healthy options in Auburn

Healthy Vending Choices Take Over Auburn Break Rooms

healthy options in AuburnHave you ever considered what might happen if you were to offer healthy vending machine options in your Auburn break room? Would your break room turn into a space that everyone avoids or will it attract employees and become a welcoming gathering place. The results might be surprising as both employees and employers would benefit.

“Healthy” no longer means super expensive and weird tasting. Rather, competitively priced, all-natural and tasty snacks and beverages help turn your break room into an inviting space that encourages collaboration and creativity. Employees no longer have to overcome previous obstacles such as needing to find a corner store to grab a bite to eat or something to drink. Now, all it takes is a trip to your Auburn break room to find a better-for-you snack or beverage.

Snack and beverage vending machines in the break room are also important resources that help employees avoid the negative effects of hunger and dehydration. Hunger increases impulsiveness and the likelihood of experiencing lightheadedness, and decreases one’s ability to make long-term decisions and concentrate. As dehydration increases, the negative impact on cognitive and physical functions, such as short-term memory, arithmetic efficiency, and visuomotor tracking; motor speed and attention increases. None of those effects lead to positive outcomes, but without them, employee productivity and morale increases.

snacks in AuburnTo provide your employees’ with an extra perk and boost your break room’s appeal, offer pantry service where all products are available to your employees for free. Instead, each month, your company pays for the full amount of products consumed. It’s a great way to help take care of your employees’ financial and physical health. (It’s also an enticing perk for potential new employees.)  

Whether you are interested in healthy vending machine options or a combination of healthy and traditional choices for your Auburn break room, we can help. You’ll find a wide variety of traditional and all-natural snacks and beverages in vending machines and micro-markets that are healthy for everyone as well as coffee service which provides an energizing boost. For more information, please call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.

Water options in Montgomery

Water, Vending Machines, and Hydration in Montgomery

Water options in Montgomery

Do you drink enough water on a daily basis to meet your health needs? If you’re like 77 percent of a group of recently surveyed, employed Americans, you don’t. The reason given by 43 percent of those individuals was lack of thirst. Before going any further, it is important to make a necessary statement.

If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Staying hydrated is crucial. Hydration not only plays an important role in an individual’s health, but it also impacts how that individual functions. Because dehydration has already occurred before a Montgomery employee realizes that they are thirsty, the negative impact of dehydration has also likely happened.

Mild dehydration has been known to have a negative impact on productivity, energy levels, and alertness. Hydrated employees can also have an impact on workplace productivity. Tony Ibarguen, CEO of Quench recently said, “One inexpensive way to boost productivity is to encourage hydration. Companies that make it easy and convenient for their people to access and drink more water throughout the day may see their employees’ energy levels, engagement and work capacity increase.”

Unfortunately, there are several obstacles that must first be removed if Montgomery employees are going to consume more: lack of time to get water; have to pay for it; and dislike the taste of it at work.

Let’s look at three ways to overcome those obstacles and help employees stay hydrated.

Lack of time to get it

Consider the placement of beverage vending machines throughout your office or facility. In addition to placing vending machines in the break room, also consider placing beverage vending machines in highly trafficked areas. By creating opportunities to get bottled water in areas where employees naturally traverse, those employees are more likely to stop and grab a bottle.

This approach is also backed by science. Researchers at the University College of London found that study participants were more likely to take the path of least resistance when it came to accomplishing a task. So in other words, it’s important to place as few obstacles as possible along the way to get a bottle of water.

Water options in Montgomery

Have to pay for it

While bottleless water coolers that connect directly to the building’s water supply or a filtration system can sometimes be a solution, there are many other situations when that is not an option. A great way to provide bottled water and overcome employees needing to pay for it is to offer it at a reduced cost or for free. Montgomery employees see pantry service as a high-value benefit, but for employers, the cost is much lower than the perceived value.

Dislike the taste of it at work

Yes, it is true. Water has a taste. Recent research published in a monthly scientific journal about neuroscience found that water has a flavor. While researchers believe water’s flavor should be in its own category, they discovered that its flavor is most closely related to the sour flavor category. Given this information, it is important to offer a variety of options from ‘normal’ bottled water to bottled flavored sparkling water. Each one of these will have a unique taste that reflects its specific mineral content or any natural flavors such as fresh fruit that might have been added.

Automatic Food Service can help Montgomery employers overcome all three of these obstacles, and help employees stay hydrated by offering a variety of healthy beverages in vending machines or micro-markets. And don’t forget to offer healthy snacks to go with your employees’ preferred beverage choice. Hydrated and satiated employees are a win for everyone. For more information about adding healthy options to your Montgomery break room, contact us at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to helping your employees stay hydrated.

beverage options in Auburn

Auburn, Watch Out for Caffeine Lurking in Your Beverages and Snacks

beverage option in AuburnIn 2018, the number of beverages, snacks, and food that contain caffeine has skyrocketed. Whether it’s espresso, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, hot or iced tea, caffeinated soda (cola and non-cola varieties), chocolate and anything made with chocolate or coffee, energy drinks including energy water, caffeinated snacks such as  granola bars and energy bars, or gum, everything contains caffeine. The challenge for Auburn employees is to figure out how much caffeine is too much since everyone experiences and is impacted by caffeine differently.

Recent research by Dr. J.W. Langer, a clinical pharmacology lecturer at Copenhagen University, found that “each person’s unique genetic makeup determines to what degree a given amount of caffeine will affect the individual. Some [individuals] will metabolise caffeine quickly, while others will metabolise it more slowly. Some will show greater sensitivity to the stimulating effects of caffeine, while others need higher amounts to feel an effect.”

Auburn’s employees’ genetic makeup is only one of the reasons why each person responds differently to caffeine. That genetically-caused response usually triggers a unique self-regulating reaction that can affect a person’s regular intake of caffeine. Either a person will be able to consume more caffeine before they have a negative response, or they will recognize that they need to consume less because the response is too strong.

So how can this information improve your Auburn break room? The answer is by encouraging organizations and facility managers to look closely at their employees’ refreshment needs and to realize that a variety of caffeinated and non-caffeinated snacks and beverages should be offered in the break room. Below is a chart that shows which beverages have the most caffeine per eight ounces of liquid.beverage options in Auburn

There are several important responses that can occur when caffeinated snacks and beverages are available in the break room.

  • Spontaneous conversations and problem solving are more likely to happen when employees remain on-site for meals, snacks, and coffee breaks.
  • Morale levels often get a boost when there is an inviting break room space with sought-after snacks and beverages.
  • Productivity levels increase as consuming caffeine is known to boost energy levels.

If an increase in spontaneous conversations, problem solving, and morale and productivity levels sounds appealing, it’s time to change up your Auburn break room. Come collaborate with Automatic Food Service and design a customized menu offering a variety of caffeinated and non-caffeinated snacks and beverages. For more information about elevating your break room, contact us at (334) 264.7336.  

Bottled water in Montgomery

Montgomery, Enjoy Bottled Water at Any Time of the Year

Bottled water in Montgomery

Bottled water continues to be a popular choice for both refreshment and rehydration in Montgomery. As the seasons change and summer comes to an end, Montgomery employees are getting ready for all that the fall and winter have to bring. Even though the temperature may be slowly dropping, it is important to remember to stay hydrated.

Dehydration can happen to anyone when there “is a lack of water in the body resulting from inadequate intake of fluids.” Even a small amount of dehydration can cause headaches, poor concentration, tiredness, and lightheadedness — all symptoms that can make it harder for employees to be productive. An easy way to stay hydrated is to always have low or no-sugar beverages like bottled water available in the office break room vending machine.

Bottled water choices in the United States (U.S.) have expanded to include domestic non-sparkling water (5.5 percent increase), domestic sparking water (27.5 percent increase), imported sparkling and non-sparkling water (9.2 percent increase), and home and office delivery of 3 to 5-gallon size bottles (1.3 percent increase). The switch from other packaged drinks to bottled water has been so strong that, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), “bottled water is the number one beverage product in the U.S., by volume, for a second year in a row.”

Bottled Water in Montgomery

And that list of beverages includes carbonated soft drinks whose sales have continued to decline over the past 13 years as consumers have shifted away from sugar-sweetened beverages. Some of the reasons why Montgomery employees have made the switch include the following. Bottled water

  • is a healthy choice,
  • tastes great and is refreshing,
  • is convenient and available any time of day, and
  • Is portable.

Another way to help boost productivity is to keep hunger at bay by offering healthy snacks in office break room vending machines or micro-market. Eating healthy snacks regularly throughout the day keeps energy levels up and blood sugar stable. A satiated and hydrated employee is a winning combination. For more information about adding a micro-market or healthy snack and beverage vending machines to your place of business, contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to working with you.

Coffee options in Auburn

Finding Coffee in Auburn

Coffee options in Auburn

Enjoying coffee continues to be a daily experience for 64 percent of Americans. That number is important because it means that, according to research performed by the National Coffee Association (NCA), 5 percent more Americans are drinking it daily than there were in 2016. Unfortunately, not all of the results in the study were positive as out-of-home coffee consumption decreased from 40 percent in 2017 to 36 percent in 2018, and those who claimed to have a workplace coffee area decreased by 3 percent.

While these new findings might sound negative, they create an opportunity for Auburn employers to offer a sought after benefit, keep employees onsite, and increase productivity during the workday. The first step in developing a great office coffee service is to understand which types of beverages are preferred.

Espresso

24 percent of NCA study participants preferred espresso-based beverages. Espresso or a  black coffee beverage is made by forcing water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans and is the base for a number of other beverages.

  • caffe macchiato = 100 percent espresso + dash of steamed-milk foam
  • caffe Americano = 1/2 espresso + 1/2 water
  • latte = 1/3 espresso + 1/3 steamed milk + a thin layer of steamed-milk foam
  • cappuccino = 1/3 espresso + 1/3 steamed milk + a thick layer of steamed-milk foam
  • latte macchiato = 1/3 espresso + 2/3 steamed milk + dash of steamed-milk foam

Gourmet versus Traditional Beans

Coffee made from gourmet beans was preferred by just 16 percent of the participants. Arabica beans are considered to be gourmet beans. They are more expensive to grow because they need very specific growing conditions, must be carefully handled and roasted to perfection. All of this combined creates a gourmet cup of java.

Traditional coffee is made with beans that are not considered gourmet and was preferred by 31 percent of the participants. This type of brew is usually made from Robusta beans or a mix of Robusta and Arabica beans. Robusta beans are cheaper to grow and easier to handle, but have an inferior taste.

While it appears that the study participants preferred traditional beans over gourmet ones, it is important to compare the demographics of the study to the demographics of your Auburn employees before making a decision. For example, only 19 percent of the 18 to 24 year-olds in the study drank traditional coffee while over 30 percent of the same cohort preferred the gourmet version. In older demographics, the traditional variety does better, but gourmet beans still draws in more than 30 percent of that age group.

Coffee options in Auburn

At Home or At Work

The second step is to understand where employees are getting their caffeine fix. For the majority,  coffee-based beverages are still consumed at breakfast in Auburn homes, but there has also been an increase in enjoying coffee between breakfast and lunch or when employees are at work. This second block of time is when an office coffee service can have an impact.

Rather than having to go offsite to find either an espresso-based beverage or a cup of coffee, employees can find what they are looking for in an onsite break room with a cafe-style service. It’s a benefit with a highly perceived value that outweighs the actual cost. Increasing the perceived value is easily accomplished by offering snacks via a micro-market or vending machine. A healthy mid-morning snack with a cup of Joe is a great way to boost your employees’ energy levels.

For more information about adding office coffee service or another vending service option to your Auburn break room, contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

Snack options in Montgomery

Montgomery, Have You Tried the New Better-for-You Snacks?

Snack options in Montgomery

If Montgomery employees look closely, they will see that there are new better-for-you chocolate snacks to be enjoyed. This is good news for employees that enjoy chocolate but stay away because of chocolate’s nutritional value. Researchers and analysts have found that consumers prefer better-for-you (BFY) products and are frequently moving away from traditional sweet treats. The chocolate industry has responded by developing a variety of new chocolate snacks such as fruit covered in dark chocolate.

Other new chocolate BFY snacks include chocolate combined with different ingredients to make new textures, chocolate paired with herbs and spices, dark chocolate and sea salt, nuts covered in dark chocolate, chocolate in protein bars, poppable truffle bites made with dark chocolate, chocolate and nut butter dips, chocolate bark with a variety of other ingredients, pulse brownie bites made with chickpea flour, and sweet potato brownies. With so many choices, there is a chocolate snack for almost everyone.

Snack options in Montgomery

For those Montgomery employees who don’t like chocolate, there are a lot of new non-chocolate BFY options available.

Fruity Flavors: Naturally sweetened sweet or sour gummy bears are a fun low-calorie treat made with stevia. Fruit is also a commonly used ingredient to make naturally sweetened treats such as fruit chews and fruit leather.

Brittle: A syrup-based sweet treat, BFY brittle can be naturally sweetened with maple syrup, honey, or coconut nectar.  

Other Candy: Hard candy, mints, and lollipops are made from a variety of natural and sometimes organic sweeteners including brown rice syrup, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice,  honey, and maple syrup.

Whether Montgomery employees enjoy something with chocolate or something without chocolate, there are three themes that run through all of the types of sweet treats.

  1. Better-for-you sweet snacks are made with new ingredients and a different type of ingredient. Sweet potatoes, chia seeds, nut flours, chickpea flour, and coconut flour and sugar are rarely found in traditional sweet snacks, but they are frequently used in BFY sweet snacks.
  2. The second theme is that the types of ingredients have changed. Consumers also expect to see organic, non-GMO, minimally processed ingredients.
  3. The amount and type of sugar is the third theme Montgomery consumers expect to see. Regular sugar is no longer an acceptable ingredient. Today’s sweet snacks are made with either sweeteners that are low in calories and fructose and are very sweet such as stevia, xylitol, or yacon; or natural sugar based sweeteners like honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup.    

Which better-for-you sweet snacks do your employees wish they could find in the break room? Automatic Food Service can help create a customized list of snacks and beverages that are both better-for-you and a tasty sweet treat. For an even sweeter treat, offer vending machine snacks and beverages for a lower or zero cost. Call us at (334) 264.7336 for more information.