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The Master Guide to the Office Snack Station

Snack-station-guide

All your employees probably have at least one thing in common: They love healthy snacks.

A beloved workplace perk, healthy office snacks bring people together, provide sustainable energy, and make everyone smile. Growing evidence even suggests employees don’t just love healthy snacks; they also want their employers to provide them.

A ZeroCater survey revealed that 88% of surveyed employees said it was important for employers to provide snacks. Plus, a healthy chunk (38%) of respondents even said they rank free office food as a top company perk, sharing the spotlight with age-old standards such as paid vacation and professional development.

That’s not all. ZeroCater’s survey also found that:

  • 65% of employees crave access to healthy office snacks and not just any old junk food.
  • 53% of employees say office snacks help them stay healthy.
  • 35% of employees find a major cost benefit in company-provided snacks, saying provided snacks save them more than $20 a week on food costs.

Think snacking doesn’t matter to your team’s overall health and wellbeing?

Consider this – there’s nothing that impacts your overall health and wellbeing more than how you eat, and these days, how you eat is largely determined by our snack choices. Recent studies show that 94 percent of consumers snack at least twice daily (Mintel, 2016), and snacking accounts for 50 percent of all eating occurrences. (Hartman Group Study, 2017)

In short, healthy snacks are a win-win, and we’re here to help you deliver with the complete guide to creating a standout office snack station. These tips make it easy to add some creativity and flair to your presentation of healthy office snacks—the perk every modern employee wants.

Free bonus: Want to get an amazing office snack station that everyone raves about? Get a free box of healthy snacks, jam-packed with America’s most delicious snacks, delivered right to your office.

Designate a snack master

Fine restaurants employ sommeliers to select and procure delicious wines that compliment the establishment’s personality and cuisine. Gourmet grocers recruit cheesemongers to provide customers with unparalleled cheese options and knowledge. Follow this tradition of culinary excellence and designate a snack master to keep your snack station stocked with crowd-pleasing treats. Consider the snack master the steward of the snack station, the foodie force that beats down office hunger and promotes goodwill.

snack-master

The snack master’s responsibilities include:

  • Choosing snacks
  • Ordering snacks, including deciding quantities and establishing re-stock timelines
  • Maintaining the snack station
  • Spreading word about the snack station

To make your snack station a success:

  • Find someone who actually craves the snack master designation. Ask for volunteers instead of delegating the job to young staffers with the lightest workloads. In the role of snack master (and any other job for that matter), enthusiasm is the key to success. If multiple people are interested, then assemble a snack crew.
  • Give the snack master a budget and the ability to place orders, whether that involves providing a company credit card or a procurement code. The snack master needs these resources to dynamically purchase snacks and do the best job.
  • Make sure everyone knows who is snack master! Announce the position in your newsletter and create a pin or badge for the master to wear with honor. This lets everyone know who to thank for the expertly managed snack station.

 

Design a creative, on-brand display

Like your front desk, conference rooms, and break areas, your snack station should put forward a “face” you want employees and clients alike to associate with your company. If you work at a famously efficient accounting firm, then your snack station should be tidy and organized, with snacks arranged in some logical order, perhaps alphabetized by snack name or grouped by dominant flavor profile. Creative offices can offer a snack station with some artistic flair, incorporating color-coordinated displays, snack sculptures, and more. 

How to:

  • Use baskets, jars, and crates to group snacks into artistic, organized displays.
  • Opt for stacked, tiered displays that make snacks easy to see and grab.
  • Save table and counter space by organizing snacks in clear, wall-mounted or magnetized bins.

 

Choose a strategic location

HUMAN Healthy Vending Franchise & Foods Distribution Platform

HUMAN Healthy Vending Franchise & Foods Distribution Platform

Back in the 1920s, a real estate tycoon came up with the simplest way to describe what matters in property value: location, location, location. If you want your snack station to be a success, then choose a location that puts your snacks in the direct daily paths of your “target audience.” And believe it or not, “the kitchen” isn’t always that place.

Here are some tips for pinpointing your best snack station location:

  • Consider your prime snackers. If you want clients to enjoy your snacks, then put your snack station in the most impressive conference room.
  • Picture how people walk through your office. If your flexible seating area gets more foot traffic than your closed-off kitchen, then put your snack station in the seating area.
  • Try to boost other initiatives. A snack station could make a welcomed, eye-catching addition to the hallways where you put that bulletin board people just refuse to notice.

 

Follow some snack station best practices

We encourage you to be as creative as possible when setting up your snack station, but we have found some best practices that will make your experience as smooth as possible.

  • Always use that gorgeous display you worked so hard to dream up. Leaving snacks in shipping boxes looks sloppy and creates chaos among hungry employees.
  • Choose individually packaged snacks to promote portion control and snacking equality.
  • Avoid emptying snacks into large communal bowls to stop the spread of germs.
  • Ask employees not to hoard snacks. The station is all about sharing, and you’ll provide plenty of snacks for everyone.

 

Create opportunities for engagement

Engage happy employees as they reach for free, healthy snacks. Add a gratitude board or other bulletin board around your snack station.

snack-station-location

As employees browse, snack, and chat, they’ll organically engage with these items. (Just think of how people automatically shuffle through the magazines and newspapers piled in the break room.)  Adding a few interesting elements around your snack station will turn it into a hub of both engagement and snacking.

 

Explore office food preferences

What’s the secret to creating a popular snack station? Providing snacks catered to your employees’ preferences! Encourage your snack master or snack crew to design a survey to find out what people want to eat. You can also figure out what snacks people love by creating an inventory tracking system (see below) and observing which snacks disappear the fastest and which snacks linger on the shelf. You can even add a jar near your snack station labeled “snack suggestions” to find out what people want.

Pro tips:

  • Keep the survey short and sweet or few people will respond.
  • Have some fun by asking employees to play food critic and “review” the snacks. The reviews will give you insight, and you can post them around the snack station to add some personality to your display.
  • Keep your snack purchasing system flexible. As you will soon find out, employee snack preferences can change with the seasons and even with the days of the week. (Some may refuse healthy cookies on Monday but love them on Friday!) Plus, one “trendy” snack might have a popular streak that lasts only a few weeks.

 

Create an easy inventory tracking system

Tracking and managing inventory is a necessary part of any peddler’s life. Luckily, you don’t need an intense tracking system to keep your snack station running efficiently.

  1. Decide how often you’ll order snacks. A monthly ordering schedule shouldn’t be too overwhelming, and it provides plenty of flexibility to swap out snacks and keep employee excitement levels high.
  2. Calculate the quantity of your first order. How many snacks do you think you’ll need for your snack station’s first month? We recommend planning for 2-3 snacks per employee, per day to be safe.
  3. Plan to make daily or weekly counts, depending on your schedule.

eat-healthy-snacks-at-work

For a daily count:

  • Visit the station the first thing in the morning and the last thing in the evening.
  • Count the snacks.
  • Record the overall quantities.
  • Record quantities of each specific snack.
  • During your end-of-day visit, restock the snacks accordingly.

A few days of this practice should reveal the average quantity of snacks your employees consume in a day and also the relative popularity of each specific snack.

For a weekly count, follow the same steps above, but do counts and restocking when you come in on Monday and right before you leave on Friday. Your numbers will be less granular, but they should still reveal patterns you can use to inform your ordering.

  1. Keep an eye on trends and update your ordering accordingly. For example, if you noticed all the protein bars flew off the shelves consistently during week 1 while the pretzels didn’t budge, then you may want to adjust quantities of each item if your budget allows.

 

Choose healthy options

We know what you’re thinking: Duh. Of course I’m going to choose healthy options. Unfortunately, many grocery store aisles brim with junk food masquerading as healthy food. We recommend reading labels carefully before you purchase anything.

Some go-to rules:

  • Choose snacks filled with brain-boosting nutrients, including protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
  • Favor snacks with ingredients you recognize. (If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it!)
  • Avoid sugar-dense candy and beverages. Go for low-glycemic options whenever possible to avoid energy crashes and weight gain.

If you have no idea where to start on your snack shopping, try SnackNation’s conveniently delivered snack boxes. Your custom box includes a rotating selection from our library of over 5,000 premium snacks. Get delicious bars, chips, jerky, granola, trail mix, dried fruit, and more. SnackNation provides optimal snack discovery, helping people find the brands they love.

 

Provide a variety of choices

Your office is likely filled with too many types of eaters to list: carnivores, vegans, keto dieters, high-protein lovers, organic-only eaters, and so much more. Please them all with plenty of variety. 

healthy-snack-options

A crowd-pleasing snack assortment should include at least one:

  • Vegan option
  • Gluten-free option
  • Organic, non-GMO option
  • High-protein option
  • Low-calorie option
  • Healthy indulgence

To satisfy different cravings, be sure to offer a variety of flavors as well.

 

Create a feedback loop

While your inventory system will reveal what your office snackers like, it’s always a good idea to request direct feedback. Create a monthly survey where people vote on their favorite snacks of the month (and explain why they like them), or just add a chalkboard or write & wipe board near the snack station where people can vote on their favorites while the flavors are top of mind.

 

Have a once-a-week snack swap

Include employees in the success of your snack station, and they will love it even more. Create a sign-up sheet where people can volunteer to contribute a special weekly “guest snack” to the snack station. Employees will love showing off their favorite homemade or store bought healthy snacks with the rest of the company. Plus, this practice will solidify the sense of community inspired by the snack station.

healthy-snack-choices

Pro tips:

  • Create a special display just for the weekly “guest snack.” Leave a space for the employees’ picture, and if their snack is homemade, a recipe.
  • Circulate healthy snack ideas to inspire employees to bring in feel-good options.
  • At the end of the month, give a “blue ribbon” award to the employee who brought the crowd-favorite snack.

 

Build onto your program

Your snack station makes the perfect foundation and location for other health and wellness initiatives you’ve been considering. Since employees will be flocking to the station to pick up healthy snacks, it’s the perfect place to start building a complete “wellness corner.”

Here are some ways you could add onto your snack station:

  • Host wellness giveaways. Carefully open one snack, empty (or eat) the contents, put a tchotchke or token inside, and reseal the package with strong glue. (Make sure it doesn’t look obvious; you can even add eco-friendly packing peanuts or similar materials to further disguise the winning bag. ) Email or post clues, such as “Find the snack with the most protein. Win a Fitbit if your package contains the golden barbell.”
  • Add a Bevi near your snack station. Bevi dispenses sparkling, flavored water that is sure to reduce soda intake in your office.
  • Promote local health and fitness events. Keep a running list of local 5Ks, yogathons, and other fitness events and display sign-up sheets on eye-catching clipboards near your snack station. (Someone will have to coordinate group enrollment, but the fun is so worth it.) Even if you send emails about these events, inbox fatigue might be keeping employees from paying attention. Plus, a tangible sign-up sheet reveals who’s already signed up and motivates more people to participate.

Find even more employee wellness program ideas.

What do you guys think of the snack station idea? Does your office have one? Do you wish it did? Let us know in the comments below!
Free bonus: Want to get an amazing office snack station that everyone raves about? Get a free box of healthy snacks, jam-packed with America’s most delicious snacks, delivered right to your office.

Amy Coplen

Marketing Queen at HUMAN Everywhere
A southern bell with a salty attitude, Amy moved to the big city to fulfill her dreams! As a social butterfly with a strong desire for success, Amy found internet marketing to be her one true calling in life. With a passion for personal development and a strong dedication to live her life with a positive mindset, she found HUMAN to be the perfect atmosphere to spread her wings and flourish.
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