How to keep your desk job from killing you slowly.

Staying healthy at work can be difficult, from morning sweets brought in by a co-worker to long hours sitting at your desk, all these can factor into your long term health without you realizing it. New research is finding out that a sedentary lifestyle can be as detrimental to our health as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. Here’s how your desk job is killing you slowly.

“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not ok.” Nilofer Merchant said at TED 2013. An increase in the amount of standing desks entering the workforce is a positive but more can be done. A recent study from Career Builder states that 41 percent of people have gained weight at their jobs and most of that can be attributed to unhealthy snacking.  It’s not just about our activity levels on and off the clock but our eating habits as well.

Below are a few statistics on how sitting can be slowing harming your health and how to make minor improvements throughout the work day.

Health, Work,

Why Being a WBE is Important

workplace-1245776_1920Established in 2002 and certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), National Vending supports the growth of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBE) within the communities we service. But what does it mean to be a WBE?

For National Vending, it means things like supporting entrepreneurial growth and assisting clients in meeting diversity requirements. Statistics show that companies who embrace diversity are more profitable than companies who don’t. MWBE procurement has a direct and positive impact where corporations do business, which builds brand loyalty.

Tier I and II

Companies with supplier diversity programs are also interested in Tier 1 and Tier II supplier classifications. A Tier I supplier has a direct relationship with its client. To qualify under Tier II, a company’s direct supplier, like National Vending, contracts with other MWBEs and reports that spend back to the company.

“The reason diversity works is that on almost every measure, greater racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse workplace teams function more effectively than more homogenous teams. Members from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives avoid “groupthink,” whereas non-diverse teams get mired in it. …In short, the business case for diversity is overwhelming.” [1]

Tax Incentives

The federal government provides tax breaks for companies that utilize minority and women-owned businesses as suppliers.  A second tax incentive reduces tax liability to companies that use minority and women-owned businesses that supply labor or services to a project funded with federal or state grants or loans. State tax incentives may be available as well. Find out more at https://goo.gl/zG8rNa.

Celebrate National Candy Day with These Fun Facts

Candy has become an everyday treat readily accessible everywhere from checkout lines at the grocery store to vending machines at work so we’ve got a few fun facts listed below that you can share with your friends on November 4 for #NationalCandyDay!

The first form of candy to make its way to America was rock candy. As one of the simplest types of candy, it was a luxury only the wealthy could afford. The first American vending machine was introduced in 1888 and dispensed Tutti Fruity Gum, but that wasn’t even the beginning of America’s love affair with candy.

Chocolate started in 1847 in Britain when Joseph Fry and his son mixed cocoa powder and sugar to make a candy bar. After the idea traveled across the ocean in 1875, Henry Nestle decided to add milk to the concoction, making the chocolate taste less bitter. From there Milton Hershey had his eyes on chocolate-making machines he found at the Chicago World’s Fair. After already making caramel, he couldn’t resist the opportunity and one year later, the world got the first chocolate bar from Hershey.

After that, chocolate bars took off as a special treat! Starting with the Clark bar in 1916, Oh Henry! Bar in 1920, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in 1922, and Baby Ruth and Milky Way in 1923. With more and more chocolate delights being added to the industry, it makes sense why the United States consumes roughly $18.27 billion dollars’ worth a year.

We’ve got even more fun candy facts listed below! Be sure to tell us your favorite candy by leaving a comment or reach out to us on our Twitter and Facebook.

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11 Fun Facts about Pumpkins for National Pumpkin Day

PumpkinDayWP02October is coming to a close and with it is National Pumpkin Day! But how much do we really know about these large gourds? We did the digging and came up with 11 fun facts about pumpkins that might surprise you!

  1. Pumpkins were considered a last resort food amongst the colonial settlers.
  2. They can be grown on every continent except Antarctica.
  3. The United States produces 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin each year, and 80 percent of the pumpkin crop is available in October.
  4. The largest pumpkin weighed in at 2,624 pounds and took home the Giant Pumpkin European Championship in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
  5. Every single part of a pumpkin is edible, even the stem.
  6. Morton, Illinois is the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world due to Libby’s pumpkin processing plant, owned by Nestle Food Company. Libby’s cans more than 85 percent of the world’s pumpkin each year.
  7. Each pumpkin has about 500 seeds, which can be roasted to eat.
  8. The largest pumpkin pie weighed in 3,699 pounds and was 20 feet in diameter.
  9. There are more than 45 different varieties of pumpkins.
  10. The oldest pumpkin seeds date back 8,000 to 10,000 years.
  11. According to the American Pie Council, pumpkin pie is America’s second favorite kind of pie. Nineteen percent report preferring apple pie compared to the 13 percent who picked pumpkin.

Vending Outside the Box

MicroMarkets

The world of vending is expanding beyond the typical machines found in your office break room. Self-checkout (also known as micro markets) is new on the scene and a great way for employers to provide vending solutions in a non-traditional format. Most often found at larger workplace locations, self-checkout markets are growing rapidly with no plans to stop.

The concept of a self-checkout market resembles a small convenience store without a cashier and allows patrons to select snacks, meals and drinks from a variety of racks and coolers. The patrons would then bring purchases to a self-checkout touch screen kiosk. This allows the consumer the convenience to pick up items and check nutrition labels before purchasing them.

These markets also allow for more customization when it comes to products and allow for promotional integration with employer health and wellness programs. In vending, fresh food selections are limited, but fresh is what sells in self-checkout markets. More than 25 percent of micro market sales are from fresh food, which allows for more healthy products to be added. Self-checkout customers were asked what they like most about the new market and a majority, 79.8 percent, like the variety.

It’s like having a convenience store in your own facility; each layout is customizable to the needs of your facility and food preferences. If your company is interested in expanding your vending options, let us know by giving us a call at (888)-795-8363.

Is Diet Soda the True Culprit When it Comes to Health Risks?

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The results are in and it looks like diet soda may not be as bad for you as researchers thought. Recent studies suggests there are more factors to consider when trying to link diet sodas to obesity, increased blood pressure and diabetes. Experts still worry about the chemicals present in diet soda and for some there isn’t even a question on whether or not diet soda is worth the risk. “Just get rid of it,” Keri Glassman, R.D.N advises. “It is filled with unhealthy chemicals, including artificial sweeteners, which actually make you crave more calories later.”

Some experts suggest taking a closer look at other bad habits to see if they play more of a role in decreased health than an occasional indulgence in a can of diet soda. Other bad habits might be to blame, if you are a smoker or live an inactive lifestyle, diet soda may not be the true offender.

“Consumers of diet soda who engage in other lifestyle behaviors associated with poor health outcomes are at a greater risk than those who balance their intake of diet soda with other healthful habits,” says Cara Harbstreet, of Street Smart Nutrition as Women’s Health notes. “The variables make it difficult to pinpoint whether diet soda consumption alone is the cause of negative health outcomes, or whether it’s the culmination of a number of factors…I lean towards the latter, since nothing in nutrition or health exists in a vacuum.”

For those looking to cut down on the amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners added to your drinks, consider switching to a seltzer or removing soda from your home but ordering it at a restaurant or bar.

“Choosing to drink (or eat) any one specific item is always a deeply personal choice,” Harbstreet says, “So I pose the question, which is the lesser of two evils?”

We want to hear from you! Do you think diet soda plays a key role in decreased health status? Or should consumers consider other bad habits before blaming diet soda?

Millennials Replacing Meals with Snacks

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Bakery and Snacks reported that a recent study conducted by Surveygoo found that 92% of American Millennials ages 18-35 eat wholesome, healthy snacks in place of a traditional meal at least one time a week. Approximately 50% of Millennials eat a snack in place of a meal four times a week and 26% do so about seven times a week. Millennials are turning toward snacks instead of meals because they are too either too busy for a sit-down meal or do not want to take the time to cook a full meal.

Many companies are targeting Millennials by offering health-conscious products in their portfolio. For example, PepsiCo has reduced sugar in some of its beverages. Millennials prefer whole grain ingredients such as whole grains, fruit, and nuts because they prefer clean, organic, and less-processed products. The overall definition of a snack is continuing to change from a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts to a wide array of different foods.

The food industry is driven by convenience. Manufacturers and restaurants are introducing items that satisfy a rapidly growing appetite for smaller meals that can be consumed on the run, even if this may not be the healthiest way to eat. Americans are eating fewer sweet snacks, but they are consuming healthier snacks such as yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, and protein shakes.

While chips and chocolate are still the most popular snacks, cheese has become the third most popular snack. According to Cheese Market News, 33% of people say they are eating healthier snacks this year compared to last and 60% of people want more healthy snacking options. This is especially true for Millennials who eat twice as many snacks as older generations, but Millennials focus on eating healthier snacks.

Snacks provide a great opportunity for food companies because they are often more expensive than traditional meal components. Snacks represent a large amount of shelf space in grocery stores. For example, for the cereal powerhouse, Kellogg, snacks have increased from 20% in 2000 to 50% today. Kellogg and other snack companies are developing more single-serve packages to offer more grab-and-go snack options for consumers.

According to vice president and general manager of Hillshire Snacking, Jeff Caswell, “Consumers are shifting away from this traditional snacking definition to include a more expanded variety of options to satisfy a more sophisticated food palate.” Millennials have a passion for food and love new flavors and unique food combinations. Millennials are pushing the snacking industry to create more fresh, healthy, and protein-packed snacks.

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Cheese Consumption Continues to Rise in America

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Milk consumption has been declining in the U.S. during the past few decades, but sales in cheese have been steadily increasing! With more drink options (juice, flavored waters, sodas, sport drinks, etc.), people have been consuming less milk, but cows are producing more milk than ever.

Bloomberg stated that over the past two years, Americans are eating cheese and butter at the highest rate since 2000. This sales surge is helping to make up for the decline in milk consumption. It is not clear what’s driving the increase in cheese consumption, but this one particular food may have something to do with it: pizza! According to CNBC, there are about 70,000 pizzerias in the U.S. contributing to a growing $45 billion industry. Although pizza is a popular meal, the U.S. cheese surplus is not a result of consumer habits.

BloomgergMarkets stated that Americans are eating 35 pounds of cheese each annually, which is twice the amount consumed in 1980. The dairy industry has more than a billion pounds of cheese worth $150 million in freezers because the global market for cheese is saturated. With increased milk production in other countries and a strong U.S. dollar, American dairymen are facing difficulties selling cheese even with higher consumption. 

Cheese is a staple for most households and consumption rates are likely to continue to increase. Be sure to let us know what your favorite kind of cheese is in the comments!

Virtual Reality: Changing the Future of Food and Drinks

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Virtual reality technology is quickly entering homes around the nation and will likely have an impact on the way we eat and drink in the future. A group of 30 people in Los Angeles are working on a project called Project Nourished to bring virtual reality into the world of food and drinks through “3D printed food.” Virtual reality meals involve putting on a headset to experience a gourmet meal.

Along with the headset, there is also an aromatic diffuser and bone conduction transducer. The aromatic diffuser blasts food aromas and the bone conduction transducer wraps around the back of your head to mimic the sounds and vibrations of chewing. Consumers may be in a virtual reality world where they perceive that they are consuming pizza and cake when in reality they are chewing on a piece of spinach.

According to Robert McGorrin, department of Oregon State’s Food Science and Technology department, “flavor is about 80% aroma and 20% taste.” Project Nourished is working on offering customers a state-of-the-art fine dining experience by including a downloadable 360 degree VR video of unique themes such as up in the sky with the stars or on the beach. Restaurants that want to create a complete experience around a meal, not just a plate of food may gravitate toward using virtual reality to incorporate all five senses!

Let us know if you want to try a virtual reality meal! What meal would you want to try with virtual reality glasses?

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A New Generation of Coffee Drinkers

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A new generation of coffee drinkers are shaping the coffee industry! According to market research firm, Packaged Facts, coffee sales are going strong. The research firm stated that in 2015, the U.S. market for packaged and ready-to-drink coffee sold at retail was estimated at $13.5 billion. By 2020, sales are predicted to be close to $18 billion in the U.S. Traditional coffee products such as ground coffee and instant coffee has been in the decline. Ground coffee is still the largest segment, but single-cup coffee is catching up quickly!

There are three segments that have lead to growth in the coffee industry:

  • Single cup coffee
  • Cappuccino/iced coffee
  • Ready-to-drink coffee

Many older and traditional consumers are still purchasing ground coffee in cans and some have moved toward specialty coffee. Millennials are drinking more specialty coffee than any other generation. In fact, this generation is drinking more coffee than other generations. Millennials are much less likely to drink coffee at breakfast, but they will drink it at lunch or dinner or in the afternoon or evening. According to the Specialty Coffee Chronicle, almost half of the population under 40 is more likely to consume coffee outside of the home. Coffee Talk stated that approximately 30% of coffee consumption for young coffee drinkers is away from home.

Younger coffee drinkers are more concerned with the entire coffee supply chain especially sustainability. The market share of gourmet coffee beverages (gourmet traditional coffee, espressos, iced or frozen drinks, etc.) have continued to increase especially among younger audiences. Older Millennials are the most likely age group to drink cappuccinos, mochas, espressos, gourmet coffee, caffè Americano, flat white, cold brew, and nitrogen infused coffee. The number of cups of coffee consumed in the U.S. decreased over the past year, but retail earnings have still increased as consumers spend more money on premium coffee products. Over the years consumers have shown that they are willing to pay more for a higher quality premium cup of coffee!