Healthy Snacks: Not Just A Nice Option, an Expectation

Healthy Snacks in New York CityThink healthier snacking offerings are just important to cater to a remote group of health nuts? Think again. Recent data from a Q1 Consulting study is finding that the groups most likely to buy snacks and foods from convenience stores are not only choosing healthier items in growing numbers, they’re expecting those options when walking through the door. This is significant since stores not offering a robust selection of “better-for-you” products are likely turning away a customer base and potentially losing those customers forever to stores that are catering to a more diverse palate.

How significant are the findings? Of males in the 18 to 24 age group, 68 percent believe finding healthier snacks and food options is very important. Looking deeper still, of Hispanic males – the most frequent patrons of convenience stores – 58 percent consider these options very important. The study also found that these groups associate “better-for-you” options as being more fresh and all natural. As far as what “better-for-you” means, the study participants see items that are low in fat, low in sodium, organic or calorie-free as qualifying.

All of this is further defining the growing trend toward healthier snacking in New York City. There have long been assumptions by some that most convenience store customers are those looking for the sugary and/or high-fat snacks, drinks and foods. Now that the younger customer groups are showing they are more health savvy than originally estimated, stores not only need to take notice…they need to take action.

Healthy Snacks and Food in New York City Offices

The entire Q1 Consulting study, entitled “Capturing Opportunities in the Convenience Store Prepared Foods Channel,” was released in June 2016. Beyond this initial finding about the typical convenience store patron’s attitude toward healthier choices, the research sheds light on trends with consumers and retailers, identifies the top proprietary prepared-food concepts, and assesses the impact of burgeoning channels on the industry as a whole, such as drug stores, restaurant pop-ups, commissaries and other emerging food service channels.

If you want healthy snacks added to your New York City breakroom supply contact your vending partner Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671  to discuss your customized break room solution.

Potential Profits You Can Measure in Gallons

Bottled Water and Healthy Beverages in New YorkIf you could travel back in time fifty years and tell people that “bottled water” would be the leading growth category in the U.S beverage marketing, they would think you were crazy. Why would someone pay for something that you can essentially get “free” from the tap? But, as we well know today, people’s demand for a better quality, better tasting product has led to the establishment of bottled water as a major product category. And now given the growing interest in engaging in healthier lifestyles and reducing caloric intake, bottled water is booming. In fact, bottled water, by volume, already outsells carbonated soft drinks in many U.S. cities…and the expectation is that it will very soon become the most consumed beverage nationwide.

According to a new study by the Beverage Marketing Corporation, this trend in bottled water popularity is paying dividends with the caloric savings of the general U.S. populace. Over the past 15 years (2000 to 2015), Americans have collectively cut 61 to 68 trillion calories out of their diets by opting for calorie-free bottled water. Breaking this down in more relatable terms, the average Americansaved between 24,000 to 27,000 calories during 2015 compared to the year 2000. That’s a daily savings of 64 to 74 calories per person.

Though there is dispute about how to equate calorie intake to weight gained or lost, it’s fair to assume this water trend alone could mean a couple pounds difference to what each person would have gained/lost over the same period without the same boost in water intake. To add some perspective, dropping up to 27,000 calories in a year is equivalent to a person cutting 161 hot dogs, 126 chocolate donuts and 87 cheeseburgers from their annual diets (i.e. using USDA’s average calorie assumptions of 151 calories per hot dot, 194 per chocolate donut and 280 per cheeseburger).

So what does this mean for your New York City business and the importance of bottled water offerings? In 2015, total volume of bottled water sold in the U.S. was 11.7 billion gallons. That’s up from 4.7 gallons in 2000 – more than double the volume with a 148% increase in merely 15 years, or almost 10% growth year over year. At the same time, all other liquid refreshment beverages (LRBs) combined declined in total volume by about 5 percent (27 billion gallons to 25.8 billion gallons), and individual consumption of these beverages dropped more than 16 percent (95.7 gallons per person to 80.1 gallons).Bottled Water and Healthy Beverages in New York

The trend is clear. As long as people continue to become more health-conscious, they will choose bottled water more, as well. And the results of that choice will be a much healthier population, a further booming bottled water industry, and better business for the vending companies ahead of this curve.

For more information about bottled water and other beverage options for your New York City breakroom, contact your vending partner, Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671   to discuss your customized break room solution.

Consumers Are Snacking More Than Ever in New York City, Especially Salty Snacks

People are busier than ever in New York City. And they are eating more frequently in shorter amounts of time. So it’s no surprise that snacking has become part of just about everyone’s lifestyle.

Healthy Snacks Vending Machines New York City

In an effort to understand this consumer trend, Mintel, the research firm, surveyed consumers on their snacking habits and found that salty snacks have become the new comfort food.

Three in five (62 percent) of consumers are eating salty snacks as a stress reliever, compared to 16 percent a year ago. What’s more, 30 percent eat salty snacks when they are bored, with half (51 percent) agreeing that salty snacking is a good way to relieve boredom compared to 25 percent who said this a year ago.

“Consumption of salty snacks is largely driven by emotion, including stress and boredom,” says Amanda Topper, senior food analyst at Mintel. “Consumers are looking for ways to manage their well being, and the impact of food on emotional and mental health is becoming more important.”

This is especially true for parents, the majority of whom say salty snacks relieve stress. “Not only do parents’ hectic lifestyles force them to snack while on the go, but the majority who buy salty snacks agree that snacking throughout the day is a healthy alternative to regular meals,” Topper says. “Brands that highlight health and wellness benefits can appeal to parents that are often buying snacks that can be consumed by themselves and their children.”

Parents are increasingly likely to snack on salty options while on the go (41 percent say they do this), at work (36 percent) and throughout the day (34 percent). Parents are more likely than non-parents to see snacking as a stress reliever (73 percent versus 55 percent).

Fifty-eight percent of parents say it’s healthier to snack throughout the day than eat regular meals (compared to 21 percent of non-parents).

As much as they like salty snacks, consumers aren’t any less interested in eating what’s good for them. Mintel found that three quarters (74 percent) of consumers are interested in healthier salty snacking options.

Three in five consumers (61 percent) say salty snacks have too many artificial ingredients, while four in five (79 percent) find it important to be able to recognize the ingredients in salty snacks.What’s more, 58 percent of salty snack purchasers agree that it is important to buy salty snacks that contain only a few ingredients.

But when it comes to snacks, nothing is more important than taste.

Three in five consumers agree that taste is more important than how healthy a salty snack is. A new flavor (38 percent) is the most influential purchasing factor for salty snackers, along with spicy flavor (30 percent) and limited-edition/seasonal flavor (22 percent).

Which is not to say that taste and health are polarizing Americans. Four in five (82 percent) agree that salty snacks can be both healthy and tasty.

“While consumers are concerned about ingredients and express interest in seeing healthier options on shelves, they still want to indulge, and flavor is a highly motivating factor. Brands that focus on products with bold, new flavors that incorporate simple ingredients will offer the best of both worlds to consumers,” says Topper.

For more information about healthy snack options for your New York City breakroom, contact your New York City vending partner  Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671 to discuss your customized break room solution.

The Healthy Snack Trend Continues in New York City

Think snacks have matured, with little in the way of innovation? Then you obviously haven’t been paying attention to the annual Natural Products Expo West show. Every year, new products are revealed…and trends identified. Following this year’s show – running from March 10-12 – Claire Nuttall, a specialist in breakthrough innovation in the food and drink, weighed in on the most unique introductions and ongoing trends.

Half-Popped Corn

Healthy Snacks in New York CityIs your favorite part of popcorn those crunchy bits typically found at the bottom of the bag? If so, you’re in luck. According to Nuttall, snack brands such as Mr.Popular and Half Pops, are introducing this half-popped variety. The thought behind this innovation is to combine the crunch of a tasty savory bite with the puffed corn texture. Also, there are several flavor combinations already available.

Null Hull Popcorn

There are many people who love the taste of popcorn, but can’t stand the hulls. Well, Null Hull popcorn promises to be “practically hulless.” Using black jewel corn, which is a smaller grain than typical popping corn and is black in appearance, creates a great white color when popped with no crispy outer hull. These will also available in several flavors available, such as regular, sea salt and cheddar.

Trail Mixes and Jerky Combo Packs

The combination of trail mix and jerky has been available for quite some time, but now producers are updating the product to offer an even better consumer experience. The problem with combining these products in the past has been the moisture migration between the jerky and trail mix pieces. Some manufacturers have started offering dual packs – with jerky in one pack and trail mix in the other – allowing the consumer to open and mix when ready to eat. Other suppliers are simply separating the jerky into a packet within the trail mix package. Regardless of the approach, both options are giving consumers a better tasting product.

Hemp

The overall hemp trend continues. There’s hemp rope, clothing, oil, lotion, shampoo…and now snacks. This was something that started gaining traction last year, but the momentum has only continued to grow. Today there are many new hemp snacks, with bars featuring hemp within or packets of flavored hemp offered as a standalone snack. Given the health benefits and growing popularity, this category is only predicted to get bigger in the years to come.

Wraps

More and more people are avoiding bread, and turning to new, carb-free wrap options. The varieties are seemingly endless, with wraps made of kale, basil, pure coconut, and turmeric. There are also Healthy Vending Machines New York Cityseveral brands now in this category, including Paleo, Blue Mountain Organics, Vito Coco and Nuco. The popularity of these wrap options is a further testament to the rapidly growing interest in healthier snacking options. The first into these categories showed promise in healthier snack options, but the many companies now entering the market show it’s a demand that can’t be ignored.

Interested in exploring some of these new options for your snack service? Contact Healthy Vending NY at 917.572.3671 and we’ll be happy to show you what’s available in New York City.

Upgrade to America’s Favorite Healthy Snack Bars

“The rapidly evolving consumer landscape is dramatically changing the game in the food industry,” says John Haugen, vice-president and general manager of 301 Inc., a business development venture capital firm that will work with food and beverage industry start-up companies.

301 Inc. began as a new business development team within General Mills in 2012. The name comes from the address of the original Pillsbury Mill. 301 Inc. With this legacy name as its heartbeat 301 Inc. will seek to meet “consumer needs faster than ever by combining the vision and passion of entrepreneurs with General Mills extensive capabilities.”

In addition to seeking out new brands and new products to meet growing consumer needs for healthier, natural, organic products, General Mills is not only looking at new items to drive market sales but revamping the old. Take a look below to learn some interesting facts about some of America’s favorite snack bars.

healthy snack vending machines in New York City

The Bar: Nature Valle Oats and Honey Bars

  • Its significance: #1 bar brand in convenience stores with a 94% awareness
  • General Mills (GM) Revamps:
    • August 2015 the bar was made easier to bite with a crunch reformulation
    • October 2015 new consumer messaging to promote that the brand has no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners
    • Fall of 2016 – expect to see new brand packaging

The Bar: Fiber One

  • It’s significance: Fiber One is the #1 selling fiber bar
  • GM Revamps:
    • April 2016 – Fiber One Oats & Chocolate will have no artificial flavors or sweeteners

For more information about healthy snack and beverage options for your New York City breakroom, contact your New York City vending partner  Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671 to discuss your customized break room solution.

 

Research Points To Connection Between Chocolate And Improved Cognition

When most people think about following a healthy diet, chocolate usually isn’t top of mind. But research in the last several years points to an association between chocolate consumption and improved cognitive performance. The good news is that having a healthy work environment doesn’t require eliminating chocolate.

Researchers from the University of Maine and South Australia have found that chocolate is good for the memory and other cognitive skills. This is one of several studies finding an association between chocolate and good cognition.

According to the study published last month in the journal Appetite, people who ate chocolate at least once a week were “positively associated with cognitive performance, across a range of cognitive domains.”

healthy snack vending machines in New York City

More frequent chocolate consumption has long been associated with better performance on a number of tests of mental acuity, including visual-spatial memory and organization, working memory, scanning and tracking, and abstract reasoning.

As a person ages, their blood vessels become less flexible and less able expand to maintain smooth circulation. Cocoa flavanols – phytonutrients found in nature – are proven to help support healthy circulation by helping blood vessels stay flexible and expand as needed, even as a person ages.

Some studies suggest regular intake of cocoa flavanols has a beneficial effect on cognitive function, and possibly protects against normal age-related cognitive decline.

“The present findings support recent clinical trials suggesting that regular intake of cocoa flavanols may have a beneficial effect on cognitive function, and possibly protect against normal age-related cognitive decline,” the researchers concluded.

The study, which included about 1,000 people, could not specifically determine why chocolate does a brain good, but it suggested cocoa flavanols somehow are at play, as are methylxanthines, plant-produced compounds known to enhance a variety of bodily functions.

Other studies have found similar associations between chocolate and cognitive ability.

Scientists in 2012 found chocolate or cocoa powder containing higher amounts of cocoa flavanols can positively influence brain performance in healthy middle-aged individuals in a natural way. This was revealed in an independent study by Professors Andrew Scholey and Con Stough from the Center for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University in Australia.

healthy vending machines in New York City

According to a paper published in the August New England Journal of Medicine, geniuses are more likely to eat lots of chocolate. Researcher Franz Messerli reported a correlation between a nation’s per capita chocolate consumption and the rate at which its citizens win Nobel Prizes. He reported a close, linear relationship between chocolate consumption per capita and the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million persons in a total of 23 countries.

All of these findings indicate that a healthy diet does not have to exclude chocolate. Nutritionists have long believed that a healthy diet is a balanced diet.

For more information about healthy snack and beverage options for your New York City breakroom, contact your vending partner, Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671 to discuss your customized break room solution.

How Fitness Leader Reebok Supports Employees’ Healthy Choices

Companies of all sizes today are moving towards offering healthier healthy beverage vending machines in New York Citychoices for their employees throughout New York City.
Some companies have gone to extensive lengths to provide employee wellness programs. Such measures include having nutritious foods and beverages in their break rooms, offering onsite exercise facilities, subsidizing health club memberships, and more.
Reebok, being a fitness company, decided it needed to go a step further in supporting a healthy work environment. The company went as far as sponsoring a national survey to understand how well informed consumers are about the food and beverage they consume.
The survey documented the lengths people will go to get their sugar fix, particularly when it comes to soda.

The survey found that many Americans don’t know what they’re consuming – especially when it comes to soda. In one of the more staggering stats, Reebok found that up to 40% cannot name even three ingredients in soda, including water.
Nearly 30% of the respondents said they would rather give up their pinky toe than soda, while 30% also said they would prefer to lose their jobs than kick the soda habit. They’re also willing to publicly embarrass themselves in the name of the can, with three out of five admitting to having belched or farted in public immediately after drinking soda.

healthy snack vending machines in New York City
The survey encouraged Reebok to remove soda at its global headquarters in Canton, Mass. this spring as part of a wider, drastic cut to products served at the Home of Fitness that contain added sugar.
“The goal for us here at Reebok is simple – to be the very best fitness brand in the world and to inspire everyone who touches our brand – consumers, fans, and employees – to reach their potential. And our mission starts right here, with our own people,” says Matt O’Toole, president of Reebok. “After seeing these survey results and hearing directly from many of our employees here, we felt removing sugary products from our HQ was simply the right thing to do.”
As a fitness company, O’Toole said Reebok knows how important it is to be active, but what people put in their bodies is equally important.
Reebok enlisted the help of its CrossFit One instructor, Austin Malleolo, to remove all of the old vending machines from its campus.

In addition to the removing sodas and sugary beverages, large candy bars, fried foods, white breads and pastas have been removed from the campus and replaced with whole foods such as nuts, fruits and vegetables.

At the beginning of 2015, Reebok issued a bold challenge to the world to “Be More Human” with a campaign that continued the global fitness brand’s mission to change how people perceive and experience fitness.
More than 85% of the company’s 1,000 employees now participate in some form of physical activity on a daily basis at the brand’s campus, which offers countless top-of-the range fitness facilities.
For more information about healthy snack and beverage options for your breakroom, contact your New York City vending partner, Healthy Vending at   to discuss your customized break room solution

Millennials And Boomers: Who Loves Snacks More in New York City?

Have you noticed more Millennials in the break room lately? If so, be sure there are plenty of snacks available because Millennials love their snacks. A workplace with a lot of Millennials needs a snack-filled break room.

If you happen to notice a lot of Baby Boomers in the break room, be extra sure there are plenty of snacks. Because when it comes to snacking — which is all the rage in the food industry today — Boomers eat ready-to-eat snack food 20 percent more often than Millennials, according to a daily tracking of U.S. consumers snacking habits by NPD group, a research company.

healthy snack vending machines in New York City

Boomers and Millennials are the two largest population groups.

Millennials overtook Boomers in number in 2015, but both generational groups are large. And both groups love their snacks. Baby Boomers have 1,200 ready-to-eat snacking occasions per year on average, representing a total of 90.4 billion snacking occasions per year, according to NPD. Millennials have about 1,000 snacking occasions per year, representing a total 83.1 billion snacking occasions.

Those are some pretty serious numbers.

The reasons why each of these generational groups snack are as different as their ages. Millennials reach for what is often a grab-and-go snack because they’re hungry. Boomers snack because they don’t want to prepare a big meal, and they eat alone more often than other age groups. Both groups choose their snacks based on taste and craving.

Fruit, chocolate candy/candy bars, and potato chips rank as the top three snack picks for Millennials and Boomers alike.

After the top three choices, the two groups take different paths, with Boomers reaching for nuts and yogurt while Millennials prefer tortilla chips and cookies.

Although Boomers hold the top score over Millennials in the frequency of ready-to-eat snack food consumption, they don’t come close when it comes to the amount of snacks they eat. Youngsters, ages 2 to 17, consume an average of 1,500 snacks per year, outpacing all other age groups.

Healthier snack foods rank highest with kids, particularly with 2- to 5-year olds, ages where parents primarily control what they’re eating. Sweet and savory snacks start to creep up in rank with older kids.

healthy snack vending machines in New York City

“Millennials gave us food trucks, food raves – what they want is a sense of community and they got that around food… They wake up every morning with the idea ‘you only live once’ (YOLO), so they are driving food trends and we need to be watching carefully what Millennials are eating, because that’s what is creating the trends,” said Phil Lempert, a food marketing and retail expert.

While it’s important to address the needs of all consumers, the Millennials bear special attention since their numbers are growing in New York City and throughout the country.

Jack Koerten, senior analyst at Euromonitor International, another researcher, says Millennials are approaching 44 million consumers in the U.S. and already have a lot of spending power.

“Snacking is an integral part of their week – they’re snacking and they’re snacking often,” Koerten said. Millennnials are even snacking during traditional meal times, unlike other age groups; 16.2% snack at dinner time while 16.6% snack at lunch.

While the differences between the two generations are interesting, snack availability is clearly important when catering to both Boomers and the Millennials in New York City and throughout the country.

For more information about healthy snack and beverage options for your breakroom, contact your New York City vending partner, Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671  to discuss your customized break room solution.

Obesity And Diabetes On The Rise Again; Employers Must Take Action in New York City

Business owners in New York City need to review the quality of healthy food vending machines in New York Citytheir employees’ wellness every year. This is important because employees are a business’s most important resource. The need is becoming especially important in light of some new statistics about obesity and its related problems.
Government and industry have invested untold billions in fighting obesity since the “Nation At Risk” report by the American Heart Association and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation warned about rising obesity more than a decade ago. After much education and health initiatives, obesity rates managed to level off in 2011. But that progress has been short-lived.
The obesity rate among U.S. adults in 2015 climbed to a new high of 28.0 %, up 2.5 percentage points since 2008. This represents an increase of about 6.1 million U.S. adults who are obese.
These results are based on more than 175,000 interviews conducted each year from 2013 to 2015 and more than 350,000 interviews conducted each year from 2008 to 2012 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
In addition to the 28.0% who are obese, another 35.6% of adults are classified as overweight, with 34.6% normal weight and 1.8% underweight.
As with obesity, diabetes generally has trended upward since 2008. The rates of both conditions declined slightly in 2011, only to see annual upticks in the years since.
Obesity and diabetes have increased for all races since 2008, though unevenly. Both rates have increased much more among whites than among blacks, Asians and Hispanics. Blacks have the highest obesity rate by far, followed by Hispanics.
Obese adults are about 4.7 times more likely to be diabetic compared with those who are normal weight, a probability that doesn’t vary significantly for individual racial or ethnic groups.
Research has demonstrated that obesity and its associated chronic conditions cost the U.S. economy $153 billion per year in unplanned absenteeism due to poor health.
Obesity affects all elements of well-being, not just physical wellness. It is associated, for example, with lower financial and social well-being. While obesity can diminish overall well-being, the relationship can also work in reverse; high well-being can reduce the chances of being obese. Those who have high well-being in five areas – purpose, social, financial, community and physical – are less likely to be or become obese.

healthy snack vending machines in New York City
Workplaces can develop interventions targeting the behaviors linked to obesity. While exercise and healthy eating are important factors, others include smoking, depression, food insecurity, not having a safe place to exercise, not having a personal doctor and poor dental habits.
Having an accountability partner who encourages healthy choices and learning new and interesting things daily also deters obesity.
It is also important to recognize those occupations that are most at risk for obesity, including transportation, manufacturing/production and installation/repair workers.
By addressing obesity on all relevant fronts, it is possible to reverse the upward trend and, in turn, decrease diabetes rates as well.
For more information about healthy snack and beverage options, contact your New York City refreshment services provider, Healthy Vending at  (917) 572.3671 to discuss your customized break room solution.

The Milk Category Expands, Meeting More Diverse Consumer Needs in New York City

Milk: it’s an essential source of calcium. But where milk was once a healthy beverage vending machines in New York Citystaple in the American diet, other beverages have gained market share. So how essential is milk to your patrons and your New York City employees? The answer isn’t simple. Milk products have diversified a lot over the years.
Total milk sales have lost market share in the beverage category every year for the past four consecutive years, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp., the New York City-based research firm. But that’s largely because the beverage market has expanded to include several categories that didn’t exist a few decades ago, such as energy drinks, sports drinks, ready-to-drink teas and value-added water.
As the beverage market has expanded in New York City, the milk segment has also expanded and created some niche categories of its own. So the bigger story is the diversification of milk. While still an important nourishment, milk has also become a refreshment.
Flavored milk, which has become a favorite, is both a refreshment and a nutrient. The flavored milk segment continues to grow.
Trends are also showing renewed interest in whole-milk products, which also saw unit sales increase in the last year.
Information Resources Inc., a research firm based in Chicago, tracks the following one-year shifts in the fluid milk category:
• Refrigerated skim/low-fat milk ($9.4 billion, unit sales down 4.8%)
• Refrigerated whole milk ($4.7 billion, unit sales up 3.6%)
• Refrigerated flavored milk/eggnog/buttermilk ($1.4 billion, unit sales up 6.5%) This segment was a real beacon of light for the milk category. The segment’s dollar sales increased 6% on the unit sales increase.
healthy beverage vending machines in New York CityInnovations in milk packaging have created growth opportunities, particularly the availability of shelf-stable products. This and other developments – such as the increased variety of national name brand milk products – support what many see as the rising importance of milk as a both a refreshment and a nutritional product.
Refreshment service operators have begun to recognize they need to offer more nutritional products as the public has increasingly scrutinized product offerings from all foodservice channels. Many operators recognize milk’s importance as a healthy offering.
The USDA beverage standards for K-12 schools includes unflavored, low-fat milk and flavored or unflavored, fat-free milk and nutritionally-equivalent milk alternatives.
Many nutritionists say flavored milk is a good alternative to soda, even if it contains more sugar than whole milk. Some nutritionists are concerned about the high sugar and saturated fat content in some of the flavored varieties, especially since many come in 14- and 16-ounce bottles and are likely to be consumed in one sitting.
While nutritionists are not in agreement on the nutritional benefits of some types of flavored milk, consumers should realize there is a tradeoff between having high sugar and saturated fat content along with the calcium content. The underlying point is that milk remains an important source of calcium, and milk products have diversified to meet different consumer needs.
Milk remains an important staple in consumer diets – serving as a source of nutrients and as a refreshment in New York City.
For more information about healthy snack and beverage options in New York City contact your refreshment services provider Healthy Vending at (917) 572.3671 to discuss your customized break room solution.

A Healthier Alternative