LOS ANGELES -- HUMAN (Helping Unite Mankind and Nutrition) Healthy Vending chief executive Sean Kelly reports that micromarkets are opening new doors in business and industry, an enormous segment that the healthy vending franchisor has not previously targeted.
The Los Angeles-based company's vending machines, stocked exclusively with healthier alternatives to traditional snacks and drinks, have carved a growing niche in schools, YMCAs, hospitals, health clubs and the military but have not yet proven to be sustainable in corporate sites, Kelly said.
HUMAN's early experience with micromarkets, however, is demonstrating that the mini c-stores are a whole different ball game in the workplace market. It reportedly deployed about 30 corporate and franchisee-owned micromarkets -- and counting -- since the launch of its first self-checkout store last year. And Kelly says B&I locations in growing numbers are embracing them as an employee amenity and onsite foodservice solution that often ties into their wellness programs. The company has markets in Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Concord, NH, Bull Valley, IL, Washington, DC, and Portland, OR, and more are steadily rolling out, according to Kelly.
"All of us know micromarkets are hot, and we're just in the infancy of a new market in automated retail," Kelly said. "I see a very large opportunity because the experience is completely enhanced compared to vending and there's so much more we can do with it. The opportunity is fantastic to merchandise based on rolling data-centric initiatives similar to grocery stores, and I believe the operators that will succeed most will think like c-store operators."
Like its vending machines, a selling point that differentiates HUMAN's micromarkets is that they're merchandised exclusively with food, snacks and beverages that meet its "better for you" criteria.
"We believe healthier can taste as good as or better than traditional chips, candies and sodas," said Kelly. "Our micromarkets sell burritos, salads and wraps made with better, fresher ingredients that taste great and are good for you. If we're not selling product, it doesn't make sense. We have to make healthy work, so that even the most discerning junk food eater eats it."
» Averages 1.9% systemwide
» Pop Chips (BBQ is top-selling flavor)
» Kind Bars (peanut butter and dark chocolate, especially)
» Krave Jerky
» Sambazon Energy (juice)
» Hint water
» VitaCoco coconut water
Best Location Attributes
» Spots without a lot of nearby food and beverage competition
» Younger staff with higher discretionary income
» Venues with one central breakroom or kitchen hosting a market
The HUMAN chief executive emphasized that the early success of its micromarkets has largely depended on "top-down" support from location management in commitment to employee health and helping drive engagement at the stores.
For more information, visitHealthy Markets.