Tag Archives: breakroom

Fundamentals of Offering Healthier Snacks in Micro Markets

As consumers become increasingly more health conscious, vending and micro market operators are rising to the challenge of finding a variety of quality items to include in their line of SKUs. In fact this year, nutritious snacks, or healthy snacks, constituted two percent of sales by dollar revenue in the vending industry, according to Automatic Merchandiser’s State of the Industry report.

For the roughly 1,000 micro market operators servicing nearly 10,000 locations in the U.S. as reported by the NAMA, better-for-you category growth offerings are not only necessary but essential to capturing the majority of consumers who say they snack at least once per day.

Look at key trends

In 2016, consumers will be more concerned with what’s in their food than what is not, said NPD Group. The micro market consumer is no exception. Lynn Robles, Automatic Merchandiser 2013 Distributor of the Year award recipient, notes that micro market customers are looking for fresh products, so operators should be sure to offer a variety of items that meet that criteria. “Keep it simple,” Robles said. “Start with three to four offerings of key items such as pre-packaged salads, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs and sandwiches with vegetables.”

‘Fresh’ isn’t the only healthy trend that consumers gravitate towards though.  A growing number of them are moving towards consumption of organic food, with TechSci global market research company estimating the global organic food market to grow at over 16 percent by 2020.

Other key better-for-you growth trends include gluten-free, non-GMO (genetically modified organism), local, simple ingredients, whole-grain and allergen-free. Manufacturers are creating packaged goods that meet the healthy snacking criteria and trends consumers are looking for. Robles recommends offering two to three organic, gluten-free and non-GMO items per market. From there micro market operators should look at offering a non-dairy milk choice, organic juice or lemonades as well as water.

Robles notes that micro markets should have a meal replacement selection such as bars, too. “If operators don’t think these will sell, I point out that this category is one of the largest sections in a convenience store,” she said.

Placement guidelines

Placement of healthy and better-for-you items in a micro market is just as important as the selection of products.

Although micro markets should not be considered the same as convenience stores, Robles recommends presenting healthy item sections similar to the grocery and c-store industry. Healthy, better-for-you items should be highlighted within the markets and displayed in their own section.

Healthy sections can be highlighted through décor such as signage with bright, eye-catching colors and icons that reflect a ‘health-focused’ theme above the shelving or below each rack.

“One of my biggest suggestions is to make sure the section looks top rate!” said Robles. “Don’t mix any traditional vending items in the healthy section; it needs to be a true, dedicated better-for-you area.”

Replace the vending hat

The vending and micro market user experience is fundamentally different; therefore micro marketoperators looking to succeed in that area need to cast their vending hats aside.

Micro markets allow for a much wider selection of items, including better-for-you options unavailable or too large for a vending machine. Micro markets also allow operators the ability to offer items that are of greater perceived value which can then be sold at a higher price.

In order to make the most out of fresh food and healthy items in micro markets, operators should look towards bundling ‘healthy’ item sales such as pairing a better-for-you drink with a healthy snack. Additional business can be captured by offering take-home meals to the micro market customer leaving at the end of the day.

The quality of healthy items has increased since the introduction of micro markets; manufacturers are responding to the consumer demand for health-focused items and micro market operators should as well. Micro market success will come from the quality and the variety of better-for-you options.

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Breakroom Office Etiquette

Office breakrooms are the perfect place to relax, reboot, and refresh throughout the work day. Stick with these guidelines from Gentwenty to enjoy every blissful moment of your hard-earned break:

The laws of office break room etiquette

Office Break RoomImage Credit: Jim Moore

Welcome to the real world! Maybe you have just landed your first job in the workforce (congrats!) or maybe you have been a member of the club for a while now. We imagine that you work hard and cannot wait to get your hands on that delicious lunch hour or that could-not-have-come-at-a-better-time fifteen minute break. Are you new to the office and have no idea where to put your food in the fridge? Maybe you stirred things up a bit by heating up some tuna and smelling up the entire office. Surely that was not you gossiping in the break room and getting busted at the same time. What flies in the break room and what is a no-go? We are sharing some rules for probably one of the least talked about aspects of office life: the break room.

Believe it or not, you need break room etiquette whether the rules are spoken or unspoken. Break room etiquette helps ensure that we have smooth interactions with our office mates. It increases respect around the office and can help keep overall harmony. It also helps to make sure you have a stress-free break, much needed of course.

Here are some simple, common sense and easy to follow commandments to follow when you are in the office break room.

Thou shall not be messy. Please, oh please, clean up after yourself. There are no office maids sister; you are an adult. Do not leave your trash everywhere. Do not leave your dishes to sit in the days until the next quarterly meeting. Do your part.

Thou shall not be lazy. Ever been frustrated because the last person to use the water forgot to change the cooler? We all have. If you are the last to use something, replace it.

Thou shall not gossip. Nothing nice to say? Keep it away from the break room. Gossiping is just plain mean. You never know who is behind you or who may overhear you. The workplace is not the place to vent about how lazy and miserable you think your boss is; save that for cocktails with your best friends.

Thou shall not make smelly foods. Any seafood is pretty much a winner for this category. No one wants to smell fish while they are trying to work. The biggest smelly food crime of the office? Probably burnt popcorn. We know it can be hard folks, just stand by the microwave and watch it.

Thou shall not steal. Do not, under any circumstances, take something that belongs to someone else without asking them. This includes everything from food to dishes. You would not want someone to eat your fabulous homemade cookies, would you?

Thou shall mind thy manners. If you can help yourself, try not to be nuisance in the break room. It is a time for people to relax and get their minds off of work. Do not chat on your phone loudly, chew loudly, or just do anything loud in general. Oh, and for heaven’s sake, do not bug others about work-related projects during the break. Be respectful, mate.

Thou shall enjoy thy break. You have earned it. Take the time to relax and clear your mind. Ready, break!