healthy options in orlando and central florida

Healthy Options Play a Vital Role in Orlando and Central Florida Micro-Markets

healthy options in orlando and central florida

The demand for fresh, natural and organic products is on the rise. With the continued interest in healthy eating, Orlando and Central Florida vending providers and employers have an opportunity to educate consumers about the newest choices in the better-for-you category. Lucille Beseler, president of Family Nutrition Center of S. Florida shared “that people are interested in nutrition and listening to the newest product options, which includes what is available in the micro market.”

Beseler’s statement is supported by an increased demand for healthy snacks. Automatic Merchandiser’s annual industry report shows the increase in demand as it found that fresh food and better-for-you product sales compromised a larger percentage of overall micro-market sales than before.

Savory snacks are no longer the only type of snack that might be changed to be considered better-for-you. Sweets, especially dark chocolate, are being made with healthier ingredients. A recent report by Convenience Store Designs covered the changes in chocolate sales and determined that better-for-you qualities like the benefits of dark chocolate or the addition of functional ingredients played an important role in increasing sales. 

But better-for-you chocolate isn’t the only sweet treat that Orlando and Central Florida consumers are looking for in their break room. The sought-after bold and hot flavors currently found in snacks have made their way to the candy aisle. In fact, sales of non-chocolate spicy and hot candy products are increasing at rate of 25% compared to non-chocolate candy.

healthy options in orlando and central florida

While the health benefits of snacks, fresh food and beverages are very important to Orlando and Central Florida consumers, they also want to learn about how eating or drinking a specific product will feel and sound. For instance, is it crunchy, crispy or silky? Are there multiple textures within a single product? Products that share information about textures have a higher chance of being purchased. Combine bold and spicy flavors with touch and sound, and you’ll have an experience consumers are looking for.

Drawing your Orlando and Central Florida employees into the micro-market with a combination of healthy, bold and spicy, and textually-intriguing snacks can also result in multiple benefits for both you and your employees. A welcoming space where colleagues can spontaneously gather creates opportunities for creativity. Healthy employees who are also satiated and hydrated are likely to be more productive. And as snacks continue to replace meals during the day, they will continue to be a strong revenue driver.

Whether it’s time to update your current micro-market menu or create a new one from scratch, The Vending Station would like to help. We will help customize the perfect combination of refreshment options from healthy snacks, beverages and fresh food to office coffee service. For more information, please contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. 

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Healthy Snacks are a Necessity in Orlando and Central Florida Break Rooms

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Consumer demand for convenient and healthy snacks such as cereal bars, energy bars and other snack bars is growing. According to market research firm Mordor Intelligence, the snack bar market value is expected to increase by 22 percent between 2017 and 2023. That translates to a lot of snack bars.

The researchers believe that the changing lifestyle of Orlando and Central Florida employees will continue to play an important role in the expected increase. Consuming three large meals per day is gradually being replaced with smaller meals or larger, healthy snacks that are enjoyed more frequently throughout the day. Manufacturers have responded to this shift by developing a snack bar for every occasion from protein-filled energy bars to fruit bars that will satisfy a sweet tooth.

But it’s not just any type of snack bar or meal-like snack that will do. Orlando and Central Florida employees are looking for healthy products with “clean” ingredients, reduced sugar, higher amounts of protein and functional ingredients. Reduced amounts of sugar usually mean fewer calories, protein stabilizes blood sugar levels and slows digestion, and functional ingredients serve more than one purpose. 
Other convenient and healthy snacks that have higher levels of protein and lower amounts of sugar and can be found in the break room include beef jerky, trail mix, Greek yogurt, cheese, nuts, roasted chickpeas, and hummus and veggies.

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Even though the previously listed snacks are usually higher in protein, lower in sugar and often categorized as healthy, it is important to remember to pay attention to the serving size and the information on the nutrition label. Many of these types of snacks can be high in added sugar or calories. To help Orlando and Central Florida employees make sure that they don’t get too much, they should always ask, “Is the package that the snack bar or yogurt or nuts came in considered a portion or a serving size?” 

You might be thinking that they are the same thing, but no, they aren’t. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “A portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package, or at home. A serving, or serving size, is the amount of food listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts, or food label…Depending on how much you choose to eat, your portion size may or may not match the serving size.” 

Another way to help your Orlando and Central Florida employees eat healthier is to offer healthy snacks and beverages in the break room vending machine or micro-market. The easier it is to find and purchase great-tasting, healthy options including snack bars, the more likely an individual is to go that route. There’s an extra bonus too. Satiated, hydrated and healthy employees who stay on-site to grab a bite to eat or drink are more productive and creative. Spontaneous conversations among coworkers always seem to happen when they are least expected.

For more information about any of our vending service options including office coffee service or to customize a menu for your specific location, contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. 

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Orlando and Central Florida’s Secret Weapon for Healthy Eating

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

For many in the Orlando and Central Florida area, the holiday season is a time for celebration. Maintaining healthy eating habits often fall to the wayside during November and December. Now that it’s the start of a new year, it’s time to reassess the state of one’s eating habits at work and at home. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™, a workplace nutrition education program that focuses on helping employees make healthy choices, can help.

The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ program is sponsored by USConnect®, a nationwide food service network with providers in the Orlando and Central Florida area. USConnect®’s network consists of the leading independent food service companies in the United States. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ has an extensive website focused on making healthy choices. Visitors to the website can learn more about nutrition, healthy food options and exercise. The website is loaded with healthy recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare.  Additional resources link visitors to websites that provide fitness tracking, nutrition calculators, ways to sleep better and tips for reducing stress. The Vending Station is an independent vending service provider in the greater Orlando and Central Florida area. It is part of the USConnect network and offers The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ program to its clients. The company provides an extensive variety of healthy food and beverage vending options to their customers. Snacks, beverages and foods that meet The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ dietary guidelines are marked with the program’s heart logo so they stand out as healthy choices. This makes it easier for employees to make healthy selections when they visit the break room.

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Employee well-being can be further promoted through corporate wellness initiatives that are supported by The Right Choice for a Healthier You™. Companies can rely on expert help in developing programs through free consultation services with a registered dietitian. Workplace wellness programs go a long way toward establishing a healthy mindset in the workplace and reinforcing good habits that extend into employees’ lives at home.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a continuous work in progress. This time of year, many of us have to work a little harder. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ guides us towards better nutrition and better living now and all throughout the year. Check out their website at www.therightchoiceforahealthieryou.com.

The Vending Station provides premium vending, office coffee and water filtration services to its customers. Contact us at (407) 891.7632 to improve the healthfulness of your workplace in the New Year.

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Healthy and Fun Food Trends in Orlando and Central Florida

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Finding the right balance between healthy and not-so-healthy foods can be challenging especially if one’s current diet feels boring, but it doesn’t have to be. A variety of new food trends can be found throughout Orlando and Central Florida that will satisfy a healthy craving or offer a bit of silliness and hopefully, bring things into balance.   

Healthy Food Trends

Turmeric Milk or Golden Milk: The primary ingredients in this beverage are cow’s or plant-based milk, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Not only does this beverage contain antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties, but it has also been found to help form new connections in the brain and promote brain cell growth.

Gut-Friendly Foods: This group of foods includes sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, and pickles, all of which have undergone the process of fermentation or pickling. A short explanation of fermentation is that yeast or bacteria is added to a particular food and then feeds on the natural sugars in that food. The result is a preserved product that contains gut-healthy probiotics and other helpful nutrients.  

Drinkable Soups: Easy to enjoy on-the-go or throughout the workday, drinkable soups are made with vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant-packed produce and are packaged in ready-to-drink containers. Similar in consistency to smoothies, drinkable soups offer a more filling, higher fiber, and lower sugar option that can replace a less healthy snack.

Healthy is super important, but we also need a little fun in our lives. Enjoying fun food trends (in moderation of course) is a great way to taste something new and have fun.

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Fun Food Trends
Rolled Ice Cream: Part of what makes rolled ice cream so intriguing is its preparation method. Using a process that is similar to the one used to make a classic Yule log dessert, liquid ice cream is poured on a cold slate which freezes the ice cream. The frozen sheet of ice cream is then rolled by hand, sliced, and served with a variety of toppings. Yum!

Doughnuts with Customized-Fillings: ‘Boutique’ doughnut shops have been popping up across the U.S., and the options are endless. Unique ingredients include sweet and regular potato, pumpkin, and fruit jellies. Fillings and flavors such as custard, snickers bars, and banana malt and toppings like bacon, marshmallows, and cereal can also be found. There’s a flavor combination for everyone.

Instead of seeing your Orlando and Central Florida employees always going off site to find something healthy or fun to eat, provide them with a reason to stay on site. Offer a balance of healthy and fun beverage, snack, and food options in your break room micro-market or vending machines. To create a customized menu for your organization, survey your employees about their preferences, but don’t forget to include coffee service options in your survey. Coffee, tea, and espresso-based beverages can also be fun and healthy.

Increase the odds that all of your Orlando and Central Florida employees can find something in the break room with a custom break room menu designed by The Vending Station. We can help you create a space that is inviting, fun, and relaxing all at the same time. For more information, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632.

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida Employees Value Their Break Room Perks

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Employees value their break room perks. Whether it’s flexible working hours, professional development opportunities, gym memberships, working remotely, or meals or catered food, perks can have a big impact on an employee’s lifestyle quality. Perks also create a positive return on investment for employers. Lisa Oyler, human resources director at Access Development explained, “Perks are about creating a culture and environment where we hope we can find that work-life balance. If employees are happy at work, they’re going to produce more. This leads to higher retention.”

A cost-effective employee perk that is highly valued is the break room. But it isn’t just any type of break room. This break room should support community building, be aesthetically pleasing, let their employees know that employee well-being is important, and offer a variety of healthy and traditional snacks, food, and beverages.

Community

According to a recent survey by Clutch, a B2B research, ratings, and reviews company, “about half (47 percent) of part- or full-time employees value a community atmosphere in the place where they work.” A common way that groups of individuals build a sense of community is to share a meal, and that includes Orlando and Central Florida employees. The office break room provides a location where that can occur.

In order to draw employees into the break room, the space must be aesthetically pleasing and welcoming.

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Aesthetics

More than 60 percent of employees surveyed by Clutch want a pleasant, modern, and comfortable workspace. The problem arises when only 47 percent of those employees actually have a space they find agreeable. This discrepancy should be concerning to Orlando and Central Florida employers.

Creating an aesthetically pleasing break room can vary from a few small design changes to a complete overhaul. Features that appeal to most employees include increasing the amount of natural lighting, updating fixtures, incorporating aspects of nature such as plants, wood, or water, and adding new places to socialize or take a nap.   

Current and Future Employees

A transformed break room creates a community atmosphere and helps employees connect with each other. It also draws in potential new hires. Break room perks like micro-markets and pantry service in inviting spaces help Orlando and Central Florida employers build a stronger relationship with current employees as well as show new hires that their quality of life matters.

Unfortunately, two out of five employers don’t offer any employee perks. Use this knowledge to your advantage — customize your Orlando and Central Florida break room so it meets your employees needs. Whether it’s adding office coffee service or healthy vending machines, or designing a completely new space, The Vending Station can help. For more information, call us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.

Vending Machines in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida, What Can’t Vending Machines Sell?

Vending Machines in Orlando and Central Florida

The answer appears to be nothing. Innovative vending machines found throughout the world sell, rent, and build a wide variety of products including laptops. Since October 2017, over 500 students at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, MI have rented laptops from a vending machine. While renting a laptop from a vending machine is new in Michigan, there are at least 31 other vending machines in the U.S. and four outside of the U.S. that rent laptops.

A laptop is only one of the many unique products besides snacks and beverages that can be found in vending machines all over the world.  

Bicycles: In a number of cities, both inside the U.S. and abroad, there are automated docking stations or vending machines where a user can rent a RFID (Radio-frequency identification) bike. Once the rider has arrived at their destination, they return the bicycle to another docking station where someone else can rent it.

Electronics: Vending machines that sell electronics are usually located in airports. These machines provide potential customers with a way to purchase items that they might have forgotten or didn’t realize they needed such as headphones, chargers, phones, sim cards, laptops, or mobile hotspots.

3D Printing: While less common, 3D printing vending machines are often found near large universities. The user saves a design on a usb drive or sim card, places the card in the machine, and the machine carves out the model in 3D. University students in Italy took it one step farther and figured out how to convert plastic bottles into smartphone cases using a 3D printing vending machine.

Vending Machines in Orlando and Central Florida

Cars: How about buying a car from a vending machine? And yes, the car is really in the machine. These vending machines, however, are multiple stories high and can hold hundreds of cars. The customer uses an app to choose the vehicle that they want, and the vending machine delivers it.

The vending industry has also benefited from innovative vending machine designs such as the micro-market and healthy vending machines.

Micro-Market: According to the National Automatic Merchandising Association or NAMA, “a micro market is a self-checkout retail food establishment that replaces a bank of vending machines.” It includes an open rack display and/or reach-in refrigerated coolers and/or freezers that holds products with a UPC bar code or an RFID tag. The Orlando and Central Florida employee pays for their purchase at an unattended kiosk or payment system that is never closed.  

Healthy Vending Machines: Finding a healthy snack or beverage while on the go has gotten easier with the inclusion of vending machines that sell healthy products. Whether your Orlando and Central Florida employees need to grab a snack before a meeting or are looking for a quick, healthy meal, healthy vending machines provide a variety of options 24-hours per day.

Are you ready to create a high-value break room with innovative vending technology? Micro-markets and healthy vending machines are just a couple of the services that The Vending Station provides. Upgrade your break room to create the ultimate space with coffee service, pantry service, and a variety of other options. Contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632 to learn more.

Healthy Vending Options in Orlando and Central Florida

Food Trends Impact Orlando and Central Florida Healthy Vending Options

Healthy Vending Options in Orlando and Central Florida

Chocolate, cheese, and cereal have more in common than Orlando and Central Florida employees might realize. All three represent food trends that will impact future healthy vending options. As consumers seek out healthier packaged snack, food, and beverage options in the office break room and at home, manufacturers are responding by developing new choices to meet those needs.

Chocolate’s Dual Purpose

Times have changed. Chocolate is no longer seen only as a sweet treat that should be enjoyed sparingly. According to David Sprinkle, Research Director for Packaged Facts, “Chocolate companies are increasingly jumping on the better-for-you snacking trend, which leverages frequency of snacking by Americans with a balanced approach to nutrition that explores realistic options rather than a more dogmatic philosophy that forbids snacks or sweets altogether.”

These changes, however, are about more than traditional milk chocolate. Innovative companies are giving “old” chocolate treats a makeover. New dark chocolate products satisfy cravings and deliver quality nutrition without loading the Orlando and Central Florida consumer with sugar. The key is to offer new, high-cocoa content, low unhealthy-fat, and low-sugar, chocolate snacks with other healthy vending options in the office break room.

Cheese’s New Identity

To meet other snacking and on-the-go trends, cheese-makers are developing new cheese options in special cuts and sizes. Orlando and Central Florida employees are also looking for portable cheese snacks in easy-to-use packaging.

Cheese comes in a variety of flavors and nutrition as it contains calcium, protein, vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium, vitamins A, D and K, good bacteria, and antioxidants. But, watch out for choices with higher amounts of calories, salt, and saturated fat. Softer cheeses have fewer calories than hard cheeses because of the smaller amount of fat  To enjoy better-for-you cheese options look for ones that are fresh, organic, and made from healthier milk as well as low in fat and sodium.

Healthy Vending Options in Orlando and Central Florida

Cereal’s Expanding Role

The days of eating cereal only for breakfast are gone. Orlando and Central Florida employees are consuming cereal at all times of the day. General Mills recently found that “an estimated 30 percent of all US cereal consumption now comes in the form of snacking —triple the level of a decade ago.”

New cereal choices include a variety of flavors such as pumpkin, cinnamon, chocolate, coffee, and mocha. The type of ingredients have changed too. “Healthier” grains including quinoa, multigrain, oat, flaxseed, hemp, chia, pumpkin seed, and pea protein are a few of the options available. Cereal can also be enjoyed in the form of an on-the-go cereal bar, as a topping on a mid-morning yogurt snack, or as an after dinner treat.

Which of these healthy vending options are already available in your Orlando and Central Florida office break room? Whether you want to add one or all three, The Vending Station can help. We offer customized vending solutions including pantry services, micro-markets, and vending machines. To start the next step, call us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.