especially when it comes to spending money. Encourage your Montgomery employees to enjoy new flavors and textures by offering a taste-testing event. Whether it’s once a month or once a quarter, it’s a great opportunity for your employees to experience something new, and you can learn which products are more likely to sell.

Trivia Competition

A little friendly competition is fun, and it can increase camaraderie and morale. Consider hosting a special event like a vending trivia competition with vending-related prizes. There are a lot of interesting facts about vending machines out there. Here are a couple questions to get you started.

When did the first reference to a vending machine occur? (answer: 215 BC by Hero of Alexandria, an engineer and mathematician in first-century Roman Egypt. He created a machine that accepted a coin and dispensed holy water.)

When did the U.S. Post Office start using stamp vending machines? (answer: 1905)

Vending Options in Montgomery

On-site Events

Host an on-site event celebrating your employees. As part of the celebration include product discounts or food and beverage giveaways and programs where employees can earn currency for products available in the break room. Everyone likes to get something for free or at a discounted price, even in the break room.

The Break Room

Spruce up your Montgomery break room or the space where your vending machines are located. Bright, cheery, welcoming spaces are more likely to attract employees than the bleak, gray break rooms of yesterday. If possible, include several separate seating areas that encourage spontaneous conversation, collaboration or a moment of relaxation.

Lastly, consider revamping your current vending machine services or adding new ones to your break room. Automatic Food Services can help you create a customized menu with the right combination of products for your Montgomery employees. If you’re looking for additional refreshment services such as office coffee service, micro-markets or pantry service, we can do that too. For more information, call Automatic Food Services at (334) 264.7336.

Snack options in Auburn

Auburn Employees Look for Their Next “Snack Meal”

Snack options in Auburn

Even if you haven’t heard of the term “snack meal,” you’ve likely experienced it with the 86 percent of Americans who already have. A snack meal is a healthy snack eaten in place of a traditional meal, and more and more people are incorporating them into their diet. For example, according to a recent survey performed for Farm Rich, the average Auburn employee consumes five snack meals each week and is likely to eat their snack meals instead of lunch.

Shannon Gilreath, Director of Marketing at Farm Rich, shared that “People are no longer feeling bound to the traditional three meals a day, which gives them more variety and time back to do the things they enjoy most, and for many, that doesn’t involve a ton of time in the kitchen, especially on busy days.”

Of the different generations of Auburn employees, Millennials are the most likely to believe that “three standard meals a day is a thing of the past.” Unlike older generations who look at snacks as a way to curb cravings, Millennials use snacks as way to refuel without needing a lot of time to grocery shop, prepare a meal, and then sit down to eat it. Snack meals need to be easy and quick to prepare and portable.

Snack options in Auburn

Farm Rich’s survey found that the top healthy choices are cheese, crackers, fruit, chips, nuts, veggies, yogurt, and pretzels. The right combination of these healthy options will enable employees to create small meals that meet their own unique nutritional needs.

One way Auburn employers can help their employees meet their meal/snacking needs is to offer healthy snack meals (with beverages) in their break room vending machines or micro-market. Access to healthy, onsite options will not only save time, but it also provides employees with the fuel they need to recharge, giving them the energy to have a productive day.

If you’d really like to give your Auburn employees a boost, consider offering Pantry Service – their wallets will thank you. Pantry Service provides snacks, food and drinks to employees at no cost to the employee and is a valuable employee benefit.

For more information about customizing the right healthy vending machine or micro-market menu for your employees, contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. 

Coffee options in Montgomery

Montgomery Office Coffee Service Evolves to Meet Employee Demand

Coffee options in Montgomery

The blueprint of the local coffee shop continues to evolve as the broader coffee industry grows and consumer demands change. New flavors and combinations and roasting and brewing practices constantly appear in the market making local Montgomery foodservice establishments the perfect place to take a break and discover the next in-demand beverage.

With more opportunities to find the “perfect” coffee or espresso-based beverage in nearby cafés and retail locations, it is more important than ever to make sure your office coffee service (OCS) offers your employees what they want and can draw them to the break room. Michael Schaefer, global lead of food and beverage at Euromonitor International shared that “successful coffee players will combine discovery, experience, long-term purchasing and rapid product innovation, all across a wide range of distribution points.”

Encouraging Montgomery employees to stay on-site during the workday also creates multiple opportunities for spontaneous conversations between coworkers and increased creativity. Add in additional break room benefits such as delicious coffee and tea options as well healthy snacks and freshly made food, and you’re likely to find healthier and more productive employees. 

Coffee options in Montgomery

To learn about what your employees want and how to introduce your employees to new choices consider hosting one of the following events with Automatic Food Service:

  • Not sure which new OCS options to include in your coffee service menu? Have a coffee taste-testing party, but don’t forget to include potential new tea options. Ask your employees to rank their preferences and use the results to determine one or more new selections to add to the menu. 
  • The same type of event would also work for healthy snacks. New and unknown tastes, especially when it comes to food, can be intimidating. Remove some of the pressure connected to purchasing an item and not knowing if it will taste good by hosting a “Try a Sample” gathering. Your employees might be surprised at how delicious healthy can taste.
  • Survey your employees about the types of coffee condiments they enjoy with their coffee and tea. Adding a non-dairy milk or raw sugar option to the menu might be enough to attract those employees who usually go off-site to find a less traditional choice. Small changes can have a big impact.

Whether you’d like to add a new beverage or healthy snack to your current menu or update your entire vending services, Automatic Food Service is here to help. We will work with you to create a customized solution that will meet both your and your Montgomery employees’ needs. For more information, please contact us at (334) 264.7336.

Healthy options in Auburn

Healthy Tips for Auburn’s Hearts

Healthy options in Auburn

Give yourself the gift of a healthy heart this holiday season and celebrate with some delicious dark chocolate — yes, dark chocolate.

We know that diet plays an important role in one’s overall health including the health of the heart. New research has confirmed, yet again, that dark chocolate can be part of a Auburn individual’s healthy diet. Study participants who enjoyed chocolate bars three times per month reduced their risk of heart failure by 13 percent when compared to those who ate no chocolate.

Let’s celebrate!

But don’t go overboard. The same study found that participants who ate chocolate everyday appeared to increase their risk for heart failure by 17 percent. Yikes!

Dr Chayakrit Krittanawong, lead researcher of the study, said, “I believe that chocolate is an important dietary source of flavonoids which are associated with reducing inflammation and increasing good cholesterol…However, chocolate may have high levels of saturated fats. I would say moderate dark chocolate consumption is good for health.”

Chocolate is made from different combinations of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, cocoa bean powder, sugar, and milk powder. For dark chocolate, the first ingredient should be cocoa or chocolate liquor followed by any combination of cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and cocoa butter. Sugar, a necessary ingredient, is then used to balance the bitter taste of the chocolate. For healthier dark chocolate, sugar should be listed toward the end of the ingredients’ list and always after the cocoa. Cocoa is beneficial for the heart while sugar and any unnecessary fats are damaging.

High quality cocoa, which is found in some dark chocolate, contains flavonoids (flavanols, flavonols (source of the antioxidant qualities), epicatechin and procyanidins) and polyphenols. Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, improve cognitive function, fight inflammation and oxidative stress — improving blood flow, boost blood vessel health, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

healthy options in Auburn

Other ways to help keep your heart healthy include

  • maintain a healthy weight
  • eat more fruits and vegetables
  • select whole grains
  • limit unhealthy fats
  • reduce the amount of sodium in your food

Maintaining a healthy diet during the holiday season isn’t always the easiest for Auburn employees or students. Between work or school, social gatherings, and errands, finding a healthy snack or beverage can be challenging. One way to help them is to provide healthy snack vending machines in visible locations such as the break room or school lunchroom. Our healthy snack vending machines offer

  • controlled portion sizes (weight impacts your heart’s health),
  • the ability to see the ingredient list and nutrition information for each product and to determine the type and amount of grains, fats, sodium,
  • the occasional treat such as dark chocolate, and
  • a healthy option when away from home; whether the stop at the vending machine is planned or not.

Do you have a plan to help your Auburn employees or students stay healthy this holiday season and through the new year? We’d like to help you customize a solution that meets your and their needs. For more information, please contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

vending machine options in Montgomery

Montgomery, Do You Have A Unique Vending Machine Story?

vending machine options in Montgomery

Cabbage, lobster, clothing, gold bars, and champagne are a few of the random items that can be purchased in a vending machine somewhere in the world. In the 150+ years since the first fully automatic vending machine was invented, there have been a wide range of products, some practical and others pretty crazy, sold in different iterations of the machine known as a vending machine.

Let’s take a look at a few super-fun products that are found around the United States today.

Art

Dalton High School in Dalton, GA has come up with a new and innovative way to raise funds for it’s art department’s supplies and materials. Students in the art program design letters, pocket-sized cards, and other artwork that is sold in a vending machine. Placing it in a prominent place, next to beverage and snack vending machines, has helped increase awareness and curiosity. Eventually, the school hopes to place a second machine out in the community.

Soft-Serve Ice Cream

Soft-serve ice cream is usually associated with hot summer days and the beach, but New Yorkers can now buy it anytime of the year. Moxy Times Square, a Marriott Hotels subsidiary, has installed an on-demand soft serve vending machine with a touchscreen video display. The draw? Customers can choose from a variety of traditional and unique flavors such as the spicy Hot Honey Vanilla and top it with just as many unique toppings like the Greek yogurt chips.

vending machine options in Montgomery

Runners’ Gear

Did you happen to run the New York City or Chicago Marathon this past year? If so, you might have seen the digital vending machines that Lululemon, an athletic apparel company, put in their New York City and Chicago stores during the marathons. Each machine offered bottled water, electrolyte-enhanced tablets, bars and energy gels, and emergency supplies such as first-aid kits, sunscreen, and face wipes all for free. That’s right; it didn’t cost a thing!

Candy Converter

This past Halloween, only the lucky few got to experience something we all wished we had as children – a way to swap out the lame candy we got while trick-or-treating for more of the “good stuff.” Anomaly, a New York City advertising agency, developed the Reese’s Halloween Candy Converter, a vending machine that accepts lame candy as currency and swaps the lame candy for peanut butter treats, or the “good stuff.” Now if we could only get one in Montgomery.

While most of us don’t have access to those vending machines, Montgomery has a great alternative. Healthy and traditional snack, beverage, and fresh food vending machines from Automatic Food Services. Keep those employees hydrated and satiated and increase productivity and morale. And don’t forget to offer office coffee service. Whether it’s a traditional coffee service or a cafe-style experience, a delicious cup of coffee or hot tea will brighten almost anyone’s day.

For more information about customizing your Montgomery break room, contact us at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

Coffee options in Auburn

It’s Time to Celebrate Coffee Auburn

Coffee options in AuburnNo matter the time of day or year, Americans love coffee in all of its many forms. Whether it’s the traditional version with cream and sugar, an espresso-based beverage, or an iced coffee, every Auburn resident has their favorite one. There are multiple reasons why coffee is so important to everyone, but the following one might surprise you.

A recent study performed by Wakefield Research, a global, full-service market research firm, found that coffee’s caffeine boost and health benefits aren’t the only reasons why so many Auburn individuals drink it daily. There’s one more really important reason; coffee, in its many forms, makes the survey participants feel good or happy. For example,

  • 47 percent of survey participants said that consuming that morning cup of Joe played an integral part in having a good start to the day.
  • 60 percent of those questioned consume additional cups of coffee after the lunch hour.
  • 43 percent would choose an iced coffee for a “pick-me-up” during the day, and 26 percent would choose to drink iced coffee year-round, regardless of the season or weather.
  • Here’s a jaw-dropper — 38 percent of participants would be more willing to spend a day without their smartphone than not drink any form of coffee for 24 hours.
  • But this one isn’t a surprise — participants who are parents said they were more likely to grab an iced coffee to brighten their day than those who are not parents (53% vs. 38%).

coffee options in AuburnWith so many benefits and ways that coffee can boost Auburn residents’ moods, let’s look at five fun activities that employees can participate in to celebrate the beverage.

  • Invite a colleague who you haven’t spoken to recently to meet for a cup of java and mid-morning or late-afternoon snack in the break room
  • Try something different; maybe it’s adding a nut-milk instead of cow’s milk to your hot beverage or trying something that is completely the opposite of what you’d usually drink — always go for hot, then try iced
  • Decrease the impact on the environment by bringing a reusable mug to work and keep it there instead of always using a cup that gets thrown away
  • Learn about different types of coffee and their beans; where are the beans grown? why are they grown in that particular region or climate? and how or why are they roasted in the way that they were?
  • Have an at-work tasting party; it’s a great way to bring everyone together in the break room for a few laughs and boost company morale

An increase in employee morale does more than just increase overall productivity. It can also improve collaboration, self-esteem, and job satisfaction as well as reduce employee absenteeism and the costs associated with employee turnover. Survey participants confirmed that there’s one more reason why coffee boosts morale. 47 percent of participants compared to 17 percent of participants shared that office coffee service (OCS) in the break room at work boosts their mood more than a compliment from their boss. Now that is truly magical.

Whether you’re interested in adding a few perks to your current OCS or creating a new service from the beginning, Automatic Food Services can help. We offer a variety of flavors, roasts, equipment, and complementary products such as sweeteners, creamers, and paper products that, when combined, will create a highly-valued employee perk. For more information about all of our vending services including OCS, contact us at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.