28 Nov The New World of Healthy Vending
When most people think of vending machines, they think of the old machines at the bowling alley they went to as kids full of chips, candy, and pastries…junk food central! So many options of things mom would never want us to eat—it was often difficulty to pick just one thing! To spend money on yummy treats or video games? It was always a tough decision, even for a teenager!
As things have changed in the world of video games (Pac Man, anyone?), so have things changed in the world of vending. While vending machines are still a place where you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a Snickers or bag of M&Ms, there are now so many other options! Times have definitely changed when it comes to snacking, and, fortunately for everyone, the manufacturers have evolved with society’s desire to make better, healthier choices. Many vending companies have fought these trends, holding on to the snacks of yesterday, but the more progressive companies have seen the changes coming and have changed their options to meet these new desires. New options are not simply limited to granola bars and peanuts as they were in the past—many manufacturers, such as Gardettos and Cheez-Its, have reformulated our favorite snacks to offer reduced fat versions. In addition, the options in Baked chips have been expanding for years and the flavors and quality continue to improve! Another popular trend is the addition of whole grains in our favorites and the near elimination of trans fats and saturated fats in most snacks as well as the reduction in sodium.
It seems like every week our suppliers are bringing us new products to test in our machines, and while not all of them end up being popular with our customers, many have become some of our best sellers! Many vending companies avoid carrying healthier options as it requires a wider product portfolio and a larger inventory, but we find that this is the best way to serve the needs of our customers. I am often amazed by what items turn out to be our best sellers! Beef jerky, Wheat Thins Veggie Crisps, and Sun Chips are some of our top sellers, and, like our competitors, we resisted adding these items for quite a while. Our goal is to work with employers to meet the needs of their employees and company wellness programs through the products we provide. It is completely possible to develop vending programs that are totally in line with these programs while still keeping employees on-site rather than feeling the need to run up the street to Circle K or the local QT to grab a snack. In addition, when employees are eating better foods, they feel better about themselves and in turn tend to produce better work, so it’s a complete win-win for everyone! So, as you think about the vending at your company and your employees’ or customers’ needs, take the time to think about what is best for them—is there a desire for healthier options in your machines? Would your company benefit from offering better choices? How do these better options reflect on you as a company and the standards you have for your employees? Remember, a place of business is so much more than just the place people come in and out of and spend their days, but the experience they have while spending their time there!