Traditional and Healthy Snacks in Auburn

Snacks and 3 Important Characteristics in Auburn

Traditional and Healthy Snacks in Auburn

Snacks have many different purposes. For some Auburn individuals, they are a meal replacement while for other individuals they are a treat or a reason to gather with colleagues or friends. Just as there are different characteristics that make people unique, there are many reasons why individuals choose to snack.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered drastic changes in how Auburn employees live and work, snacks have become even more essential for many individuals. According to a recent U.S. Snack Index survey “85% of respondents said eating their favorite snack makes them feel normal.” Some of those favorites are potato chips, popcorn, and corn chips. In this time of great change, small things that create a sense of normalcy are important since they can positively impact mental health. 

But snacking on one’s favorites isn’t the only thing survey participants want. They still prefer easily accessible snacks over ones that are harder to acquire, and they want variety or the option to try new products. In fact, 86 percent of survey participants said that the most important factor in deciding about what to snack on is convenience while 83 percent said sticking with a favorite ranks at the top.

Convenience

Many Auburn employers have been presented with a new opportunity to make sure their snack and beverage menus offer what their employees want. It’s worthwhile to take the time to ask employees about their preferences. Considering your employees’ opinions sends them a message that says, “We value you.” 

Traditional and Healthy Snacks in Auburn

With only 47 percent of survey participants saying they could locate all the snacks they wanted while shopping, employers have been presented with a new opportunity to increase convenience and customize their break room benefits. Offering on-site refreshments not only ups the convenience factor but they also encourage employees to stay on-site during breaks and meals. 

Less time spent off-site increases employee productivity and hopefully decreases the risk of infection. Gathering on-site in small groups during breaks also creates essential moments that can be used to rebuild morale and the office community that has been missing with fewer employees in the office.

Something New

Even though survey participants placed a heavy focus on snacking on their favorites, they are still interested in trying new snacks. In the survey, Millennials and Gen Z represented the largest and most adventurous demographic. A few things to consider, in addition to convenience, when thinking about what Millennials and Gen Z are looking for with new choices are healthy options, high-protein, low calorie snacks, options with a low environmental footprint, and trustworthy brands.  

How successfully does your Auburn break room menu meet your employees’ refreshment needs? Whether you need to make a complete overhaul or just a few changes, Automatic Food Service is available to help. We offer a wide variety of traditional and healthy snacks and beverages as well as contactless payment options to help keep everyone safe. For more information, please call us at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sustainable Snacks in Auburn

Finding Sustainable Snacks in Auburn

Sustainable Snacks in Auburn

How much do Auburn consumers really know about the snacks and beverages they consume? Some attributes like price, convenience and taste are relatively easy to determine, but whether an item was produced in an environmentally sustainable way is a lot harder to figure out.

In addition to taste (86 percent), price (68 percent) and convenience (57 percent), the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2019 Food and Health Survey determined that sustainability (54 percent) is an important factor when it comes to making a purchasing decision. 

Unfortunately, those 54 percent of participants have different interpretations about what makes a product environmentally sustainable, creating some confusion. The following list includes the top six interpretations of environmentally sustainable.

  • locally produced products: 51 percent 
  • products labeled as sustainably produced: 47 percent 
  • products labeled as non-GMO/not bio-engineered: 47 percent  
  • products labeled as organic: 44 percent
  • products that have recyclable packaging: 41 percent
  • products that have minimal packaging: 35 percent
Sustainable Snacks in Auburn

With 63 percent of the survey participants also agreeing that it is hard to know if a product is environmentally sustainable, the confusion about the definition of environmentally sustainable makes sense. But a definition does exist. According to the U.N.’s Brundtland Commission on sustainable development, “sustainable development [meets] the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

To determine if snacks or beverages are sustainable look for the following certifications: USDA Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane Raised and Handled, Fair Trade USA Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified. Another approach is to learn about a brand and the specific types of ingredients that brand uses. If an employee trusts a brand and is familiar with the types of ingredients that a brand uses, they are more likely to purchase that brand’s snacks and beverages. 

Auburn employers can help ensure that environmentally sustainable products are available for their employees by including micro-markets or vending machines with healthy options, a variety of coffees and sustainable paper products in their break room. Automatic Food Service makes that even easier for local businesses by offering a variety of healthy snacks, beverages, fresh food and delicious coffees. For more information about our menu, please call us at (334) 264.7336. 

healthy snacks in auburn break rooms

Snacks Adapt to Meet Auburn Consumer Needs

healthy snacks in auburn break rooms

The future of healthy snacks looks bright according to Fact.MR, a market research firm. Their recent report examined current and future scenarios of the snack market for the years between 2017 and 2022 and found promising data for the healthy snack sector. 

According to the report, changes in the definition of health and wellness have led Auburn consumers to seek transparency when it comes to the ingredients in their favorite snacks. Unlike previous years when a brand name, by itself, could sell a snack, today’s consumers prioritize the quality of ingredients over brand names. In addition to organic ingredients, non-genetically modified organism (GMO), clean, low-sugar, gluten-free, and healthy ingredients are at the top of the most wanted ingredients list.

Two additional characteristics continue to influence consumer demand. New snacks must have the ability to bridge the gap between nutritious and indulgent and offer ingredient lists that take regional or local taste preferences into account. 

Now that we know healthy snacks aren’t going anywhere, what can Auburn employees expect to find in their break room vending machines or micro-market? Both snack bars and sippable or ready-to-eat soups will likely make an appearance, if they haven’t already. 

healthy snacks in auburn break rooms

While snack bars will continue to be consumed as snacks, many will also be used to replace a meal. Bars eaten as meal replacements will need to offer nutritious ingredients including a variety of healthy proteins. Healthy sippable soups can also function as a snack or a meal thanks to healthy ingredients, convenience, and versatility. 

Which healthy snacks do your Auburn employees look for when they need a quick bite to eat? Do they have a favorite beverage? It’s important to understand which products they reach for first in order to be able to offer the most highly desired products. 

We would like to help your organization customize a healthy vending machine or micro-market menu to meet your specific needs. For more information or to schedule a product sampling, please call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.

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. 

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.

 

Break Room Snacks in Montgomery

Montgomery, Enjoy a Healthy Snack Today

Break Room Snacks in Montgomery

It may be summer outside, but don’t forget to include a bit of dark chocolate in your healthy snack. The key is to use dark chocolate made with a high-cocoa content, low unhealthy-fats, and very little sugar. A few different ways to enjoy a dark chocolate snack in the summer include: dark chocolate ice cubes, fruit dipped in dark chocolate, homemade dark chocolate ice cream, and dark chocolate pudding or mousse in addition to the traditional bar of dark chocolate.

Why dark chocolate? Because dark chocolate contains antioxidants, caffeine, endorphins, and serotonin which offer many health benefits. According to research presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting, “consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity” as well as cognition.

Let’s take a look at how caffeine, endorphins, serotonin, and antioxidants play a role.

Caffeine

As many Montgomery employees know, caffeine can provide an energy boost when one is feeling tired. But caffeine does more than just decrease fatigue. Caffeine offers a short-term mental boost, improves memory, and even helps decrease pain sensitivity in some individuals with chronic pain.

Endorphins & Serotonin

While endorphins are a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system, and serotonin is a chemical and neurotransmitter, both have a similar effect. They can both improve a Montgomery employee’s mood. Endorphins create feelings of pleasure, and serotonin elevates one’s mood.  

Break Room Snacks in Montgomery

Antioxidants

Understanding the impact of antioxidants is a bit more complicated. There are many different types of antioxidants. Several of the ones that come into play with dark chocolate include flavonoids (flavanols, flavonols (source of the antioxidant qualities), epicatechin and procyanidins) and polyphenols. Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, improve cognitive function, help absorb UV light, increase blood flow to the skin, improve skin texture, increase skin hydration, fight inflammation and oxidative stress—improving blood flow, improve cardiovascular health, reduce insulin resistance, and decrease cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. Those are a lot of benefits!

The benefits from antioxidants are often seen in Montgomery individuals when three to four ounces of dark chocolate made with 70 percent to 80 percent cocoa are enjoyed each day. Don’t forget to avoid dark chocolate made using processing methods such as fermenting, alkalizing, and roasting as they cause important flavonoids to be lost.

Can your Montgomery employees find a healthy dark chocolate snack in their office break room? Offering healthy vending machine or micro-market options is one way that your organization can support your employees’ health. For more information about adding vending services to your place of business, contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to working with you.

Break Room Snack Options in Montgomery

Micro-Market Snacks in Montgomery Play Multiple Roles

Break Room Snack Options in Montgomery

The definition of a snack is expanding. It no longer refers only to a small amount of sweet or salty food eaten between meals. A healthy snack can also be a meal replacement that helps Montgomery employees meet their daily caloric and hydration needs. All micro-market snacks, independent of their role, fall into one or more of the three primary snack needs: nourishment, optimization, and pleasure.

Role 1: Sweet or Salty Treat

I have some good news for you. Traditional sweet and salty snacks are not going anywhere. In 2017, the sale of chocolate-based treats produced over $1.8 billion in revenue, or 74.9 percent of the total sales for candy. On the salty side of the aisle, $2.9 billion in revenue came from the sale of chips. That’s 46.6 percent of sales in its category. While sweet and salty snacks are most often consumed as a reward or indulgence, many Montgomery employees also use a trip to the office break room as an opportunity to enjoy new flavors and textures.

Certain snacks have always and will continue to play the role of a sweet or salty treat, but in 2018, many snacks have a new purpose.

Role 2: Healthy Meal Replacement

According to the NPD Group’s tracking of U.S. consumers’ snacking attitudes and behaviors, “snack foods eaten at main meals now represent 24 percent of all snack food eatings, which is up from 21 percent five years ago.”  Not only are Montgomery employees looking for nourishment and optimization, a mental or physical energy boost, they have high expectations about the quality of product labels and the ingredients that they put in their bodies.

Break Room Snack Options in Montgomery

Accurate and clearly written product labels play an important part before snacks and beverages are even consumed. For 39 percent of U.S. consumers, inaccurate or confusing information on a product label will trigger a switch to a product that has clearer and more accurate product information. Additionally, 68 percent of the participants in a Nielson study said they would pay more for snacks, beverages, and prepared food items that weren’t made with “bad” ingredients. Fresh, organic, clean, and Fair Trade are just a few of the terms Montgomery employees are looking for in the office break room.

A micro-market offers your Montgomery employees a wide range of healthy fresh foods, sweet and salty snacks, and beverages that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Not only is it a place to grab a bite to eat, but it is also a relaxing environment to catch up with colleagues during the workday. To learn more about updating your micro-market selections or learn more about other vending solutions, contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.  

Snack Options in Auburn

Auburn, What Is Your Favorite Breakroom Snack?

Snack Options in Auburn

Everyone has that one favorite “not-so-healthy” snack that they enjoy every now and then. While we’ve all heard that moderation is key, deciding whether to go healthy or not can be quite the dilemma. Often Auburn consumers want to eat healthy, but at the same time, they want to enjoy their favorite sweet or salty guilty pleasure.

Many of Auburn’s favorite sweet and salty snacks have been around for more than 30 years and include:

  • Confections (chocolate, candy, etc.): PEZ (1950), Swedish Fish (late 1950s), Nerds (1983), anything made with chocolate
  • Salty: sunflower seeds, Cheese Balls (1980s), Combos (mid 1970s), Goldfish, Doritos (1974), Pringles (1975), chips, crackers
  • Cookies and Snack Cakes: Famous Amos cookies (1975), animal crackers (1902), rice krispies treats, Oatmeal Cream Pies (1960), Oreos, Pop-tarts (1964)
  • Other snacks: Dippin’ Dots (1987), Fruit Roll-ups (1991) or fruit snacks, granola bars, Milk ‘n’ Cereal Bars or breakfast bars (1990s – early 2000s)

If Auburn employees are looking, however, for something that’s a little healthier, there are a lot of healthy sweet and salty options available too. Healthier snack options include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, popcorn, squeezable yogurt tubes, yogurt smoothies, pre-packaged organic meal kits, salsa, and hummus. Many of these healthy snacks can also be combined to create a healthy mini-meal when there isn’t enough time for a sit down meal.

Snack Options in Auburn

Whether your Auburn employees are craving something healthy or “not-so-healthy,” many of these snacks can be found all day in the office breakroom micro-market or vending machine. Providing an easily accessible, onsite location where all types of snacks and beverages including office coffee service are available is just one benefit that lets your employees know they are valuable. Another benefit is to offer everything at a reduced or zero cost. Not only will employees welcome onsite snack and beverage options, but they will also appreciate the cash left in their pocket.  

Don’t forget to offer refreshing beverages along with both healthy and not-so-healthy snacks. It’s important to keep your employees hydrated as well as satiated. To learn more about the many different types of breakroom snack and beverage options in Auburn, call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.