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Good News For New Yorkers: Major Food Brands Are Jumping On The Healthy Bandwagon

New York consumers, like people everywhere, are calling for healthy woman drinking waterhealthier food, and major brands can no longer ignore the call. In the past few months, several major brands – General Mills, Campbell Soup, Kellogg and Nestle – announced they are removing unhealthy additives.
This is good news for New York employers who have known for years that employees want to follow healthy lifestyles. As major food brands remove unhealthy additives, New York employers will have even more choices to help employees follow a healthy diet.
This month, General Mills Cereals committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from all of its cereals in response to consumers’ changing preferences. More than 60 percent of General Mills cereals are already without artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.
According to a survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of General Mills, 49 percent of households are making an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.
cereal“At General Mills Cereals, we have been upgrading the nutrition and ingredients in our cereals for years to meet people’s needs and desires,” said Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division. “We’ve continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals.”
General Mills Cereals plans to have more than 90 percent of its portfolio free of artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources by the end of 2016. Trix will now use ingredients like fruit and vegetable juices and spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto to achieve the fun red, yellow, orange and purple colors.
In August, Kellogg announced Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies will soon be all-natural. Kellogg said it is aiming to stop using artificial colors and flavors in its cereal and snack bars by the end of 2018. The company said 75 percent of its cereals in North America were being made without artificial colors and more than half without artificial flavors.
In July, Campbell Soup said it would stop adding monosodium glutamate to its condensed soups for children and increase its organic offerings as part of a broader strategy to cater to changing consumer tastes.
Campbell also said it would remove artificial colors and flavors from nearly all of its North American products by July 2018, and that it would move away from using high fructose corn syrup in certain products, such as its line of Pepperidge Farm fresh breads, by the end of fiscal 2017. Most new products it is launching in 2016 also will not contain corn syrup.
Additionally, Campbell will launch new organic products, such as purees under its Plum line for kids and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers made with organic wheat.
In June, Nestlé pledged to improve the ingredient quality and iStock_000010520105XSmallnutritional profile of some of its most popular frozen pizza and snack brands without affecting taste. Nestlé announced the improvements, which encompass more than 250 products across six brands in the U.S.
By the end of 2015, Nestlé will have removed artificial flavors from every product within these brands. It will have reduced sodium by 10 percent across the entire portfolio of six pizza and snack brands compared to 2013 levels. It will incorporate guidance tools on packaging across these brands to help educate consumers on choosing appropriate portion sizes and the importance of eating vegetables and fruits as part of a balanced plate.
Healthy Vending applauds these companies for listening to consumers and making it easier for New Yorkers to follow healthy lifestyles.
For more information about healthy snack and beverage options available to the vending industry, contact your New York City vending partner, Healthy Vending, at 917-572-3671 to discuss your customized break room solution.

Top 10 Employer Wellness Programs: How They Can Help You in New York City

Every smart New York employer wants healthy employees. To help Smiling business team in a meeting shaking handsNew York businesses keep employees healthy, corporate wellness programs have grown into a multi-billion dollar business. Healthy Vending works with some of these wellness programs. Such programs offer nutrition education, preventive care, health screenings, gym membership incentives and more.
As a New York health partner, Healthy Vending wants to share some highlights about 10 top corporate wellness programs in the country.
Snacknation, an online snack service provider, recently listed what it considers the nation’s top corporate wellness programs. By reviewing how these companies help employees follow healthy lifestyles, employers can gain a better sense of what a structured wellness plan will provide. New York employers who want to have a healthy work environment will certainly want to know about the approaches these companies take. Here are summaries of the top 10 wellness programs. More information is available on their websites.
In gym1) Marino Wellness (marinowellness.com)
Marino Wellness has three levels of corporate wellness programs for different sizes of companies. These three different plans will cover just about any size budget. Options include annual health risk assessments, monthly massage days, personal coaching, workshops and education initiatives.
2) EXOS|MediFit (mediafit.com)
EXOS|MediFit designs custom fitness centers that are eco-friendly. In addition to nutrition education and physical therapy, it offers a tactical program to help injured military personnel get back to duty, and a sports program to help athletes improve performance.
3) Wellness Corporate Solutions (wellnesscorporatesolutions.com)
Wellness Corporate Solutions provides health fairs and health risk assessments for employees. It also offers eight week-long wellness campaigns to challenge employees to strive harder in a work environment. Employers can download a form and get a closer at employee incentive ideas that can turn good health intentions into results.
4) Kinema Fitness (kinemafitness.com)
Kinema Fitness’ integrated platform – online secured software portal – allows employees to create and access their own account to view and sign-up for classes, communicate with other employees, and log fitness and nutrition tips. This online platform supports the wellness programs being implemented on-site at the client location.
5) Premise Health (premisehealth.com)
Premise Health is an on-site health care provider. It does more than just cover basic health needs; it also offers chiropractic and acupuncture services. The company focuses on improving patient, provider and client experiences. It invests in technologies that sustainably engage patients, improve the efficiency and satisfaction of providers, and allows employers to track outcomes.
6) TotalWellness Health (totalwellnesshealth.com)
TotalWellness’s goals are threefold: 1) Lower healthcare costs, 2) Prevent diseases, 3) Create corporate wellness solutions to foster a safer and more productive work environment. Services include program design and consultation, health risk assessment and reporting, corporate health fairs, health screenings, nurse counseling, on-site flu shot clinics, health education, and a wellness portal.
7) WorkStride (workstride.com)Girl holding water bottle
While it is not typically considered a corporate wellness company, WorkStride helps employers recognize and reward behaviors to improve employee wellness. The software platform powers recognition, incentives, and reward programs. The solution makes it easy to highlight good deeds, compensate great work, and share authentic stories that reinforce a good direction.
8) Fitbit (fitbit.com)
Many people know Fitbit as a tiny wristwatch-like device that helps people reach personal fitness goals. Fitbit also provides corporate wellness programs, helping people lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration and guidance to reach their goals. The platform combines connected health and fitness devices with software and services to help people become healthier.
9) Provant Health (provanthealth.com)
Provant Health partners with businesses to improve employees’ health while supporting employers with their healthcare affordability agenda. Provant’s Life+ Program combines personalized “high touch” services with social networking tools that link rewards to healthy behaviors and outcomes.
10) Marathon Health (marathon-health.com)
Marathon Health offers onsite healthcare, primary care services, preventative care, chronic condition coaching, occupational health care, ancillary services and more. Outreach efforts include healthy food drives to benefit local food shelters, educating middle and elementary school students about health and wellness, supporting Special Olympics, and providing free blood-pressure checks for seniors.
Healthy Vending encourages New York employers to engage in corporate wellness programs. Healthy Vending partners with New York employers by only carrying those products that are part of what most consumers consider to be a healthy diet.
For more information about healthy snack and beverage options available to the vending industry, contact your New York City vending partner, Healthy Vending, at 917-572-3671 to discuss your customized break room solution.

Centers for Disease Control Updates Its School Health Index To Help New York City Schools Fight Childhood Obesity

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), partnering with the Alliance iStock_000004501197XSmallfor a Healthier Generation, has updated its School Health Index (SHI). The 2014 SHI guides school-based obesity prevention and health promotion efforts. The SHI is a valuable tool that New York City area schools can use to help reduce childhood obesity in addition to other measures.
Healthy Vending welcomes the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the CDC as partners in its efforts to reduce childhood obesity in New York City area schools. Healthy Vending helps New York City students stay healthy and ready to learn.
The Alliance has replaced its Healthy Schools Program Inventory with the School Health Index (SHI). By offering a unified assessment tool, the CDC and the Alliance make it easier for schools to implement policies and practices that can help students stay healthy and ready to learn. SHI benefits include:
• Less confusion about which evidence-based assessment tool to use.
• Monitoring and alignment of school-based health policies and practices with national surveillance systems.
• Better coordination of training and technical assistance between the CDC and the Alliance.
High school students eating in the school cafeteriaTwo versions of the SHI exist and can be accessed from both the CDC and Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program websites, https://schools.healthiergeneration.org/ and www.cdc.gov/healthyyou.
The SHI Self-Assessment & Planning Guide 2014 is an online self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs. It’s easy to use and completely confidential.
The SHI was developed by CDC in partnership with school administrators and staff, school health experts, parents, and national non-governmental health and education agencies to:
• Enable schools to identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs.
• Enable schools to develop an action plan for improving student health, which can be incorporated into the School Improvement Plan.
• Engage teachers, parents, students, and the community in promoting health-enhancing behaviors and better health.
The SHI is based on CDC’s research-based guidelines for school health programs, which identify the policies and practices most likely to be effective in reducing youth health risk behaviors.
The SHI 2014 features:
• Updated nutrition content to align with new USDA regulations, iStock_000016672920XSmallincluding Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.
• Revised physical education content to align with updated national standards and advancements in physical activity programming.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program has adopted CDC’s SHI assessment tool to help schools assess their current policies and practices as well as track progress over time.
For more information about healthy snack and beverage options available to schools, contact your New York City vending partner, Healthy Vending, at 917-572-3671.