Tag Archives: healthy snacking

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.

Read full article here –>

Millennials & Diet Mentality

mschoice-blog
Hello!
I’m Ms. Choice and I’m here to provide information and assist in promoting and implementing wellness and healthier snacking at work sites and schools. An article from Food Business News suggests that Millennials are more likely to ditch a diet mentality than previous generations:

Millennials more likely to ditch diet mentality

Monica Watrous

Young people eating at a restaurant, millennials
from Food Business News
Millennials are less concerned about calories and fat than the general population.

WASHINGTON — In matters of health and wellness, millennials are less concerned about calories and fat than the general population, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC)’s 2015 Food and Health Survey. Millennial consumers also are more likely to use technology to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

“Millennials are a unique generation, and their approach to health and fitness is no exception,” said Sarah Romotsky, R.D., director of health and wellness for the IFIC Foundation. “This research gave us an inside look at how millennials are optimistic about the future of food, they look to their friends and family for support, they use technology as a tool to reach their health goals, and they have shifting attitudes about the value of certain nutrients.”

Like the general population, millennial consumers agree moderate sugar intake may be part of a healthy diet and that there are differences in the healthfulness of naturally occurring sugars compared with other types of sweeteners. However, millennial perceptions of fat and protein differ from those of the general population. Fewer millennials (54% vs. 61% of the general population) claim to have reduced consumption of solid fats, and one in three millennials recently have changed his or her opinion on the healthfulness of saturated fat, with millennial men more likely to view it more favorably. Additionally, one in five millennials say higher-protein foods may have many unhealthful components, compared to one in seven of the general population.

Moreover, millennials are less likely to count or limit calories than other age groups, and 20% of millennials claim all sources of calories have an equal effect on weight gain, compared to 27% of the general population.

More than a third (36%) of millennials track daily food and beverage intake using an app or other means, compared with 22% of the population, and 12% of  millennials use an on-line support group or community to pursue wellness goals, compared with 6%. Millennials also are more optimistic than other age groups about future food innovations and inventions that may support healthful living.

Food tracking app
More than a third (36%) of millennials track daily food and beverage intake using an app or other means. from Food Business News.

Millennials also are more likely to trust a health or nutrition blogger for accurate food information (33% vs. 24% of the general population) and rely on support of family and friends to improve eating behaviors (45% vs. 32%).

“It’s encouraging to see that millennials are interested in learning more about eating well,” said Kris Sollid, R.D., director of nutrient communications for the IFIC Foundation. “Developing a positive relationship with food is one of the most important things young people can do for their health.”

Read full article here –>

Vending Machine Healthy Options Outsell Junk Food

California Study: Vending Machine Healthy Options Outsell Junk Food

Rick Nauret | November 30, 2015

California Study: Vending Machine Healthy Options Outsell Junk Food

The campus-based study found that when given the choice between cookies, chips, and candy bars verse nuts, trail mix, and air-popped snacks, consumers went healthy.The study is believed to be the first of its kind on an American college campus.

As part of the UC Global Food Initiative, the University of California has compiled case studies of how research done at UC campuses, including UCLA’s vending machine study, has contributed to food and agriculture policy.

Among those case studies cited is the study that was done by members of UCLA’s Healthy Campus Initiative in collaboration with UCLA’s Housing and Hospitality Services.

Researchers planned, implemented, and evaluated a pilot vending machine program aimed at encouraging customers to choose healthier items over conventional snack items without compromising the financial viability of the machines.

“What we aimed to do was methodologically identify healthier products and encourage customers to choose them, all without compromising the machines’ financial performance,” said Joe Viana, a doctoral student at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health who conducted the study…

Read full article –>

Summer Roadtrip Snack Packs

mschoice-blog
Hello!
Summer road trip coming up? No better way to prepare than with healthy snack packs! Check out these awesome ideas from It’s Always Autumn below:

20 best ideas, activities, and resources for road trips with kids
BY:

links to the best activities, snacks, and tips for road trips with kids!
from
It’s Always Autumn

March means spring break is coming up, and spring break means road trip, right? Honestly, I used to think people who packed up a bunch of kids and drove for fifteen hours and called that fun were completely, certifiably insane. There are times when fifteenminutes in the car with kids who won’t stop bugging each other is almost more than I can handle. However, I’ve realized that with the right preparation, a road trip with kids can be rather less miserable than expected – maybe even fun. All sorts of smart people have posted their favorite tips for road trips with kids online, and I’ve sorted through to find the best ones (and thrown in a few of my own). From preparing the car and organizing your supplies to packing snacks and prepping activities, this post has you covered. You’ll find links to hundreds of ideas to make your road trip with kids a little less horrible and a lot more fun.

8. This post by Toni Spilsbury is actually about organizing snacks at home, but her “fridge snacks” example would be perfect for putting in the cooler for healthy road trip snacks. She also includes a price breakdown showing how much you can save by packing your own snacks instead of buying at the gas station or drive through.

snackorg10-650x975
from
It’s Always Autumn

9. Babble has rounded up 25 great ideas for road trip snacks for kids, including easy ways to transport veggies and dips, homemade versions of classics like fruit leather, fruits snacks and cheez-its, and this munchable necklace that will keep little ones busy for a while (originally from And this is how the story goes):

road-trip-ideas
from
It’s Always Autumn

10. Kids are sure to love these tackle boxes turned mega snack packs, from Inner Child Crochet. I like the idea of giving one to each child and letting them control when and what they snack on, so I don’t have to rummage through the snack container every fifteen minutes to find someone more food. I’d be a little nervous about one getting tipped over, however, so I might look for a divided container that has separated lids so you can open just one compartment at a time (maybe in the jewelry making section).

trip-divided-snack-container-road-trip-kids
from
It’s Always Autumn

11. Use straws for yogurt and applesauce – genius! I love this idea. This isn’t my photo, it’s one floating around Pinterest without a good link, but we’ve done this plenty of times in the car, and even as a healthy snack at Disneyland. Cut straws in half so they’re not so long and tape on to the side of each snack in advance.