Millennial Parents Shaping the Snack Industry

The world of snacking is constantly changing as new trends emerge. The snacking habits of millennial parents are forever changing the snacking industry. Millennial parents have been choosing healthier options for their families and letting their families be a part of the decision making process.

Millennials are eating more snacks than any other group. Food Navigator stated that the sales of snacks have grown more than 3% a year since 2008. Millennials snack during meal times more than any other generations. There is a trend for Millennials to have snacks as a meal replacement for breakfast, lunch, and dinner more than any other generation. So not only are Millennials snacking more frequently, they are replacing traditional meals with snacks which have helped Grab and go food items succeed.

According to Packaged Facts, there are three mega trends shaping the children’s food industry:

  1. Industry players must consider the generational influence of the millennial parent on the children’s food and beverage market.
  2. Manufacturers and marketers consider ethnicity and  race for food and beverage products.
  3. There is an increased focus on nutrition through stealth- health and real food movements. Many food companies are sneaking fruits and vegetables into kid-friendly foods. Parents are more likely to buy foods with healthy terms such as clean, local, and organic.

Millennials want healthier snacks. This generation has grown up in the obesity crisis with the media pushing them to find healthier options. Millennials are reading product labels more than any other generation to find products with low calories, no trans fats, no added salt, etc. This generation is looking to more natural options such as fruits and vegetables. Millennials are strongly influencing the flavors of snacks with a desire for more complex, bold, and spicy flavors.

With these trends in mind, it is easier for the snack food industry to reach millennial consumers. Some common snack trends for Millennial parents are: low-prep and prepackaged meal replacements, high protein snacks, healthier snacks with lower fat and sugar, and convenient on-the-go options. In terms of snacks, millennial moms prefer snacks that have no artificial ingredients.  Bars, nuts, yogurt, and chips are being sold at a record rate. Chips and chocolate are still the most popular, but healthier options are making up a larger percentage of snack choices.

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Micro Market Innovation

Self-service micro markets are a fresh idea for a new break-time experience by combining fresh, nutritious meals and snacks with ease of use and technological innovation. Micro markets are more limited and focused on a select group of consumers, offering a full range of healthier products. These markets have a wide variety of tasty and healthy options with the convenience of having a fresh marketplace within your company campus. With soups, salads, fruits, vegetables, frozen foods, cold drinks, and other snack foods, there is enough diversity to please everyone.

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Micro markets are self-checkout convenience installations that offer 24/7 retail-style merchandising with state-of-the-art unattended self-checkout kiosk technology. With the choice of a variety of fresh foods, snacks, and beverages, you can have open product access and a variety of healthy and fresh food selections. Not only do employees have access to hundreds of healthy products, but they can also take time to evaluate product labels and nutritional information before making a purchase. Micro markets are an innovating and exciting way to make break-time a little more fun and much healthier, which increase employee morale and productivity.

Employees who stay on campus can get back to work quicker and are more likely to be satisfied with the healthy options. Associates can accumulate points with the purchase of healthy items to encourage healthier choices. Micro markets have a simple and secure checkout process: employees checkout using their own credit/debit cards, key tag, or smartphones. Each company has unique needs so each company’s micro market is designed slightly different.

Some key benefits of having a micro market in your company include:

  • Convenience: Company Kitchen is open 24/7
  • Cashless kiosk: Use a market card, credit or debit card to pay
  • Fresh-made foods and a great selection
  • Nutritional tracking allows employees to create a personal, online profiles to track nutritional data

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Food Delivery by Drones

How cool would it be to have a drone deliver your food? Well, this fantasy is becoming a reality! Companies have tested drone deliveries during the past couple of years to find ways to deliver food quickly to customers. Just think of it – drones will be able to deliver food within 20 minutes and restaurants will no longer have to worry about deliveries being delayed in traffic.

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With today’s technology, drones have already carried a wide variety of food including:

  • Pizza
  • Tacos
  • Burritos
  • Alcohol (Beer, champagne, bottle service, etc.)
  • Coca Cola

Check out the video of a Francesco’s Pizza Delivery in Mumbai

The logistics of food delivery has always been difficult for restaurant owners due to the high costs and variable workload, but drones may be the answer restaurants are looking for to solve these problems. Drones need to be able to carry the required amount of weight without a human controller in order to be cost effective. An issue associated with drones is weather capacity. Drones are currently limited to good weather, but as technology improves, companies will continue to solve this issue.

According to Ralf Wenzel, drone technology will be introduced throughout all 24 markets covered by Foodpanda, including Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, and Malaysia. Foodpanda will be the first to deliver and Amazon is predicted to follow with consumer products. Google’s goal is to have the commercial business of drone delivery up and running in 2017.

Let us know if you’re excited for your food to be delivered by drones! What’s the first thing you want a drone to bring you?

Coffee Shops Experimenting with Coffee Delivery

Imagine having a hot cup of coffee delivered straight to your work or home. This is soon to become a reality as coffee shops experiment with coffee deliveries. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are experimenting with on-demand ordering to deliver hot drinks directly to consumers at work or to their front door.

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Starbucks is currently testing two delivery options:

  • Starbucks Green Apron Delivery – Empire State Building tenants and registered guests can order Starbucks coffee online and have it delivered directly to their office. This is a pilot project in the dense urban environment to serve the building’s 12,000 employees. Starbucks prioritizes and delivers the order with 30 minutes. A Starbucks employee will bring the order to the company front desk or reception area to meet the customer.
  • Starbucks Delivery in Seattle – Seattle residents can use the Starbucks iPhone app to get Starbucks delivered by Postmates to any location in town. Delivery is only available in select areas in Seattle, but more cities and platforms are soon to come.

Dunkin’ Donuts has a few opportunities as well:

  • On-the-Go Ordering App – Dunkin’ Donuts Perks customers in Portland, Maine can use this app to sync to their Perks account to skip the line and pick up their orders at the counter or drive-thru. This is not a delivery option, but there is opportunity to use the mobile app for deliveries in the future.
  • DoorDash – Customers living in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C. can have their coffee and food delivered to their doors within 45 minutes from 7am-10pm. The company is considering a national rollout for this in the future!

In addition to these large coffee chains, there are many smaller coffee shops that have already started delivering coffee to customers. Coffee delivery will continue to be more popular and available in the future. Coffee shops are still working on developing the perfect way to deliver coffee at the right temperature and time. These companies want to ensure that they maintain their high reputation for great coffee, so if they can master these two obstacles, the future of on-demand coffee delivery is looking bright.

Let us know what you think about coffee delivery options. Which drink will you order for delivery?

Best Ways to Spice Up Your Typical PB&J Sandwich

Do you ever get tired of your typical peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Are you looking for new, easy lunch ideas for your kids? If you answered yes to either of these questions, check out some easy ways to make your typical peanut butter and jelly more exciting. Some combinations seem unusual, but you might be surprised to find a new favorite to spice up your PB&J sandwich.

  • Peanut butter and pickle sandwich – Peanut butter and pickles may seem like an unusual combination, but the slightly sweet and salty flavors bring out a unique result. Try it for yourself and let us know what you think!

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  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich – By adding slices of banana to your peanut butter sandwich, you can easily Bananas are full of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, fiber, biotin, and copper, so you are sure to get many more nutrients in this simple meal. For extra flavor, you can add a little honey!

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  • Apple peanut butter sandwich – Cut an apple into horizontal sections then put peanut butter, chocolate chips, and nuts on top. As they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This is a nutritional and delicious meal that you won’t want to miss out on.

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  • French toast peanut butter and jelly sandwich – To switch things up, you can make French toast then apply your peanut butter and jelly. If you are making lunch for your kids, this is one you will definitely want to try!

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  • Waffle/pancake peanut butter and jelly sandwich – Another easy recipe is to switch out your bread for waffles or pancakes. This is another one that kids will definitely love!

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  • Peanut butter and Nutella sandwich – For all the chocolate lovers, this sandwich is for you. Put peanut butter and Nutella on your sandwich to add a little sweetness to your meal!

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  • Peanut butter and bacon sandwich – If you love bacon, try this unique combination. You can even add some bananas to the sandwich to make an Elvis sandwich!

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  • Cinnamon raisin peanut butter sandwich – Use cinnamon raisin bread to add a little sweetness to your sandwich. Another alternative is to add some cinnamon and raisins to your peanut butter bread.

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  • Peanut butter, cheese, and grilled bacon sandwich – This is another unique sandwich that you don’t want to miss. This one is called Elvis’ grilled cheese sandwich. With melty cheese and gooey peanut butter, you might be surprised to find a new favorite.

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Let us know below if you’ve tried any of these sandwiches before or if you see any that you want to try!

Exciting K-Cup News!

 

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Picture yourself holding a warm cup of coffee on a cold winter day. The warmth and caffeine are helping you get a jump start on your day. Are you holding a warm drink from your Keurig? If so, you are starting your morning off like many Americans. According to Statista, Keurig Green Mountains was the leading single-sup coffee vendor in the U.S. in 2015 at $1.4 billion dollars. K-Cups allow consumers to make a single serving drink without having to make a whole pot. It’s the perfect solution for coffee drinkers who are on-the-go and looking for a convenient way to get some caffeine to start the day.

The name Keurig actually comes from the Dutch term for excellence. Keurig was founded by coffee lovers so they could make coffee in single servings instead of an entire pot. The K-Pod was introduced in 1998 to brew a perfect cup of coffee in less than a minute. An advantage to the Keurig was that if it was connected to a water line, you didn’t even need to refill it with water. The water temperature is 200 to allow the coffee to release the best flavor. These advantages make it the perfect machine for anyone who wants an individual beverage. With coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot cider, and specialty beverages, K-cups are great for any occasion.

Some of the most popular K-Cup flavors as rated by faveable are listed below. Which ones are your favorites?

  • Green Mountain Kenyan AA K-Cups
  • Barista Prima Coffeehouse House Blend K-Cup
  • Eight O’Clock Coffee Colombian Peaks K-Cup
  • The Original Donut Shop (Regular) Medium Extra Bold K-Cups
  • Grove Square French Vanilla Cappuccino
  • Diedrich Coffee Dark French Roast K-Cups

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Keurig recently had some exciting news! They announced that recyclable pods are now available for your Keurig 2.0 brewer in over 50 beverages in three different pod sizes. By 2020, Keurig claims that 100% of K-Cup pods will be recyclable. Keurig dedicates itself to innovation in all that they do. In order to improve sustainability, the company will design a K-Cup pack with materials that can easily be separated and readily recycled. Keurig is working to ensure that the plastic will consistently make it through the recycling stream. This plastic will help to make the K-Cups fully recyclable! K-Cups have been very successful due to their convenience. In under a minute, you can be out the door, ready to make today great!

Let us know which K-Cup is your favorite!
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4 Ways to Celebrate Leap Day

Leap Day only comes once every four years so be sure to make this day count! Here are four ways to make this the best Leap Day yet.

1. Create a Time Capsule!

Create a time capsule that you cannot open for the next four years until the next Leap Day. Include items that remind you of the present including newspaper or magazine clippings, pictures, event ticket stubs, a list of everything you did to celebrate Leap Day, and anything else that would be fun to see in four years. In addition to making a time capsule, make a list of all the things you want to accomplish in the next four years before the next leap year. You can put a copy of this list in your time capsule so you can see how much you accomplished over the years. By creating a time capsule, you are able to capture the moment and excitement of the uniqueness of Leap Day!

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2. Get Moving and Leap for Leap Day!

Leap Day is a great day to get moving. One fun way is to take a dance class or go out dancing with friends. You can also sign up for a Leap Day 5k or 10k. Being active has so many health benefits and there are ways that it can be very fun. Take advantage of the fact that Leap Day only comes once every four years and make this day count to be the start of an active lifestyle. Leap for joy!

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3. Leap into a New Activity

Do you ever feel like you need an excuse to try something new? If so, let Leap Day be your excuse to do something spontaneous. Organize a game day with friends to play your favorite games or host a “Leap Day” movie party. Take advantage of this extra day to cross something off your bucket list, try a new activity, or do something exciting and out of the ordinary.

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4. Celebrate Leap Day Birthdays!

If you have any friends or family members with a Leap Day birthday, celebrate their birthday with their Leap Day age. For example, you can celebrate an adult’s birthday by going to Skyzone, playing laser tag, or roller skating. This is a fun way to break out of the norm and add some laughter into the day. Laughter is one of the best ways to reduce stress, so make this an exciting and fun day.

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Let us know how you are celebrating Leap Day!

Healthy Vending Trends

Many food trends come and go, but one thing that has stayed consistent is that people like healthy foods. Vending machines are continuing to offer healthier options in order to meet consumer demand. Vending Market Watch said, “More than a quarter of Americans (30%) claim to usually only snack on healthy foods and almost half (45%) of those consumers claim that nutritional value is the most important factor in the foods they eat.” Consumers prefer having healthier choices so those vending machines that offer better snacks are more likely to succeed.

Vending machines have come a long way over the years. In the past vending machines were often thought of for only selling candy, soda, snacks, and other indulgent foods. Today, society is so fast paced that people are always looking for a quick and healthy snack, so vending machines are offering healthier options. Consumers should take a few minutes to look at the vending machine to make the healthiest choices.

Schools are especially trying to offer healthier products in order to offer nutritious options for students. Some vending machines are refrigerated to sell sandwiches, quick meals, fruit, and vegetables. Other healthier vending options include nuts and popcorn. Although there are healthier options available today, there are still many indulgent options that are high in fat, sugar, salt, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. When looking to make a purchase, find items that are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, or other nutritional benefits.

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Companies can help employees make better snack choices at the vending machine by:

  • Putting signs or stickers by the healthier items to make them more noticeable
  • Subsidizing the cost of healthier products to encourage employees to purchase healthy items over unhealthy items
  • Having taste test events with employees to allow everyone to try the healthier options
  • Providing educational nutritional programs for employees about healthy snack choices
  • Working with the vending company to increase the number of healthy choices available

Cornell University researchers proved that junk food is not causing the obesity epidemic, but it is the fact that people are overeating. With this in mind, it is okay to indulge yourself to a treat once in a while as long as you do so in moderation. Vending companies will continue to add healthier options to their vending machines so be sure to choose products that meet your nutritional needs, but be sure to treat yourself once in a while.

Let us know what healthy products you would like to see in vending machines!

 

Are Your Vending Machines ADA Compliant?

 

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In July 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued new regulations that require ADA compliance for vending machines. These requirements aimed to make vending machines more accessible to people with disabilities, and the prominent industry track group, the National Automatic Merchandising Assoc. (NAMA), strongly supports the goals of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). What does this mean to you? Here are just a few things that you need to know:

  • New ADA guidelines went in effect March 15, 2012 and are applicable to:
    • Public entities such as state or local government and any of its departments, agencies or instrumentalities
    • Private entities that operate public accommodations such as retail, hotels, hospitals, recreational facilities and schools
    • Safe harbor rules may apply; You do not have to replace existing vending machines with new ADA compliant machines unless the location undergoes alterations or the vending machines are removed, re-installed and/or upgraded
  • Operating parts such as the coin/bill acceptor and product delivery box must be no higher than 48” and no less than 15” from the floor
  • One of each type of vending machine must comply (i.e., one beverage, one snack, etc.)
  • Courts may award monetary damages and impose penalties of up to $55,000 for a first violationADA Compliancy

Please consult legal counsel on how the ADA rules affect your facility or contact us if you have any further questions!

Snacking around the World

The variety of snacks you can get just by walking into your average grocery store can be pretty mesmerizing. You can get chips that come in a plethora of flavors; you can get pretzels (sweet or salty); you can get candy or chocolate bars; you can get cookies or crackers; you can get nuts or seeds, and the list really goes on endlessly. In the US, chips and cookies are the staple snack, but around the world, palates and flavors differ entirely.

We brought in some unusual snacks from around the world to the office and had everyone give them a try. Then we had everyone guess which country the snacks originated from. It was a blast seeing everyone’s amusement with the kinds of snacks we laid out. Here’s what went down.

We managed to get some of the snacks from local ethnic markets in Des Moines, but had to order the rest online because they were too difficult to find.

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First up, they tried some Dela Rosa, a sweet marzipan peanut candy from Mexico. They came individually packed in little round pieces, and it was a powdery consistency that pretty much broke once we opened the little wrappers. No one could guess where this was from, but we definitely weren’t expecting that level of sweetness from it.

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Next, everyone had a go at TimTams. I think these were the safest looking food on the table, and everyone just loved them. We even had people asking for seconds. This Australian chocolate cookie snack is a definite must-try :) They are available on Amazon in the US!

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These little burgers are the cutest thing you’ll ever eat, AND they are delicious! At first, they seemed a little curious, but when everyone had one, we were very much immediate fans of Every Burger! This Japanese snack is actually a rich chocolate sandwiched between mini wheat cookies. Who else would come up with little chocolate burger snacks, other than the Japanese :)

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Dried cuttlefish is actually a pretty typical Asian snack, especially in China. It is very much just plain dried cuttlefish, and it has quite a sweet tang. Unfortunately. it also packs in a heavy fishy smell that had everyone on their feet before trying a tiny piece of this. As it turns out, most Americans probably will have a hard time overcoming that smell long enough to enjoy this interesting snack, although there were one or two people at the office who actually enjoyed this one!

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These squid-flavored peanuts are common on Korea (although this packet is from Japan). They seemed a little peculiar at first, but everyone seemed to enjoy them. In fact, they were really addictive and the bag was gone before we could get proper pictures of the little squid-peanut balls :)

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Next on the menu, Muruku from India! This was the easiest to guess which country it came from, and everyone got it right. It has a distinct spice and curry taste and is a common savory, crunchy snack in India. Definitely a simple, but flavor-packed snack to try if you ever get the chance !

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This last snack is a fun walk down memory lane for 90s kids in Malaysia and Singapore. No one got this guess right, but they were very much amused with its ramen-ness.

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That was a real fun activity to have in the office. What other interesting snacks have you tried from around the world? Let us know, and maybe we’ll try them in the next round :)

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