All Posts By

Karla Borland

How US Employers Successfully Provide Access to Healthier Food Choices

One of the big challenges companies face today is how to provide their staff with access to healthy food choices in a way which is integrated and sustainable within their everyday working lives. Encouraging employees to make healthier food options can assist in the reduction of their health risk factors whilst also having a positive impact on their overall productivity and engagement.

The challenges that Australian companies face today in providing staff with access to healthy food options include:

  • Longer and more flexible working hours
  • Expansion to outer suburbs due to scarcity in land and rising rents where there are limited food options
  • A stagnant vending industry providing limited healthy food options
  • Significant costs of providing in-house cafeterias which are also limited by its hours of operation

Companies in the US such as Amazon, IBM, Unilever, Target, DHL, Amex and Nestle have solved these challenges and have, for some years now, been using micro markets as a key strategy to provide their staff with onsite convenient access to healthier food options.

What is a micro market?

Micro markets are an unmanned food establishment, also known as a self-service food market. It is an open market that provides packaged foods, drinks, whole fruit and fresh food using a fully automated payment system.

In a micro market, the consumer picks a product from an open rack display, or reach-in refrigerator, and scans the item at a self-checkout kiosk. The markets are operated within a monitored framework, supported by surveillance cameras.

Micro markets are not accessible to the general public and are typically found in workplaces with secure access.

Quick and easy to operate self-serve checkout for speed and convenience
Reach-in coolers providing fresh food and drinks
Open shelving providing snacks, fruits, ready to go options and breakfast options
The markets are operated within a monitored framework including surveillance cameras
Micro markets are designed to be turnkey, modular solutions. You decide how many snack, food and drink sections you have

A proven success in the United States

Today, micro markets are the fastest growing segment of the US foodservice channel, largely driven by companies as a means to deliver convenient and healthier food solutions to their employees.

In 2012, there were about 2,642 micro markets installed across workplaces in the United States. In 2017, this number increased to almost 24,000 markets. Research firm, Bachtelle & Associates project by 2022 that the number of micro markets will reach 35,000.

The success in the US, has seen the recent expansion of the micro market concept to other international locations with companies in the UK, Italy and Canada now providing the solution to their employees. Germany and France will begin in 1H2019. Asia has been slower to adopt the concept, with Australia now the first Asia Pacific country to introduce micro markets to the workplace.

How can micro markets help improve employee health?

The key benefit of a micro market is the unrivalled convenience of being onsite and available 24/7. This caters more to today’s flexible and time poor working environments and solves that undisputed challenge of employees balancing healthiness and convenience.

The solution allows for a large variety of healthy products without the restrictions of typical vending machines. Products which cover breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the snacking in between. It allows for the provision of fresh food options such as fruit, salads, wraps, ready to go meals and cold pressed juices. Importantly, it can provide a range of products that allow for an employee to eat a balanced diet throughout the day.

Why Australian employees are ready for micro markets?

We believe there are four key reasons Australian employees are ready to adopt the micro market concept at their places of work:

  1. With Australia’s high obesity rate, Australians are becoming more informed about their health and want to make healthier eating choices;
  2. The majority of Australian employees believe it is important for their employer to have a wellness program in place;
  3. Australians are spending $2.6 billion each year on food and drink delivery according to new research from comparison site finder.com.au. With stories of workers getting their coffees delivered by Uber Eats, it’s clear we are a time-poor nation obsessed with convenience;
  4. Whilst Australia was initially slow to adopt the self-service revolution, it is now well and truly embedded in our everyday lives.

For more information on micro markets in Australia and how they can benefit your workplace, visit www.morsl.com.au

Chart Source: 1 “State of The Industry”, Automatic Merchandiser, Emily Refermat, June/July 2018

Why Traditional Vending Machines No Longer Suit Today’s Workplace

Traditional vending machines have long been a way companies have provided their employees with convenient and fast access to snacks and drinks.

Whilst the typical snacks of salty chips and high sugar chocolates often satisfy people’s 3pm cravings, their regular consumption are linked to weight gain and the development of chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes.

According to Diabetes Australia, 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes, with more than 100,000 Australians having developed diabetes in the past year. Given this, a healthier eating lifestyle is absolutely necessary in today’s place of work.

Vending in Australia

Over recent years, employers have been demanding their existing vending operators introduce healthier options in their machines. Various government initiatives, including Get Healthy At Work NSW have released guidelines on creating healthier vending machines.

The majority of traditional vending operators in Australia have, however, been reluctant to adopt the recommendations, largely for fear of loss of sales. The reality is, unhealthy food and drinks will often cannibalise the one row of healthy options in a machine due to their lower pricing and well-known brands.

Why is the Global Vending Industry in Decline?

A recent report by Automatic Merchandiser, “State of The Industry”, details the fall in the number of US vending machines from 3.5 million in 2016 to 2.1 million in 2017. That is a whopping 40% decrease over one year.

At the 2017 AVEX conference in the UK, Cyril Lavenant of NPD, the largest market research company in the foodservice industry, highlighted the decline in the global vending industry has been driven by 6 important consumer trends:

  1. Perception of freshness; consumers want convenient access to fresh food and the ability to view expiry dates
  2. Quality of product; consumers want access to healthier options
  3. Experience; consumers want a more interactive experience
  4. Mega convenience; consumers want cashless and the ability to pre-pay
  5. Transparency of sourcing; consumers want to buy locally sourced products
  6. Experiment & customise; consumers want variety and products more suitable to their daily work and eating habits

Why Micro Markets Are The Future

The consumer trends causing the decline in traditional vending are exactly why the micro market industry in the US has been experiencing solid growth year on year.

A micro market is an open market that can provide fresh food such as salads, wraps, ready to go meals, fruit, snacks and drinks using a fully-automated payment system. The consumer picks a product from an open rack display, or reach-in refrigerator, and scans the item at a self-checkout kiosk.

Micro Markets vs Typical Vending

Micro Market Typical Vending
Catering to fresh, healthy foodsUnhealthy snack foods
Large variety of 150-400 items with no restrictionsLimited range of up to 45 items with restrictions
Open product access with ability to view nutritional informationNo product access until purchase
Multiple payment options and product purchasingLimited payment options and single item purchase
Minimal delivery problems being completely cashlessCommon issues of payment and product jamming
Customisation of product offering to the locationStandard product offering

Helping Employees Be Healthier with Morsl

Providing employees convenient access to healthy and fresh food is just one of the ways that an employer can enhance an employee’s overall health and wellbeing.

Morsl is one of Australia’s first micro market operators, offering employers a sustainable and fully integrated food solution via its self-serve food and drink marketplace. With onsite convenience and a focus on healthier options, Morsl is a key strategy for employers to make a healthy workplace a little easier.

Morsl is Live With Its First Location

Morsl has hit the ground running launching its first live location at The Missing Link.

The Missing Link is an award winning IT Infrastructure and Cyber Security Company that is situated in the industrial area of Artarmon. Their industrial chic office is situated close to a cafe, which closes at 3pm and a greasy takeaway shop up the road. In addition to these options, the staff had onsite access to a traditional vending machine. Overall, the staff had limited access to healthy food options.

“When the Morsl team approached us, we absolutely loved the concept. Whilst we already provide our staff with free water, fruit and cereals, we loved the idea that we could provide our staff with a healthier food solution, available 24/7,” Alex Gambotto, CEO of The Missing Link, says.

 

“It’s amazing quality. It’s fresh and healthy. This is another tool in attracting quality talent to our business. I am a very frequent user of this innovative micro market due to being quite time poor and wanting to have a healthy lifestyle.”

 

The team at Morsl are excited to partner with The Missing Link and through valuable feedback from its employees and management, we will continue to evolve our offering to ensure it meets the needs and preferences of its staff.

 

Finally, we can’t miss the opportunity to point out the irony that our first client is called The Missing Link, given we view our solution as the missing link to corporate health and wellness programs. We think it was meant to be.

Morsl Launches Its Self-Serve Food and Drink Market For the Workplace

Do your employees have convenient access to healthy foods? Are you able to attract and retain quality talent by the food options you offer onsite?

The missing link to today’s challenges

Australian employers are facing the ever-increasing cost of absenteeism, estimated at almost $30 billion per year.* With the rising incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, there is evidence that Australians must integrate better dietary decisions into their everyday work life. Morsl is able to provide the missing link to many corporate wellness programs by having a fully integrated and sustainable healthy food solution that offers unrivalled onsite convenience.

What is morsl?

The Morsl market is a 24/7 open market, located in secure workplaces with greater than 200 employees. The solution is a nutritionist curated selection of 200+ fresh food, drinks and snacks. The technology platform uses today’s smartest technology to deliver fast and easy transactional use.

 

Our vision

“Morsl’s vision is to bring a better-for-you eating lifestyle to workplaces”, said Karla Borland, CEO of Morsl. “Our markets solve the time-consuming challenge of finding convenient, healthy and nutritious food. We provide an enhanced experience through open product access allowing employees to view nutritional information and ingredients, a broad product variety, multiple cashless payment options and great promotions. Typical vending machines no longer meet the needs of today’s employees. ”

Through Morsl, companies can enhance their employee experience, increase productivity, cater to flexible working hours and most importantly improve employee health and wellbeing.

 

*AiG absenteeism and presenteeism survey report 2015