The availability of healthy nutrition in the office is becoming a must-have in companies all around the world.
The best way to offer snacks 24/7? An automatic vending machine.
However, the time of dusty, boring boxes dispensing a readymade drink or snack in times of high need (aka when the canteen is closed) is over. Even the old types of “healthy” vending machines are making way for a new generation, the generation of the robot vending machine, which prepares your healthy snack live while you’re watching.
Vending 2.0, as we call it, is starting to play a significant role in workplace wellbeing and employee health & happiness. We are now talking vending robotics, personalized nutrition, IoT connection and contactless technology.
Robotic vending machines can offer a new kind of workplace experience. An experience that fits perfectly within the New Way of Working and can, therefore, play an important role in the war for talent.
At Alberts, we’re on top of what moves in the world of personalized nutrition and vending robots.
We’ve summarized how robotic vending can offer the kind of benefits that every Facility Manager should know about.
Here they are!
1. More variety in the healthy food offering at work
Fortunately, we see that all the noses are pointing in the same direction: employees want to eat healthier, employers see the benefits, and food service providers are continuously exploring new ways to meet the needs of both parties.
Now, there are good ways to run healthy workplace initiatives and then there are better ways.
The most common initiative of choice for employers in terms of healthy nutrition and healthy snacking almost always ends up being limited to… fresh fruit baskets. They’re meant to encourage people to eat more fruit, but the efforts are wasted on people who actually don’t need it. It’s the fruit lovers and health buffs who enjoy this healthy initiative. And I’m sure they are very happy with you for thinking of them, too! But the goal is, however, not reached.
Today’s workforce is expecting more. The new generation wants to try new things and they want access to those foods they crave in a specific moment. 24/7 fresh & healthy snacking is not just a trend. It’s a must-have for employees in the current work environment.
“A healthy workplace offers fresh, healthy snacks 24/7”
For 80% of Millennials, who currently account for about half of the workforce (growing to 75% in 2025), an employer is expected to offer healthy food at work. 65% of Millennials find it essential or important to have 24/7 access to vending services in the office. (Sodexo, Reimagining the Employee Experience)
So, why not combine both aspects, healthy food and vending services, and opt for a healthy vending machine that makes healthy snacking at work possible whenever you have a need for it?
We believe the key to make it all work is personalized nutrition. The Vending 2.0 generation goes from simply dispensing a shelf-stable food product overflowing with additives to plug’n play micro-factories placed inside your office building. Your food product is produced on the spot without the need for additives or preservatives while opening up the possibility to personalize your order on the fly.
“32% of Alberts Smoothies are already personalized”
In a world of mass production, consumers want to feel unique. In the case of our smoothie robots, we see that this trend is definitely catching on. 32% of employees are already taking advantage of the option to personalize their smoothies to fit their personal taste preferences and dietary needs.
2. Adopting a Holistic Approach to Safety, Health and Environment
We talk to Facility Managers, Catering Managers and HR Managers on a daily basis. We’ve noticed that the need for a holistic approach to Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) would mean a significant benefit in catering and one that can be found in vending.
All stakeholders want the same thing, but the key is to get everyone to work together. We also see this in the requirements for the WELL Building Standard: health and nutrition are crucial elements to be granted the certificate.
Fortunately, the intrinsic motivation is there. Companies want to stand out with their healthy food offering. For example, promoting the consumption of fruit and veggies at work and educating employees on the health benefits of maintaining a balanced diet can contribute to being granted a WELL Building certificate.
3. Including an extra dimension in catering with Vending+
New vending solutions are digital and connected. They can act as a stepping stone for all-round wellbeing programs at work.
We are currently putting our own ideas into practice. Our clients seem to really appreciate the opportunity to communicate about their wellbeing programs all year round through our devices.
Each of the Alberts Smoothie Stations has a touch screen that can become a communication channel for our clients connecting employers with their workforce. If an employer wants to communicate around a health initiative, they can do so through the screens of our Smoothie Stations.
We saw really good examples of this during the first peak of the corona crisis in Belgium. We were asked to install smoothie stations at two hospitals in Antwerp.
On one machine, we showed selfies and personal messages from Belgian citizens thanking the medical workers for all their efforts, motivating them to keep up the good work.
In the other hospital, the management created their own video with messages of thanks and support for the dedication of each of the healthcare heroes that gave their all to their patients during Covid-19.
But wait, there’s more!
Last but not least, Alberts is currently partnering up with European organizations for the Persfo project within EIT Food. The goal is to launch an app that will provide personalized nutrition recommendations. The app will keep in mind your personal needs, health goals and taste preferences.
The future of food is a world where everything is connected: receiving personalized advice on what to eat and having a food robot preparing it for you.
Hey, Siri, are you ready for that?!
The Alberts Smoothie Station is the perfect healthy snacking solution for your office. Try it out during the Smoothie Experience Days!