Chicago, Do You Know What the Secret Ingredient in Coffee Is?

Office Coffee Service in Chicago

Making great coffee while protecting the brewing equipment requires Chicago employees to constantly perform a balancing act. They must choose the best type of water to find the sweet spot between preventing damage to the brewing equipment and brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

Why is the type of water so important? A cup of coffee consists of 98 percent water. That means that the beans only represents two percent of the beverage. The quality or type of water can range anywhere from “hard” (full of minerals like magnesium) to “soft” (distilled water falls into this category).

To understand the impact of hard and soft water on brewing equipment, consider the following:  

  • many maintenance issues are caused by water because the water comes into contact with almost every part of the machine
  • for example, some compounds found in hard water are sticky and seek out specific compounds in the coffee grounds impeding the brewing process
  • the more minerals the water contains (or the harder the water), the more damaging the water can be to the brewing equipment
  • minerals cause scale buildup (or coat) the inner workings (pumps, boilers, and valves) of the brewing machine, causing corrosion, leaks, and ultimately, the destruction of the machine.

Office Coffee Service in Chicago

If too many minerals in hard water damage the brewing system, why not use soft or distilled water? The answer to this question is why balancing the water selection is so important. The right balance of minerals in the water improves the taste of a Chicago cup of coffee.

To understand how hard and soft water changes the taste, consider the following:

  • minerals found in water carry coffee’s body and aroma to the palate
  • a high mineral content contributes to a decrease in the quality
    • too much alkalinity in the water can cause a soapy taste or residue in the brewed coffee
    • water that is too hard can give a bitter or chalky taste
    • very little mineral content is also a problem at it causes strange extractions and off-flavors
  • soft water can create a bland cup of coffee   

If Chicago individuals are interested in monitoring the water that goes into their coffee, the following table from the Specialty Coffee Association’s Water for Brewing Standards lists the acceptable characteristics for the best brewing water.

Characteristic Target Acceptable Range
Odor 1 Clean/Fresh, Odor free n/a
Color 2 Clear color n/a
Total Chlorine 0 mg/L n/a
TDS 3 150 mg/L 75 – 250 mg/L
Calcium Hardness 4 grains or 68 mg/L 1-5 grains or 17 mg/L – 85 mg/L
Total Alkalinity 40 mg/L At or near 40 mg/L
pH 7.0 (neutral) 6.5 – 7.5
Sodium 10 mg/L At or near 10 mg/L

However, not everyone has the time or desire to check the mineral content and quality of their water. When that’s the case, there are several options to explore. The first is to reconsider your source for coffee beans. A local roaster will likely test their beans with local water increasing the likelihood that your Chicago employees will brew great tasting coffee. On the other hand, nationally recognized brands often use pure water, which can be found almost everywhere, to test their beans as they strive to create a consistent flavor nationwide. A second option is to use water that tastes good on its own. If water tastes and smells good and is clean straight from the tap, the end result will likely be tasty.

As a side note—avoid pure distilled or reverse osmosis water. While they are often recommended, they are too pure to brew coffee and will leave a lot of flavor behind. A better option is to consider installing a water filtration system in your office break room. Employees can relax knowing they don’t have to worry about the water quality, and Chicago employers will know the chemical makeup of the water running through their coffee brewers.

Whether your Chicago organization is looking for a new office coffee service or just wants to update the office break room, Mark Vend can help. We offer a wide variety of customizable vending solutions including micro-markets and healthy vending. To take the first step, call us at (847) 291-9216. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Office Coffee Service | Comments Off on Chicago, Do You Know What the Secret Ingredient in Coffee Is?

Micro-Market Snacks in Chicago Play Multiple Roles

Break Room Snacks in Chicago

The definition of a snack is expanding. It no longer refers only to a small amount of sweet or salty food eaten between meals. A healthy snack can also be a meal replacement that helps Chicago employees meet their daily caloric and hydration needs. All micro-market snacks, independent of their role, fall into one or more of the three primary snack needs: nourishment, optimization, and pleasure.

Role 1: Sweet or Salty Treat

I have some good news for you. Traditional sweet and salty snacks are not going anywhere. In 2017, the sale of chocolate-based treats produced over $1.8 billion in revenue, or 74.9 percent of the total sales for candy. On the salty side of the aisle, $2.9 billion in revenue came from the sale of chips. That’s 46.6 percent of sales in its category. While sweet and salty snacks are most often consumed as a reward or indulgence, many Chicago employees also use a trip to the office break room as an opportunity to enjoy new flavors and textures.

Certain snacks have always and will continue to play the role of a sweet or salty treat, but in 2018, many snacks have a new purpose.

Role 2: Healthy Meal Replacement

According to the NPD Group’s tracking of U.S. consumers’ snacking attitudes and behaviors, “snack foods eaten at main meals now represent 24 percent of all snack food eatings, which is up from 21 percent five years ago.”  Not only are Chicago employees looking for nourishment and optimization, a mental or physical energy boost, they have high expectations about the quality of product labels and the ingredients that they put in their bodies.

Break Room Snacks in Chicago

Accurate and clearly written product labels play an important part before snacks and beverages are even consumed. For 39 percent of U.S. consumers, inaccurate or confusing information on a product label will trigger a switch to a product that has clearer and more accurate product information. Additionally, 68 percent of the participants in a Nielson study said they would pay more for snacks, beverages, and prepared food items that weren’t made with “bad” ingredients. Fresh, organic, clean, and Fair Trade are just a few of the terms Chicago employees are looking for in the office break room.

A micro-market offers your Chicago employees a wide range of healthy fresh foods, sweet and salty snacks, and beverages that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Not only is it a place to grab a bite to eat, but it is also a relaxing environment to catch up with colleagues during the workday. To learn more about updating your micro-market selections or learn more about other vending solutions, contact Mark Vend at (847) 291-9216.  

Posted in Healthy Break Room Snacks | Comments Off on Micro-Market Snacks in Chicago Play Multiple Roles

Consider Updating Your Chicago Breakroom

Breakroom Options in Chicago

The workplace including the office breakroom is changing. After the pendulum swung from everyone working at the office to a dramatic jump in remote employees, the pendulum is settling somewhere in the middle. Chicago companies are bringing their employees back to the office in hopes of fostering face-to-face collaboration, inspiring innovation, and increasing productivity. And thankfully, it isn’t back into cubeville or the dark, sparsely-decorated breakroom hidden somewhere at the back of the building. Companies are redesigning their environments to be open, communal areas with spaces designed to promote spontaneous work-related conversations and increase morale.

One area that is no longer left as an afterthought is the office breakroom. To learn more about what your Chicago employees need and want, try surveying them. They know what they want. A recent Staples survey found that “83 percent of employees say that a well-stocked breakroom results in happier employees, while 53 percent say that a well-stocked breakroom results in more productive employees.”

In 2018, there are a wide variety of options available including pantry service, cafe-style coffee service, and the micro-market.

Micro-Market

  • open concept “mini” store using open shelving, glass-front coolers, and self-checkout technology
  • offers employees the option to read nutrition labels and make educated decisions about what to eat or drink
  • highlights the opportunity to make healthy choices by offering fresh and nutritious sandwiches, wraps, salads, snacks and beverages, fresh produce, and yogurt
  • includes a wide variety of choices which acknowledge that employees have distinct preferences and unique work schedules

Breakroom Options in Chicago

Cafe-Style Coffee Service

  • Creates a gourmet coffee-house experience without leaving the office
  • Includes a variety of teas and specially sourced coffee beans and locally roasted coffees creating a unique coffee experience
  • Uses different brewing systems including single-cup brewers, traditional brewers, and commercial brewers
  • Offers coffee-based alternatives including cold brew and nitro coffees

Pantry Service

  • pantry space in your break room with open shelving, bright glass-front coolers, and displays full of food, snack and beverage options
  • includes a wide variety of choices which acknowledges that employees have distinct preferences and unique work schedules
  • often includes a selection of breakfast foods, fresh and nutritious sandwiches, wraps, salads, fresh produce, and yogurt as well as healthy and traditional snacks and beverages
  • employers cover the full cost of this benefit allowing employees to focus on other financial responsibilities

Which options will your employees prefer? Think of Mark Vend as a partner that can help with your Chicago vending needs through the services that we offer. To learn more about pantry service, cafe-style coffee service, or the micro-market, contact us at (847) 291-9216. We look forward to collaborating with you.

Posted in Office Break Room | Comments Off on Consider Updating Your Chicago Breakroom

Chicago Consumers Prefer Bottled Water

Bottled Water in Chicago Breakrooms

For the first time in history, bottled water is the No.1 packaged beverage in the United States (by volume). People are shifting away from less healthy packaged drinks and choosing the healthy option—bottled water.

– Jill Culora, International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Vice President of Communications

According to a recent study by the IBWA, more than 63 percent of Americans choose bottled water as their beverage of choice. And 94 percent of Americans believe that bottled water is healthier than soft drinks. But what exactly does the phrase ‘bottled water’ mean? The definition is more complex than it might initially seem.

Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bottled water is a consumer food product; which means that strict standards of identity must be followed in order to legally call a bottle filled with water ‘bottled water’. The FDA requires that the “type” of water must be clearly printed on the label of all bottled water sold in the United States. To understand the FDA’s classifications, it is important to know the following terms.

Spring Water: “Derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface, this water must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole that taps the underground formation feeding the spring. If some external force is used to collect the water through a borehole, the water must have the same composition and quality as the water that naturally flows to the surface.”

Bottled Water in Chicago Breakrooms

Purified Water: “Bottled water that has been treated by distillation, reverse osmosis, or another suitable process may meet standards that allow it to be labeled as “purified water.””

Mineral Water: “This water comes from an underground source and contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids. Minerals and trace elements must come from the source of the underground water. They cannot be added later.”

Artesian Water/Artesian Well Water: “This water is collected from a well that taps an aquifer—layers of porous rock, sand, and earth that contain water—which is under pressure from surrounding upper layers of rock or clay. When tapped, the pressure in the aquifer, commonly called artesian pressure, pushes the water above the level of the aquifer, sometimes to the surface. Other means may be used to help bring the water to the surface.”

Well Water: “This is water from a hole bored or drilled into the ground, which taps into an aquifer.”

Understanding the different water sources and methods of extraction will help Chicago employees answer questions about the taste, quality, and safety of a specific type of water. This is especially important as 82 percent of Americans think they should drink more water and 90 percent believe that bottled water is a healthy and convenient beverage.

To help your Chicago employees stay hydrated and healthy, make sure to include bottled water in your office breakroom vending machine. Try offering healthy snacks with healthy beverages at a reduced cost. It not only keeps everyone hydrated and satiated, but it’s also a great moral booster. For more information about adding healthy vending machines to your Chicago breakroom, call Mark Vend at (847) 291-9216.  

Posted in Healthy Break Room Beverages | Comments Off on Chicago Consumers Prefer Bottled Water

Chicago, What Is Your Favorite Breakroom Snack?

Breakroom Snack Options in Chicago

Everyone has that one favorite “not-so-healthy” snack that they enjoy every now and then. While we’ve all heard that moderation is key, deciding whether to go healthy or not can be quite the dilemma. Often Chicago consumers want to eat healthy, but at the same time, they want to enjoy their favorite sweet or salty guilty pleasure.

Many of Chicago’s favorite sweet and salty snacks have been around for more than 30 years and include:

  • Confections (chocolate, candy, etc.): PEZ (1950), Swedish Fish (late 1950s), Nerds (1983), anything made with chocolate
  • Salty: sunflower seeds, Cheese Balls (1980s), Combos (mid 1970s), Goldfish, Doritos (1974), Pringles (1975), chips, crackers
  • Cookies and Snack Cakes: Famous Amos cookies (1975), animal crackers (1902), rice krispies treats, Oatmeal Cream Pies (1960), Oreos, Pop-tarts (1964)
  • Other snacks: Dippin’ Dots (1987), Fruit Roll-ups (1991) or fruit snacks, granola bars, Milk ‘n’ Cereal Bars or breakfast bars (1990s – early 2000s)

If Chicago employees are looking, however, for something that’s a little healthier, there are a lot of healthy sweet and salty options available too. Healthier snack options include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, popcorn, squeezable yogurt tubes, yogurt smoothies, pre-packaged organic meal kits, salsa, and hummus. Many of these healthy snacks can also be combined to create a healthy mini-meal when there isn’t enough time for a sit down meal.

Breakroom Snack Options in ChicagoWhether your Chicago employees are craving something healthy or “not-so-healthy,” many of these snacks can be found all day in the office breakroom micro-market or vending machine. Providing an easily accessible, onsite location where all types of snacks and beverages including office coffee service are available is just one benefit that lets your employees know they are valuable. Another benefit is to offer everything at a reduced or zero cost. Not only will employees welcome onsite snack and beverage options, but they will also appreciate the cash left in their pocket.  

Don’t forget to offer refreshing beverages along with both healthy and not-so-healthy snacks. It’s important to keep your employees hydrated as well as satiated. To learn more about the many different types of breakroom snack and beverage options in Chicago, call Mark Vend at (847) 291-9216.

Posted in Healthy Break Room Snacks | Comments Off on Chicago, What Is Your Favorite Breakroom Snack?

Quick and Healthy Snacks in Your Chicago Vending Machine

Healthy Vending Machine Options in Chicago

Are you looking for something to eat that is quick and healthy, and can be found in your Chicago break room vending machine? Whether it’s a quick breakfast, fuel for a lunchtime workout, an afternoon snack, or a sweet treat, a KIND® bar can meet each one of those needs. Each bar is made from nutritionally-dense ingredients and contains no secret ingredients, artificial flavors, preservative or sweeteners. You’ll find nuts, real fruit, chocolate, spicy and savory flavors, and five super grains including oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, and quinoa.

And soon, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite KIND® bar with others when you travel around the globe. In a new partnership with Mars, Incorporated, KIND will be able to expand their product offerings and business into international markets while continuing to make healthy and tasty foods available and create a kinder world through meaningful social impact initiatives.  

Daniel Lubetzky, Founder and CEO of KIND, explained it best when he said, “we’re looking forward to continuing on this journey as we empower more people to make healthy eating decisions across the globe. We remain fully committed to our guiding principles, including our commitment to always use a nutritious food as the first and predominant ingredient in every food product.”

Whether enjoying a vending machine snack in Chicago or around the world, it’s nice to know that KIND will continue to fulfill its KIND Promise. Employees can continue to count on

  • snacks made from real food, wholesome ingredients, and sound nutrition;
  • nuts, whole grains, or fruit as the first and predominant ingredient;
  • everyone and everything being treated with integrity and kindness;
  • transparency about everything from ingredients to labeling;
  • low amounts of added sugar and no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols;
  • and tasty and healthy snacks.

Healthy Vending Machine Options in Chicago

An additional way to offer encouragement and support to your Chicago employees in their quest to be healthy, is to provide a wide range of healthy snacks and beverages in the office break room vending machine. Fresh fruit, unsweetened tea, or bottled water are all great accompaniments to a KIND® bar. Help your employees a bit more by offering those snacks and beverages at a reduced cost or for free. That’s a win for everyone.

To learn more about adding healthy vending machine options to your office break room, call Mark Vend at (847) 291-9216. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Healthy Vending Machine Choices | Comments Off on Quick and Healthy Snacks in Your Chicago Vending Machine

Chicago Snacks and Beverages Go Trendy in 2018

Healthy Break Room Snack and Beverages in Chicago

2018 is predicted to bring new and unusual, but tasty, snacks and beverages to Chicago. According to Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association, “Macro trends like sustainability and health are converging in the 2018 [food] trends.” This combination will create food trends including more plant-based foods, upcycled edible products, and healthy alternative sweeteners.

Plant-Based Foods

Gone are the days when plant-based foods were only found in out of the way health food stores. Today, plant-based options are endless and can be found everywhere from the local grocery store to the office break room vending machine. Chicago consumers are likely to find a wide variety of plant-based options including dairy-free milk products such as cheese or yogurt; frozen desserts such as ice cream or whipped topping; and convenience foods such as crackers, cereals, cookies, bean chips, premade burritos, and protein bars. Below are a few of the plant ingredients found in healthy snacks and beverages that consumers will enjoy more of in 2018.

  • dairy-free alternatives: almonds, coconuts, cashews, soy, and rice
  • pulses: beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas
  • vegetables: beets, sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes, and corn    
  • ancient grains: quinoa, spelt, amaranth, kamut, and farro
  • protein-rich seeds: hemp, chia, and flax

Upcycled Edibles

Forty percent of the food produced in the United States is thrown away each year. That is equivalent to $165 billion of food. Upcycled dishes have already made appearances in home kitchens and restaurants. As Chicago consumers develop a better understanding of this problem, prepackaged upcycled products made from ingredients and scraps that would have otherwise been discarded, will increase in availability. Several snacks and beverages that are already available include

  • pressed juice made from imperfect fruit
  • chips made from fruit pulp
  • snack bars made from spent grain from the beer making process
  • condiments including chutney and chilis made from ugly produce
  • hot-on-the-go oatmeal made with the coffee fruit

Healthy Break Room Snack and Beverages in Chicago

Alternative Sweeteners

Sugar. Many Chicago consumers have a love-hate relationship with it. It’s tasty, but too much of it can cause health issues. To be able to enjoy something sweet and be mindful of their health, consumers are looking for natural, alternative sweeteners that have a lower glycemic impact, fewer added sugar calories, and a sustainable footprint. The following are a few lesser known fruits that make deliciously sweet syrups and can be found in a variety of snacks and beverages.

  • dates: the fruit of the date palm tree that becomes a thick molasses-like syrup with a rich, sweet flavor
  • monk fruit: a fruit native to southern China and northern Thailand that has a flavor similar to traditional sugar
  • agave: a cactus plant from Mexico and the Southwestern United States that has a flavor similar but milder than honey
  • lucuma: a Peruvian fruit with a maple-like taste
  • yacon: a South American tuber that tastes like an apple, but has a maple-like flavor when it is a syrup  

Have your Chicago employees started looking for snacks and beverages that are healthier or better for the planet? Whether they want a mix of traditional and healthy choices or just an afternoon coffee pick-me-up, Mark Vend can help. Call us at (847) 291-9216 for more information about vending machines, micro-markets, and a variety of other vending options.

Posted in Healthy Snack and Beverage Choices | Comments Off on Chicago Snacks and Beverages Go Trendy in 2018

Bottled Water: It’s Healthy for You and Chicago

Bottled Water in Chicago

The relationship between the bottled water industry and Chicago consumers has had its ups and downs. But recent news from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is good news for everyone. A recent study found that bottled water now has the lowest water footprint of all packaged drinks, using a total of 1.32 liters of water, including the 1 liter of consumable water, to produce a 1-liter bottle product.

Environmental Impact

To decrease the amount of water used, the amount of energy spent, and the amount of plastic materials needed for the production of bottled water, the bottled water industry has developed new and innovative ways to decrease the number of resources spent. According to the IBWA, some of the changes include:

  • “Auditing total water use at bottled water facilities,
  • Reducing groundwater extraction through improved water processing and bottling processes,
  • Looking for leaks in all of their piping and tanks,
  • Planting drought-resistant vegetation at bottling facilities,
  • Reminding employees to be good stewards of the environment and encouraging water conservation,
  • Implementing water use restrictions at their facilities,
  • Implementing ultra-efficient cleaning methods inside plants to reduce water usage when cleaning reusable 3- and 5-gallon bottles for water coolers used in homes and offices,
  • Reducing the use of cleaners when sterilizing water pipes, storage tanks, and finished products,
  • Managing water withdrawals in a manner that ensures the long-term viability of the watershed, [and]
  • Using hydro-geological evaluations on springs to assess any potential impact on local groundwater levels and stream flows.”

The result is an industry that uses fewer natural resources, creates less waste, and produces one of America’s most purchased packaged drinks. As Jill Culora, IBWA’s vice president of communications, said, “consumers who are drinking bottled water instead of other packaged drinks are making a healthy choice—and also reducing the impact on the environment.”

Bottled Water in Chicago

Health Benefits

Water offers multiple health benefits to those in Chicago who drink it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, water helps to regulate body temperature, lubricate and cushion joints, and protect the spinal cord. Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, the director of nutrition at WebMD, writes that water keeps our body hydrated which helps all of its systems to function properly, decreases muscle fatigue which can contribute to poor performance, and helps skin to stay hydrated and healthy.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t drink nearly enough water to make up for the water that we lose every day, which can lead to dehydration. Side effects of dehydration include lack of energy and fatigue. To combat dehydration, the Mayo Clinic recommends that men drink about 13 cups or 3 liters of beverages per day, and women drink about 9 cups or 2.2 liters per day. Additionally, researchers at the University of Illinois determined that the more water a person drank, the fewer overall calories that person consumed. For most individuals, a decrease in calories, even by a small amount, can positively impact long-term health.  

Do your Chicago employees enjoy water as a pick-me-up during the day? If so, be sure to include bottled water in the office break room vending machine. For the ultimate employee bonus, consider covering part or all of the cost of healthy vending machine snacks and beverages.

For more information about customizing your current vending machine options, or adding new healthy vending machines to your office break room, contact Mark Vend at (847) 291-9216.

Posted in Healthy Break Room Beverages | Comments Off on Bottled Water: It’s Healthy for You and Chicago

Chicago’s Evolving Office Coffee Service

Office Coffee Service in Chicago

Have you ever considered what the workday would be like without coffee service? No? Well, neither have I. And Chicago employers don’t want to see that happen either.

According to a recent report by Emily Refermat, Editor at Automatic Merchandiser, “employers are taking it [coffee] to the next level, spending money to bring in quality coffee, beverages and other refreshment. Due to an increasing number of options, including single-cup brewers, OCS [Office Coffee Service] providers are able to create a solution tailored to their customers wants, size and budget, while still keeping good margins.”

There is, however, one important factor to consider when determining the best possible solution—don’t treat coffee like it is a commodity.  

Beans

A coffee bean is actually a seed from the coffee tree. The two types of coffee species that are used for coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica represents 70 percent of the world’s coffee and Robusta represents the other 30 percent. Of the two types, Arabica is the more expensive one and is used in specialty coffees. Arabica grows at higher altitudes on steeper terrain at cooler temperatures and is more disease-prone. Robusta is primarily used in coffee blends and instant coffee. A hardier tree, the Robusta is more resistant to diseases, can withstand warmer temperatures and is grown at lower and more accessible altitudes.  

For Chicago’s office coffee service, there are several different types of suppliers:

  • locally roasted coffee: the brand is known to local consumers; 31.1 percent of OCS sales
  • national coffee brands – value: the beans are sourced from different locations, and are mixed, processed, roasted, and ground on a large scale; 28.3 percent of OCS sales
  • national coffee brands – specialty: the beans are from a single location, grown to produce a higher quality bean, and roasted on a smaller scale; 21 percent of OCS sales
  • espresso coffee – a concentrated form of coffee made by forcing pressurized, hot water through very finely ground coffee beans; 8.9 percent of OCS sales

Office Coffee Service in Chicago

Packaging & Brewers

Options for packaging and brewing can be just as varied as the different types of coffee. In an office coffee service, coffee is packaged using several different methods: frac pack (enclosed filters filled with pre-measured amounts of coffee), whole bean, single cup (non k-cup), and k-cup. While the packaging can dictate the type of brewer required—single-cup packaging requires a single-cup machine, for example—often the two are separate decisions.

Today, pour-over coffee brewers and automatic brewers continue to play an important role in many Chicago break rooms. Single-cup brewers, however, are slowly finding their own place. Emily Refermat wrote that “consumers love the idea of brewing coffee one cup at a time. Whether it is the novelty, the ability to brew a personal hot beverage choice, create an espresso-based drink conveniently at work or the newest, must-have OCS innovation, single-cup attracts consumers, despite the fact that it costs more per cup.”

An alternative to the single-cup brewer, and a potentially a less expensive option, is the bean-to-cup brewer. When a Chicago employee orders a drink, the appropriate amount of whole beans is dropped into the grinder, ground, and brewed to the drink’s specifications. It’s a gourmet coffee shop and single-cup brewer all rolled into one.

Offering coffee service in your office break room is a great benefit for future and current employees, but don’t forget about other popular Chicago employee benefits. Micro-markets, cashless pantry, water filtration services or healthy vending machine choices are popular additions. For more information about adding or updating any of these options, call Mark Vend at (847) 291-9216. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Office Coffee Service | Comments Off on Chicago’s Evolving Office Coffee Service

New Food and Beverage Choices Fill Millennials’ Shopping Carts in Chicago

Healthy Food and Beverage Options in Chicago

Which food and beverage choices did you purchase the last time you needed something to eat or drink? Was it a green tea or maybe a breakfast smoothie? If so, you might be one of the many Chicago residents who have recently posted online about your experience.

According to a recently released study by CBD Marketing, Millennials, or those between the ages of 18 and 35, have played a key role in changing “long-standing truths” within food and beverage categories. The research analyzed 10.8 million social media posts and other online content specific to food (8.6 million) and beverage (2.2 million) product groups. Frequently used hashtags for food included #healthy, #organic, #naturalfood, and #healthyfood), while #greentea, #healthy, #coffee, and #tea were seen most frequently for beverages.

Even though Millennials are tech savvy and share their thoughts and buying habits frequently and openly, it would be a mistake to treat all Millennials as one group. Millennials consist of three overlapping subgroups whose differences can greatly impact their preferences. Some are college students or living at home, others are out of college and just entering the workforce, and others are buying homes and starting families.

And don’t forget to consider other Chicago demographics when monitoring social media insights. For example, women created 62 percent of the content while men created only 38 percent. The study also found that “Millennial men and women use very different descriptors when talking online, so it’s important to use language that reflects your target audience.” The top terms used more frequently and often by women include love, amazing, good, best, favorite, enjoy, and delicious) while men used good, love, great, enjoy. Men also seemed to express negative options more frequently.

Healthy Food and Beverage Options in Chicago

CBD Marketing’s Co-CEO Lori Colman said it best when she said that “businesses and brands that mine this treasure trove of online data will be the ones that market their products successfully.” In order to learn about your Chicago employees’ food and beverage preferences for the office break room consider the following criteria.

Beverage Preferences

  • Looking for green tea, kombucha and even traditional hot lemon teas
  • Want flavored, sparkling and plain water, “better-for-you” drinks promoting energy, immunity, digestive health
  • Enjoy plant-based milks and cold brew

Food Preferences

  • Like healthy, natural foods; support alternative food distribution via meal delivery and meal services
  • Buy from environmentally conscious manufacturers and purveyors; want transparency
  • Gravitate to cultural flavors and foods like Scandinavian and Indian

How many of these healthy food and beverage choices are available for your employees in the Chicago office break room? If you’d like to add more options or bring some variety to your current vending machine offerings, Mark Vend can help. Contact us at (847) 291-9216 to get started.

Posted in Healthy Snack and Beverage Choices | Comments Off on New Food and Beverage Choices Fill Millennials’ Shopping Carts in Chicago