Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

Salty Snacks Get Better-for-You in Orlando and Central Florida

Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

With all of the cookies, cakes, pies, and sweet snacks that will likely be enjoyed during the next couple months, Orlando and Central Florida employees shouldn’t be afraid to include a few better-for-you salty snacks to balance everything out. Salt can have a bit of a bad reputation, but the word or concept of salt shouldn’t cause anyone to be fearful.

Salt is a mineral made of sodium and chloride, and it plays an important role in maintaining human health. The right amount of salt helps balance fluid levels in the body as well as helping muscles and nerves function properly.

But, and it’s a big one, consuming too much salt can cause some very dangerous health conditions. And therein lies the challenge — understanding where the line is between too much and too little salt, and choosing healthy ways to get the correct amount of salt for your body.

In 2018, snacks have played a more complex role in our daily diet than they did just a few years ago. David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, explained that “more consumers have moved away from the traditional three meals per day and shifted into a lifestyle involving increased snacking, or multiple smaller meals, throughout the day.”

A recent survey by Surveygoo supports that as 92 percent of the Millennials surveyed said they replaced a meal with a snack at least once a week. 50 percent did it four times a week and 26 percent, did it seven times per week.

Snacks in Orlando and central Florida

New better-for-you salty snacks or mini meals are now made with alternative (non-potato) ingredients such as proteins, grains, vegetables, and superfoods, and include new taste, texture, and flavor combinations. It’s clear that a shift has occurred to include an expanded definition of the snack. Both types of snacks, the traditional and the “mini-meal” healthy snack, need to be available in the Orlando and Central Florida break room.

Employees are looking for new ways to combat the afternoon munchies and to fill a nutritional need during the work day. If that snack is not available at work, they will go elsewhere to find the snack or mini-meal that they need. Offering the combination of new flavors, textures, and healthier ingredients is an interesting way to draw hungry people to the break room.

To offer a wide variety of options for your Orlando and Central Florida employees, update your break room to include vending machines or a micro-market that offer a customized menu of snacks, beverages, and fresh food to meet your employees’ needs and preferences. Whether that means changing up your current offerings, adding coffee service, or updating your entire break room, The Vending Station can help. For more information, contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee, Cells, and the Domino Effect in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee options in Orlando and Central FloridaFour cups of coffee. That’s all the caffeine it takes to trigger a protective effect in the human heart. Researchers have known for awhile that drinking coffee plays a positive role in lowering the risk of developing type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, but the how remained somewhat elusive. Until today. Researchers at the Medical Faculty, Heinrich-Heine-University and the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Duesseldorf, Germany have discovered new knowledge about how caffeine interacts with cells in the human body.

All living beings, including humans, are made up of cells. In fact, there are about 200 different types of cells in a human body that do everything from creating linings to repairing different parts of the heart muscle. It’s the caffeine in those four cups of coffee that triggers the domino effect which ends with the protection and repair of the heart muscle.

In a very simplified explanation, caffeine is like the hand that knocks over the first domino in a long line of dominoes. Each time a domino falls, it starts a new reaction in the next domino until the very last domino tips over, and the process is complete. For one of the types of cells in the human heart, caffeine creates an environment where the heart muscle cells are protected from damage or repaired when damage happens.  

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

In a different line of dominoes, caffeine is one of the many components that help Orlando and Central Florida employees stay healthy. Healthy employees then contribute to the process of creating a successful workplace by being productive, alert, and energized. Employers have the opportunity to play an important role in this line of dominoes by providing a variety of snacks and beverages that contain caffeine in the break room vending machine.

Coffee isn’t the only beverage that contains caffeine. Both hot tea and cold sweet tea contain caffeine although the caffeine levels will vary based on the type of tea. Matcha (tea) has the most caffeine followed by Yerba Mate, black tea, and oolong and green tea. Other cold beverages with caffeine include carbonated colas and energy drinks. Caffeinated snacks include products made with chocolate, protein bars, energy bars, espresso beans, and energy gum.Thankfully, there is a caffeinated option for almost everyone.  

Which caffeinated break room beverage or snack do your Orlando and Central Florida employees seek out the most? Is it coffee, or maybe something else? In any case, it is important to learn your employees’ preferences to be able to encourage them to stay onsite and visit the break room instead of leaving the premises and going to a local cafe or restaurant. The Vending Station would like to help your organization customize your employee break room to meet your employees’ coffee, snack, and beverage wishes. For more information about about micro-markets, coffee service, or vending services, contact us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

break room options in Orlando and Central Florida

Provide Hospitality Not Service in Your Orlando and Central Florida Break Room

break room options in Orlando and Central FloridaWhy does is matter if an employer’s break room provides its employees only with services? Isn’t it good enough if the space just fulfills specific employee needs? For example, an employee is thirsty, so they go to the vending machine and purchase a cold beverage. The vending machine provided a service to the employee by delivering the purchased beverage.

The short answer to the previous questions is no, it isn’t enough, and because people or employees are more than just their thirst or hunger.

In 2018, only delivering services in the break room is not enough. Today, the majority of Orlando and Central Florida employees want to feel confident that their employee benefits and perks will have a meaningful and positive impact of their quality of life. In other words, they want to experience that hospitality brings. These benefits and perks often include onsite gyms, dry cleaning, and in-office meal options such as pantry service, a micro-market, or gourmet cafe-style coffee service.

To elevate break room perks beyond being only a service, employers need to add the practice of hospitality into the mix. According to the Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, hospitality is

  1. “[the] generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests” and
  2. “the activity of providing food, drinks, etc. for people who are the guests or customers of an organization.”

break room options in Orlando and Central FloridaJim Sullivan, author, and CEO and founder of Sullivision.com, recently described hospitality as “smiles, sincerity, warmth, [and] connection” and said that “hospitality fulfills people.” After blending hospitality with their Orlando and Central Florida break room, employees can experience an inviting atmosphere that boosts morale, encourages collaboration, and provides a variety of beverages, snacks, and food. But what does this mean in terms of the physical space?

The difference between service and hospitality in a physical space is subtle, but very important. Specific features including updated lighting, plants or other connections to nature, specialty coffee (ex. free-trade or a private label), high-end micro-market fixtures, and locally-made snacks or fresh food are added to the traditional, tangible items like vending machines, coffee equipment, and open racks and glass front coolers. Not only are the needs of thirsty and hungry employees being met, but Orlando and Central Florida employees’ desire for specialty coffee or snacks and a higher-end experience are being fulfilled — and that is hospitality in the break room.

To customize and upgrade the hospitality level in your office break room, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.

Vending machine options in Orlando and Central Florida

Find a Bit of Spice in Your Orlando and Central Florida Snack Vending Machine

Vending machine options in Orlando and Central Florida

With Halloween rapidly approaching, it’s time to reassess the sweet treats in your Orlando and Central Florida vending machine and consider which sweet snacks would be better with some heat. Spicy snacks have been around for awhile, but they were usually located in the ‘not-sweet’ snack section of the break room vending machine. It’s time to explore new flavor combinations and see what happens when your favorite candy is mixed with a bit of spice.

Historically, cinnamon was the most frequently used spice in the U.S. to add heat to candy. With the increased awareness of and interest in Latin American flavors, that has changed. Today, Orlando and Central Florida employees can find a mix of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors from cayenne, habanero, or sriracha in their sweet vending machine snacks. And Orlando and Central Florida employees are buying a lot of them.

Based on recent sales’ data from CandyStore.com, sales of spicy and hot-flavored candy increased 25 percent between June 2017 and June 2018. Larry Levin, EVP of Consumer and Shopper Marketing at IRI, a market research firm, reported that “sales for non-chocolate spicy and hot attributed candy products are growing eight times faster than non-chocolate in general, at a rate of 25%.” A 25 percent increase over a 12-month period is huge considering that growth in candy, as an industry, has been less than one percent.

Vending Machine options in Orlando and Central Florida

There’s just one more thing to mention.

If Orlando and Central Florida employees are not used to the heat from certain spices, it is important to offer them different options in the break room that will cool the heat. The following suggestions might might help when things are just too spicy.

Milk: Plain milk is one of the best remedies, but if it’s not available, yogurt from a fresh food vending machine or a micro-market would be a great alternative.

Sugar: A teaspoon or a single packet of sugar from the office coffee service could also do the trick.

Milk Chocolate: The fat and casein (the protein in milk) content found in a milk chocolate bar from the vending machine can help combat the heat. While dark chocolate may have more health benefits, milk chocolate is a better choice in this case.

What combination of sweet and spicy do your Orlando and Central Florida employees hope to find in their break room? Whether it leans more to the sweet side or the spicy side, we can help you customize a solution that meets your employees needs and wishes. The Vending Station offers a variety of vending services including micro-markets, office coffee service, and vending machines. For more information, contact us at (407) 891.7632.

Healthy snack option in Orlando and central florida

Finding Healthy Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida Break Rooms

Healthy snack option in Orlando and central florida

Demand for great-tasting healthy snacks in Orlando and Central Florida break rooms is on the rise. As consumers become more conscious or mindful of what they eat, employers have the opportunity to bring healthier snack options into their break rooms and educate their employees about healthy snacking. Malcolm McAlpine, business manager at Branded Snacks — Foodservice and Vending, Mondelez International recently explained that “consumers are becoming increasingly attuned to the nutritional value of the food they consume” and are changing a single-minded focus on low calories to “an emphasis on premium quality, traceable, trustworthy sourcing and simple, clean label ingredients.”

To ensure that potential healthy snacks meet these criteria, Orlando and Central Florida employees are asking the following questions:

  • What is this snack’s origin? Does that make some or all of its ingredients organic? non-GMO?
  • Is the brand or manufacturer transparent about the product? What is the complete list of ingredients? What is the production process?
  • Can this snack be personalized? Will it meet my individual dietary needs for snacks that are gluten free, paleo, keto, or dairy free?

The key to meeting a variety of dietary, transparency, and source or origin requirements is to offer a balance of snacking options including a variety of product types that meet a large number of different needs as well as provide scientifically accurate information for those snacks.This information will educate and support Orlando and Central Florida employees in making healthy decisions and clarifying some of the confusing or mixed messages that are out there.

Healthy snack options in Orlando and Central Florida

Encouraging Orlando and Central Florida employees to try new healthy snacks that are available in the break room vending machine or micro-market often requires several different approaches. One approach is to educate employees about terminology. For example, how is organic different from non-GMO, or what are the different names for sugar that are used in an ingredient list? Education will enable each Orlando and Central Florida employee to make decisions on their own that are appropriate for them.

Another approach is to provide employees with the opportunity to try new snacks or beverages that focus on a specific dietary need. Worrying about the taste of a new healthy snack, and if it is ‘worth it’ to spend the money, are hurdles that employees must overcome before buying something they have never tried. Offering that item as a monthly special with discounted pricing helps those employees who otherwise might not try an item feel better about buying it because they are spending less.

Do your Orlando and Central Florida employees have a list of healthy snacks that they wish they could enjoy while at work? As their employer, you have the opportunity to provide that benefit and customize the break room to meet their needs. Vending machines and micro-markets can be designed to offer the right mix of healthy and traditional snacks and beverages. It’s a great first step to help employees stay healthy and be productive at work. To learn more about upgrading your break room, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee and Collaboration in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Getting together with friends to grab a cup of coffee and catch up is a popular activity for many Orlando and Central Florida residents. But what about at work? Do those same individuals have the opportunity to enjoy a hot caffeinated beverage with their colleagues and talk or collaborate about work-related topics? If they don’t, it might be time to look at a new approach for combining coffee and collaboration at work.

You might be wondering what the connection between coffee and collaboration is. Before we get to that, let’s look at the benefits of collaboration by themselves. Collaboration, at its core, is the act of freely sharing knowledge quickly and easily. The result of collaboration is an increase in innovative products and solutions, which leads to improved employee engagement and satisfaction. In the long run, profitability also often increases. Unfortunately, a third of Orlando and Central Florida employees don’t experience the level of collaboration that they need to be successful.

This is where a cup of Joe comes into the picture.

Coffee, or more specifically the caffeine found in it, positively affects the outcome of group performance when the individuals in that group consumed caffeinated coffee beforehand. Recent research at The Ohio State University found that coffee made people more positive by making them more alert. This in turn created a better personal and group experience and better overall team performance results. Another related study found that the participants who consumed coffee in a group setting were also more likely to participate in the conversation and spent more time talking on-topic.   

Coffee option in Central Florida and Orlando

To increase the likelihood that coffee and both spontaneous and planned collaboration occur more frequently, there are a few changes that can be made to your Orlando and Central Florida work environment.

Start by creating “collaboration zones.” That will mean different things to different organizations. For some, it might entail updating the office break room to include a micro-market and coffee service with lots of smaller tables and seating areas that encourage conversation. Other Orlando and Central Florida businesses might prefer multiple smaller locations throughout the building with coffee service and vending machine snacks and beverages.

The key is to customize the space to fit your organization. That’s where The Vending Station comes in. We help Orlando and Central Florida businesses discover the right combination of beverages, snacks, and food to create a break room that supports employee collaboration. For more information or to take the first step, call us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to collaborating with you.