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. 

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.

Break room options in Montgomery

Break Room Perks in Montgomery Change With Each Generation

Break room options in MontgomeryWhich break room benefits do your Montgomery employees value the most? The answer might surprise you. It depends on which generation the majority of your employees is from. As of 2017, the Pew Research Center determined that 35 percent of the U.S. labor force were Millennials followed by Generation X at 33 percent. To be a sought after perk in 2018, a break room has to offer what current and potential employees are looking for, and that means understanding what Montgomery Millennials want.

While the age difference between Millennials and Gen Xers may not be very far apart, many Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) came of age during the recession. For a variety reasons, the recession had a strong impact on Millennials and triggered the need to find value in what they purchase. Words that describe a product or brand that convey value to Millennials include “well-priced given the quality,” “reliable,” “high quality,” “trustworthy,” and “loyal to customers.” Next in line are words that indicate social responsibility like “fair-minded,” “ethical,” “moral,” and “transparent.”

Whether the product in question is a piece of clothing, a smartphone, or a snack or beverage purchased from a vending machine or micro-market, value matters. So, how does this generational shift impact your Montgomery break room? Unfortunately, there is no single answer for all break rooms. To figure out what matters in your break room, consider the following questions.

Who was your current break room designed for, and what did they value? What do your current employees value? Does that match what Millennials value?

Break room options in Montgomery

Depending on the age of your organization, your current employees might be those who the space was designed for. But if that’s not the case, what do your current employees value? Are they looking for healthy snacks, beverages, or food that have a functional purpose? Does that snack need to be organic or be made with as few ingredients as possible?

The next step in this process is to compare those answers to what Montgomery Millennials are looking for in the break room. Based on the results of the Pew Research Center study, most Millennials will look for a welcoming, comfortable space that offers snacks, beverages, and food that are well-priced and made with high-quality ingredients by companies that are trustworthy, transparent, and care about their customers. And that sounds like something everyone would enjoy.

Take the first step toward a high-value break room by designing a customized menu full of delicious and healthy snacks, beverages, and meals. Consider increasing the value by offering the same options to your Montgomery employees at zero or a subsidized cost or by adding a cafe-style office coffee service. For more information about increasing the value of an important employee perk, contact Automatic Food Services at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

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.

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.

Healthy Snack and Beverage Options in Montgomery

Emerging Snack and Beverage Trends in Montgomery

Healthy Snack and Beverage Options in Montgomery

Changing snack and beverage trends in Montgomery are impacting everyone from small, local companies to the largest snack food distributor. To be successful in the long run, both big and small companies need to understand what consumers are looking for.

Meals

Rather than eating three meals per day, more consumers are looking for ways to enjoy six to eight smaller meals or snacks each day. While the nutritional needs of Montgomery employees have not changed, how they get those nutrients has. This means that each “mini-meal” consumed while at work needs to be nutritionally solid.

Healthy snack and beverage options need to provide the right type of nutrition to meet those nutritional needs, but in smaller quantities. One way to do that is to offer snacks and beverages with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat that will get them to their next consumption occasion.

Plant-based Snacks

While Montgomery consumers are gravitating toward snacks with high protein and fibrous plant ingredients, many other consumers are not. Historically, “healthy” plant-based snacks lacked flavor and had unusual textures. Dr. Christine Cioffe, senior vice president of PepsiCo Sustainability and Global Snacks R&D explained it best when she said, “People might change their behavior for something with a functional benefit, but overtime will fall off if it’s not flavorful.” Today, there are many delicious plant-based snacks available.

Determining which plant-based snack and beverage products to offer in the office break room might sound overwhelming, but here are two approaches depending on the situation.

  • Survey employees about which plant-based products they already enjoy outside of work.
  • For new products and especially when people are suspicious about the taste, encourage employees to try new products by creating a trial run period for products at no cost. Then survey everyone to learn which snacks are the most popular.

Healthy Snack and Beverage Options in Montgomery

Organic, Non-GMO, and Socially Good Practices

Consumers want transparency about a number of things from the origins of their prepackaged snacks to how companies are accountable for their environmental footprints and the health of their consumers.

Helping Montgomery employees understand both the big picture and the little picture is important. For the little picture, provide information about what each term means, why it is relevant, and where to look for information on each product. Explaining why companies need to invest in socially good business practices and how it benefits the consumer is a great place to start understanding the big picture.

How is your business helping Montgomery employees meet their snacking goals? Consider removing the extra noise and offer healthy snacks and beverages in your break room vending machine. We’ve done the hard work and made sure that all-natural and organic snacks and beverages are available.

For more information about adding healthy snack and beverage vending machines to your location, contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.

Healthy Break Room Snacks and Beverages in Auburn

Consider Natural Sugar Alternatives in Your Auburn Snacks and Beverages

Healthy Break Room Snacks and Beverages in Auburn

Being aware of the type and amount of sugar in snacks and beverages is important. The number of Auburn residents coping with health related problems connected to sugar has increased over the years. Katherine Allmandinger, manager of strategic insights at Nielsen Health & Wellness, shared that “one in five households has a diabetic member who is either pre-type I or II.” And diabetes and obesity are just two of the many issues.

Since many Auburn consumers are leary of marketing claims regarding sugar, reading the nutrition and ingredient labels on the snacks and beverages they plan to purchase is becoming standard practice. The challenge for many consumers is knowing which sugar alternative to choose. Artificial sweeteners, while low in calories, are made from ingredients that are known to be harmful. A healthier alternative are natural sweeteners such as monk fruit, honey, and agave.

Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is a small sub-tropical melon from Asia that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. The easiest way to enjoy the sweetness of monk fruit is to use the extract or sweetener. Unlike other fruit, the monk fruit gets its sweetness from naturally occuring antioxidants instead of naturally occuring sugars. This difference is why monk fruit does not affect blood sugar. In addition to not impacting blood sugar levels, monk fruit has anti-inflammatory properties, combats infection, and fights fatigue.

Honey

Honey is a sugary sweet liquid produced by honeybees. A natural sweetener, honey can be used as a substitute for sugar in snacks and beverages. But be careful, honey is sweeter than sugar so you’ll need less of it to get the same sweetness. As with monk fruit, honey has multiple health benefits. Honey boosts energy; contains a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium; has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties; and has trace amounts of more than 15 amino acids.

Healthy Break Room Snacks and Beverages in Auburn

Agave

Agave is a succulent plant native to the southern United States that is transformed into dark and light agave nectars or syrups. The lighter nectar has a mild flavor while the darker nectar has a stronger flavor that has been said to be close to the flavor of  maple syrup. Just like monk fruit, agave nectar is low on the glycemic index and doesn’t cause a sugar rush and unhealthy blood sugar spike. Antibacterial properties, an improved immune system, and increased bone mineral density are just a few of the other health benefits of agave nectar.

Which sweetener would your Auburn employees like to see in their healthy snacks and beverages? A great way to provide a variety of healthy options and give your employees’ finances a boost is to include reduced or zero cost healthy vending machines in your office break room. Automatic Food Service can help you customize the perfect selection of snacks and beverages to meet your employees’ sweet and salty needs. Call us at (334) 264.7336 for more information.

Healthy Snack Options in Montgomery

Healthy Snack Alternatives in Montgomery

Healthy Snack Options in Montgomery

Are you ever in the mood for a snack that is salty and crunchy, but want it to be a healthy choice? If you are, there are a lot of new healthy options available that were on exhibit at the 2018 NAMA (National Automatic Merchandising Association) Show. Attending vending operators sought out better-for-you products that could help Montgomery employees meet their health and wellness goals.

In addition to chips made from wheat alternatives and vegetables, there were several other themes that appeared. Low or no-sugar beverages, energy drinks, and beverages made with superfood ingredients such as matcha, naturally occurring antioxidants, and protein topped the list. But, let’s go back to that craving for a salty and crunchy snack.

Instead of only finding the traditional potato chip in your Montgomery office break room vending machine, there are now chips made with brown rice, quinoa, hummus, and lentils. Each one of those ingredients offers a different flavor as well as the following health benefits.   

Brown Rice

  • High in Fiber
  • Contains: manganese, antioxidants, lecithin, magnesium, and selenium
  • Benefits: helps convert food into energy, protects from free radicals, digests slowly which keeps blood sugar levels stable during digestion, has anti-inflammatory properties

Quinoa

  • High-Quality Protein
  • High in Fiber
  • Gluten-Free
  • Contains: nine essential amino acids, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, copper, iron, zinc, potassium, B vitamins, calcium, vitamin E, and multiple antioxidants
  • Benefits: super nutritious, works well to control blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and contains anti-inflammatory properties

Healthy Snack Options in Montgomery

Hummus

  • Made with mashed chickpea, tahini, oil, lemon juice, and garlic
  • High in Fiber
  • Contains: protein, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, isoflavones (antioxidants), minerals, and vegetable-based iron
  • Benefits: helps maintain blood sugar levels; decreases risk of some cancers; lowers bad cholesterol; decreases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes; and reduces likelihood of blood clots

Lentils

  • High-quality Protein
  • High in Fiber
  • Contains: magnesium, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin B1
  • Benefits: strengthens and repairs muscles; battles fatigue, stress, and mood swings; prevents heart disease and lowers cholesterol; improves blood circulation; aids in and slows digestion; maintains blood sugar levels; and reduces the risk of some cancers

With so many healthy crunchy snack options, your Montgomery employees can choose what they think tastes best. Don’t forget to offer them healthy beverages such as bottled water, iced tea, and carbonated mineral water to enjoy with their snack. To learn more about providing healthy snack and beverage options, call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

Bottled Water in Montgomery Breakrooms

Montgomery Consumers Prefer Bottled Water

Bottled Water in Montgomery Breakrooms

For the first time in history, bottled water is the No.1 packaged beverage in the United States (by volume). People are shifting away from less healthy packaged drinks and choosing the healthy option—bottled water.

– Jill Culora, International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Vice President of Communications

According to a recent study by the IBWA, more than 63 percent of Americans choose bottled water as their beverage of choice. And 94 percent of Americans believe that bottled water is healthier than soft drinks. But what exactly does the phrase ‘bottled water’ mean? The definition is more complex than it might initially seem.

Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bottled water is a consumer food product; which means that strict standards of identity must be followed in order to legally call a bottle filled with water ‘bottled water’. The FDA requires that the “type” of water must be clearly printed on the label of all bottled water sold in the United States. To understand the FDA’s classifications, it is important to know the following terms.

Spring Water: “Derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface, this water must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole that taps the underground formation feeding the spring. If some external force is used to collect the water through a borehole, the water must have the same composition and quality as the water that naturally flows to the surface.”

Purified Water: “Bottled water that has been treated by distillation, reverse osmosis, or another suitable process may meet standards that allow it to be labeled as “purified water.””

Bottled Water in Montgomery Breakrooms

Mineral Water: “This water comes from an underground source and contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids. Minerals and trace elements must come from the source of the underground water. They cannot be added later.”

Artesian Water/Artesian Well Water: “This water is collected from a well that taps an aquifer—layers of porous rock, sand, and earth that contain water—which is under pressure from surrounding upper layers of rock or clay. When tapped, the pressure in the aquifer, commonly called artesian pressure, pushes the water above the level of the aquifer, sometimes to the surface. Other means may be used to help bring the water to the surface.”

Well Water: “This is water from a hole bored or drilled into the ground, which taps into an aquifer.”

Understanding the different water sources and methods of extraction will help Montgomery employees answer questions about the taste, quality, and safety of a specific type of water. This is especially important as 82 percent of Americans think they should drink more water and 90 percent believe that bottled water is a healthy and convenient beverage.

To help your Montgomery employees stay hydrated and healthy, make sure to include bottled water in your office break room vending machine. Try offering healthy snacks with healthy beverages at a reduced cost. It not only keeps everyone hydrated and satiated, but it’s also a great moral booster. For more information about adding healthy vending machines to your Montgomery break room, call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.  

Healthy Snacks and Beverages in Auburn

Auburn Snacks and Beverages Go Trendy in 2018

Healthy Snacks and Beverages in Auburn

2018 is predicted to bring new and unusual, but tasty, snacks and beverages to Auburn. According to Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association, “Macro trends like sustainability and health are converging in the 2018 [food] trends.” This combination will create food trends including more plant-based foods, upcycled edible products, and healthy alternative sweeteners.

Plant-Based Foods

Gone are the days when plant-based foods were only found in out of the way health food stores. Today, plant-based options are endless and can be found everywhere from the local grocery store to the office break room vending machine. Auburn consumers are likely to find a wide variety of plant-based options including dairy-free milk products such as cheese or yogurt; frozen desserts such as ice cream or whipped topping; and convenience foods such as crackers, cereals, cookies, bean chips, premade burritos, and protein bars. Below are a few of the plant ingredients found in healthy snacks and beverages that consumers will enjoy more of in 2018.

  • dairy-free alternatives: almonds, coconuts, cashews, soy, and rice
  • pulses: beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas
  • vegetables: beets, sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes, and corn    
  • ancient grains: quinoa, spelt, amaranth, kamut, and farro
  • protein-rich seeds: hemp, chia, and flax

Upcycled Edibles

Forty percent of the food produced in the United States is thrown away each year. That is equivalent to $165 billion of food. Upcycled dishes have already made appearances in home kitchens and restaurants. As Auburn consumers develop a better understanding of this problem, prepackaged upcycled products made from ingredients and scraps that would have otherwise been discarded, will increase in availability. Several snacks and beverages that are already available include

  • pressed juice made from imperfect fruit
  • chips made from fruit pulp
  • snack bars made from spent grain from the beer making process
  • condiments including chutney and chilis made from ugly produce
  • hot-on-the-go oatmeal made with the coffee fruit

Healthy Snacks and Beverages in Auburn

Alternative Sweeteners

Sugar. Many Auburn consumers have a love-hate relationship with it. It’s tasty, but too much of it can cause health issues. To be able to enjoy something sweet and be mindful of their health, consumers are looking for natural, alternative sweeteners that have a lower glycemic impact, fewer added sugar calories, and a sustainable footprint. The following are a few lesser known fruits that make deliciously sweet syrups and can be found in a variety of snacks and beverages.

  • dates: the fruit of the date palm tree that becomes a thick molasses-like syrup with a rich, sweet flavor
  • monk fruit: a fruit native to southern China and northern Thailand that has a flavor similar to traditional sugar
  • agave: a cactus plant from Mexico and the Southwestern United States that has a flavor similar but milder than honey
  • lucuma: a Peruvian fruit with a maple-like taste
  • yacon: a South American tuber that tastes like an apple, but has a maple-like flavor when it is a syrup  

Have your Auburn employees started looking for snacks and beverages that are healthier or better for the planet? Whether they want a mix of traditional and healthy choices or just an afternoon coffee pick-me-up, Automatic Food Service can help. Call us at (334) 264.7336 for more information about vending machines, micro-markets, and a variety of other vending options.