The Future of Payment Methods at the Vending Machine

How do you think people pay for items at the vending machine in the future? The vending industry has continuously changed over the years including the ways you can pay for items at the vending machines. While cash has been the most common payment method at a machine over history, there are a variety of other payment methods at vending machines:

  • Google Wallet – This payment method allows you to send and receive money instantly to anyone in the U.S. using an email address or phone number. It’s free and easy to use because all you need is the Google Wallet app and you can send money from your debit card, bank account, or Wallet Balance. With Google Wallet, you can “Tap and Pay” at some vending machines and the machine with charge the amount to your Google Wallet account.
  • Apple Pay – Apple Pay is a simple and safe way to pay using your mobile device Through Apple Pay, you can use your cards with just a touch to purchase an item from the vending machine.
  • Credit card readers – Many vending machines allow you to pay with your credit card and debit card. This is handy for those days when you realize you don’t have any cash on you.
  • Pay Range – This simple mobile payment system allows you to “swipe” on your mobile device for an item when you are within arm’s length from the machine. The Pay Range App does not send any of your personal information to the vending machine so it is considered a very secure payment option.
  • Yoke – Yoke is a payment system that takes the mobile wallet one step further by offering complete control with real time inventory tracking, data collection, and mobile self-checkout.

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These are just a few of the many current payment options at vending machines, but there are many others. As we go into the near future, mobile payments will continue to become more popular. The world is continually becoming more digital and vending machines will stay up to date with this trend.

Let us know how you think you’ll be purchasing items at the vending machine in the future!

Snacks are Becoming the New Breakfast

What do you typically eat for breakfast? Today, almost 25% of people are snacking instead of eating a full meal for breakfast. This trend is especially popular for younger adults and those with children in the household. Consumers embrace snacking and people are now eating smaller, more frequent meals. This has changed people’s relationship with traditional breakfast foods.

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Today, people are turning to quick, grab-and-go breakfast snacks throughout the day. With little time in your day, it can be difficult to spend extra time in the morning to cook a full breakfast so breakfast snacks all you to get a quick meal to start the day.

Some popular breakfasts snacks include:

  • Yogurt and granola
  • Smoothies
  • Granola/protein bars
  • Muffins
  • Fruit
  • Leftovers from previous meals

Breakfast is no longer limited to a single meal in the morning, but people are eating breakfast foods throughout the day. Many restaurants such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell are fueling this trend by providing breakfast all day long. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so be sure to start your day off with a breakfast that will give you energy for the day!

What are some of your favorite breakfast foods?

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The Sweet History of Chocolate

Happy chocolate day! Today is the day you can express your love of this sweet treat. America’s favorite flavor is chocolate. Whether it is chocolate candy, ice cream, desserts, or snacks, it’s the perfect day to indulge in this sweet treat.

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In order to celebrate a day dedicated to the sweet treat, it’s fun to look back on its history. Chocolate originated from Latin America. The Olmec are considered to be the first people to use chocolate around 1000 BC, but it is unknown how or if the Olmec actually used chocolate. From about 250 to 900 AD, the Mayans used chocolate quite a bit. Cacao beans were used as a currency and in religious rituals. The rich prepared chocolate as a beverage every once in a while but chocolate was not consumed very often.

The Aztecs kept the chocolate tradition alive by drinking chocolate from 1200 to 1500. In 1519, Cortez and others discovered cacao, but they despised it since it was bitter without sugar, so they continued using it as currency. The Spaniards had kept chocolate to themselves for a while, as it was considered a health food and a medicine. Doctors believed that it could cure fevers, cool the body, improve digestion, and reduce pain and the church said that it was a nutritional supplement while fasting.

It wasn’t long before chocolate made its way to Europe and demand quickly increased. Slaves worked on cacao plantations to help meet this demand. As more chocolate was produced, chocolate prices decreased and more people had access to it. In 1850, Joseph Fry added more cacao butter to cacao powder and sugar to create the first solid chocolate. In 1875, Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle added condensed milk to solid chocolate to create a milk chocolate bar. This was just the beginning of the chocolate craze that would spread across the world. The chocolate industry is over $35 billion dollars today!

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Chocolate comes from the cacao bean from cacao trees in tropical rain forests, so it is technically a vegetable! In fact, the cacao bean is one of the most powerful superfoods in the world. Cacao beans are packed with antioxidants, magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, fiber, omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamin C. These antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Chocolate stimulates endorphin production which gives a feeling of pleasure. It contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant, and theobromine/caffeine which act as stimulants.

Here are some ideas to add more chocolate into your day:

  • Breakfast – chocolate chip pancakes, glazed chocolate donuts, chocolate cereal, chocolate muffins, chocolate covered bacon or chocolate crepes
  • Lunch or Dinner – grilled chocolate sandwich (bread, chocolate chips, and  banana), chocolate chicken, or chocolate soup
  • Snacks – chocolate covered fruit, chocolate covered nuts, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate chip bread, or chocolate dipped potato chips
  • Dessert/Treats – cake, cupcakes, cookies, or candy bars
  • Drinks – chocolate milk, hot chocolate, chocolate liquor, or chocolate shakes

Enjoy chocolate day and let us know how you’re celebrating the day!

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Photographing Your Food

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Did you know that posting your food on Instagram is scientifically proven to have benefits? According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, there are benefits that come with taking pictures of the food we eat. By taking a picture of your food it forces you to have to wait before eating and this gives you delayed gratification, making you feel that the food actually tastes better. This is the case for indulgent or fancier meals, but not necessarily the case for simple meals such as cereal or toast. Food photographs can also increase excitement for a meal by sharing it with your friends and family.

People tend to take pictures of their food for a variety of reasons but some common reasons include:

  • To remember a special event
  • To share a meal you are proud  that you made yourself  (Most common reason)
  • To share a meal to show that someone important made for you
  • It’s a special treat or unique meal
  • It looks beautiful or like art
  • To show that you are eating healthy meals

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According to a web psychologist, Digital Blonde, the most common food dishes to be posted are: art dish, steak, and Christmas dinner. In terms of treats, the most common desserts that people post are cake, chocolate pudding, and fruit dessert. Some people don’t just consider the finished product on a plate of the people eating it, but also the ingredients used to make the product.

Some popular food photography include:

  • The lonely food item – Bloggers have embraced melancholic food by taking a picture of a single food item against a plain background with soft window light.
  • The Flash – Some people use flash in food photography to add color to the image. This trend is often used in advertisements and commercials. When using flash for food photography, it’s important to use caution to ensure that the images show the real qualities of the food.
  • #struggleplate – This is a funny food trend that has become popular over the past year to show food failures, but if this is a trend you
  • #foodporn – This is a popular hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to share delicious food and meals. This has been included in advertisements, cooking shows, blogs, and all over social media.

The trend of taking pictures of food is especially important for restaurant owners. People are taking photographs of their food before they even eat the meal. If the meal is displayed attractively, the consumer is more likely to snap a picture and share it with their friends. The challenge is to create savory dishes and meals that have the greatest create discussions and food photography.

Let us know in the comments if you ever take pictures of your food. If so, what types of food do you tend to take pictures of and do you share the pictures with your friends?

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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