Healthy snacking was on the increase long before COVID19. Since the pandemic began, it has become even more popular. All the signs are that healthy snacking is going to be a major consideration over the long term. Companies should therefore think about what this means for their promotional gifting both to employees and customers.
The basics of healthy snacking
Like many popular terms, the phrase “healthy snacking” is open to interpretation. Healthy snacking can mean sticking to lower-calorie snacks. Certainly, on a like-for-like basis, lower-calorie snacks are likely to be healthier than higher-calorie ones. There is, however, nuance here. For example, some higher-calorie snacks are packed full of nutrients and hence could reasonably be considered healthy.
As a rule of thumb, therefore, healthy snacking is probably most accurately described as sticking to snacks that are low-calorie and/or high in nutrients. This typically means foods with minimal processing. An extreme example of this is that raw fruit tends to be a very healthy snack. When you process it into products like jam, pastries or ice cream, it becomes much less healthy.
Healthy snacking and dietary preferences
If you’re offering healthy snacks as promotional gifts, it’s a good idea to think about the practicalities of dietary preferences. For example, meat-based snacks may be very healthy. They are, however, not going to get engagement from vegetarians and vegans. That’s already a significant percentage of people in the UK. What’s more, certain religious groups may have issues with them too.
Similarly, you may want to tread carefully with snacks based on known allergens. The most obvious example of this is nuts. These are hugely popular with people looking for healthy snacks – unless they have allergies. Sadly, nut allergies are so common (and so deadly) that products containing nuts generally need to be avoided for promotional gifting.
The potential exception to this is if you’re providing a selection of healthy snacks, for example, a snack bar for employees or a hamper for customers. In that case, you might want to include a few snacks which might not please everybody. If you do, however, make sure that they are clearly identifiable.
Choosing healthy snacks
If you’re buying healthy snacks for employees to enjoy at work, then it can be great to go for fresh products. Obvious examples of fresh, healthy snacks include fruit, (vegan) yoghurt and certain baked items. You can, however, get a lot more creative. For example, you could offer salads, soups and/or fresh dips.
Even at work, however, there can be a strong case for looking at healthy snacks with more longevity. This is particularly true just now while companies are still trying to figure out what the “return to the office” is actually going to mean in practice. If you’re sending healthy snacks to other people, e.g. customers, then it’s often advisable to go for options with a longer shelf-life.
The good news is that this still leaves you with lots of options. The even better news is that you have options in different shapes and sizes and at different price points. Lots of them are designed with a view to home delivery and hence will go easily through the average letterbox.
The benefits of supporting healthy snacking
From an engagement perspective, supporting healthy snacking demonstrates that you’re aware of current trends and values. People today are increasingly choosing to keep “treat food” for the most special occasions. For daily life, they want snacks that are healthy as well as tasty. This is particularly true of younger people.
If you’re buying healthy snacks for your employees then you can also see more direct benefits to your company. In simple terms, the better employees look after their bodies, the healthier and happier they’ll be. This sets them up for success and hence sets you and your company up for success. Here are specific examples of what this could mean in practice.
At a very basic level, healthy, happy workers are less likely to take time off sick. When they are at their desks, they are likely to be productive. On a more specific note, employees are going to find their energy levels dropping from time to time. When this happens, eating some healthy snacks can be an effective way of getting them back up again.
Improved quality of work
In general, quality takes focus and focus takes energy. Energy comes from food so employees who eat well, meaning healthily, are much more likely to produce quality work than employees who don’t. What’s more, employees who feel valued are much more likely to be willing to go “above and beyond” for their employer. This improves quality even further.
Better company culture
One of the most common arguments for getting employees into the office is that it helps to build company culture. In reality, however, getting employees into the office does not, in and of itself, build culture. You build company culture by getting your employees to buy into your company values and behaviours. You can’t force this buy-in. You can, however, do a lot to encourage it.
The more employees feel a valued part of a larger whole, the more likely they are to adopt, or at least adapt to, the values and beliefs of that whole. At a minimum, they’ll feel reassured that managers are making decisions for the right reasons. This can do a lot to keep employees on board in those inevitable times when they disagree with the decisions being taken.
Providing healthy snacks can help to play a role in this. If you place them in strategic locations, you encourage employees to visit those locations. In doing so, you increase the chances that they’ll interact with each other and start to form meaningful bonds, even if only professional ones.
If you’re planning on bringing employees back on-site full-time, then you are going to be competing against employers offering hybrid- and remote-models. If you’re planning on bringing employees back on-site part of the time, you’ll be competing against fully-remote employers.
You’ve probably already noticed that competition for the best candidates is fiercer than ever. This means that now, more than ever, it is hugely useful to be regarded as a “best-in-breed” employer. Providing healthy snacking options is an economical and effective way to promote your company to existing and potential employees.