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.

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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

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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.

Accessible Vending Machines

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It is so easy to take things for granted, but for those with a disability, simple daily activities can be a challenge. University of Waikato law student, Jane Sankey-O’Dwyer, decided to create vending machines that were easy for people with disabilities to use. As a blind student, Jane struggled to get a drink out of a vending machine by herself.

She wanted to make sure that no one else had to struggle with simple activities such as getting a drink or snack from the vending machine just because they may have a disability. Jane received a $5,000 scholarship for the university’s Summer10 week Start-Up Program. Jane went blind at age 25 and realized how difficult daily activities become so she wanted to make a difference for others.

She is looking into software similar to Siri on the iphone since voice-activated vending machines would give blind people more access to vending machine.We love that Jane’s working toward making sure vending machines are accessible for more people!

 

8 Unique Vending Items around the World

People often think of vending machines to grab a quick snack or drink, but there are vending machines around the world that offer very unique items:

  • Live crabs – If you’re in China, you can grab a live crab from a vending machine. How crazy is in to get a live creature from a vending machine?
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  • Cooked pizza – Pizza machines in Europe and America are becoming more popular! In just 3 minutes, you can get a 9 inch fresh pizza from a pizza vending machine! How cool is that? A full meal on the go!
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  • Cupcakes – You can enjoy a sweet treat from a vending machine in New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas, or Atlanta. Sprinkles Cupcakes started this trend and it’s likely to lead to more baked goods in vending machines!
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  • French Fries – The Netherlands has a vending machine that dispenses fresh, hot french fries. Hotels offer fries to guests so they can grab a snack anytime of the day or night

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  • Shoes – You never know when you might need a new pair of shoes! The Onitsuka Tiger machine in Carnaby Street, London is offering shoes so you no longer have to worry if you break a sole!
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  • Legos – Germany train stations are offering Legos in a vending machines. This is a fun way to get toys on the go!
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  • Flowers – An automated kiosk in Raleigh, NC offers fresh-cut arrangements. This is the perfect way to grab some last minute flowers for a loved one. The flowers even come with a vase and card!
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  • Prescription Medications – MedBox has figured out how to dispense medication from a vending machine using security measures such as fingerprint samples. These machines are primarily used by pharmacies, assisted living facilities, doctors, and clinics to help manage sensitive drugs.

These are just a few of the many unique items offered in vending machines around the world. In the future, more items including alcohol are likely to be sold in vending machines. What’s the most unique item you’ve seen in a vending machine and what items would you want to purchase from a vending machine in the future?

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!

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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Making Better Choices at the Vending Machine

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From candy bars to fresh apple slices, the options we get at vending machines today are as diversified as ever before. With the increasing trends in health and wellness among individuals nowadays, vendors are beginning to place healthier snack options in their machines. An article in the Des Moines Register the other day caught our eye. It was an interview with Janette Batts, a registered dietitian and license dietitian nutritionist with UnityPoint Health – Des Moines as she shared her tips on how to make healthier choices at a vending machine. We absolutely loved her notes and what she had to say about a lot of our favorite snacks, so we decided to put together a short list of tips to making these healthier choices.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Look out for snacks that have already been labelled as the “Healthier Choice”
  2. Make use of vending machines that provide you with nutritional information of the snacks they carry
  3. Stay away from foods with high trans-fats, MSG and added sugar
  4. Learn the names for different forms of sugar such as fructose, molasses, malt, sucrose
  5. Ingredients that you can’t pronounce can usually be avoided
  6. Use a Food App to get educated on the foods you consume – like MyFitnessPal
  7. Candy bars are great but everything needs to be done in moderation
  8. If you like snacking frequently, then plan for lighter meals and then have wholesome snacks in between

Here are also Janette’s list of Best & Worse snacks from Vending Machines and some other ideas for snacks to pack from home:

Healthier Picks at a Vending Machine

Best Snacks from the Vending Machine:

  • Original Baked SunChips
  • Special K Cracker Chips
  • BelVita Breakfast Biscuits
  • Nabisco Toasted Wheat Thins
  • Water
  • Aquafina FlavorSplash
  • Lipton Diet Green Tea
  • 100% Fruit Juices

Unhealthier Picks at a vending machine

Worst Snacks from the Vending Machine:

  • Frito-Lay Corn Chips
  • Grandma’s cookies
  • Skittles
  • Orange Crush
  • Starbucks Frappaccino
  • Whole Chocolate Milk

Snacks from Home

Healthy Snack Alternatives to bring from Home

  • Popcorn
  • String Cheese
  • Hard-cooked Egg
  • Peanut Butter on Whole-grain Crackers
  • Raw/Dark Coca powder-dusted Almonds (1 oz or 24nuts)
  • Milk
  • Nonfat Yogurt
  • Vegetables with Hummus or Greek Yogurt
  • Fruit
  • Peanut Butter on Whole-grain Tortilla