New Face of the Water Cooler: Break Room Snacks Re-defined

Styling and Photography by Laurie Mosco

Looks like the days of short commutes from the bed to the computer and dressing for meetings only from the waist up might be numbered. Corporate giant Google just re-opened its offices to a limited amount of employees, with plans to have all employees back to the office by autumn, according to the New York Times. Other major tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook are following suit, with planned Fall 2021 office returns, according to USA Today.  While in some ways a return to the office will be “business as usual” there are some areas where the “new order” left by the pandemic will leave its mark – particularly in the break room.

Prior to 2020, free snacks had become a popular business perk, and one way smaller businesses could compete with the larger corporations for talent, according to The Balance Small Business.  As no one wants mobs of hangry employees, we don’t see free office snacks going away anytime soon. But as major grocery chains are changing the look of self-serve bars as reported by Grocery Dive, expect to see the same move away from self-serve offerings in the office break room.

You don’t have to wait for the whispers around the watercooler to find out how to satisfy employees’ cravings for snacks and safety.  Here are some pointers to get you started.

Wrap it Up

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Take a cue from grocery stores and move from traditional break room bulk self-serve snacks to pre-packaged versions.  2021 brought with it an increased focus on health and wellness, making pre-packed nut mixes and dried fruit tubs from Maple Valley Farms and peg bags from Bazzini  the new office supply superstars. For a tasty, highly portable nut mix option, offer KIND snack bars.

Your snack selection will really pop with better-for-you popcorn like Boom Chick A Pop and plant-based snacks like Harvest Snaps snap pea or black bean crisps, or Vegan Rob’s vegan puffs and popcorn.  Even among the healthy trends, it’s still good to have a tried and true snack like chips, but choose gourmet varieties with premium ingredients and spices and like North Fork and Deep River .

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Sometimes workers are hungry for more than a snack. Satisfy their hunger with protein bars like CLIF Bar in your break room, to keep them happy.

Workday Whimsy

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All work and no play makes anyone dull, so inject some fun into break room snacks with whimsical packaging and colorful confections. 2020 brought cravings for small indulgences. We’re glad to report that this trend is here to stay, so a remix of the iconic office snack, the donut, like in AmuseMints Donut Hole Bites peg bags will have employees rushing to grab a cup of coffee and a donut hole snack.  Bright pink shells are sprinkled with rainbow color speckles surrounding a donut flavored center. Add in a colorful peg bag all speckled in sprinkles and lettering shaped like donuts and cases of “the Mondays” will be at an all-time low.

For brainstorming meetings where they’re batting around ideas, nothing boosts those creative ideas better than creative batter-flavored confections. Add AmuseMints Milk Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough and Milk Chocolate Cake Batter Bites peg bags to the snack stash. All the fun of licking the spoon without the guilt, all wrapped up in a creamy, enticing milk chocolate shell. 

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Fun isn’t ONLY indulgent. Offer the staff something sweet and wholesome with SmartSweets.  An array of classic gummies, fruit chews, and licorice twists with 92% less sugar brings on the smiles, and the warm and fuzzy nostalgic feelings of childhood, while helping them maintain their healthy lifestyle.  Pair the smarter snacks with brilliantly colored packaging and even hump day is suddenly brighter.

Give them the VP Treatment

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The old saying goes “dress for the job you want.”  Well, we think employees need to snack for the job they want too.  Add a few higher-end snacks to the mix like those from Marich.  Premium nuts, espresso beans, and dried fruit, covered in velvety smooth chocolate made from sustainably sourced cocoa will transport employees to the executive dining room.  Add in elegant packing and you’ll have them flying high like a little trip on the corporate jet .  

Attending a corporate happy hour is such a VP thing to do. But no need to leave the office. Any hour is a happy hour when Kopper’s On the Rocks Cordials are on the menu.  A layer of rich dark chocolate coating alcohol-free centers inspired by classic drinks like barrel aged bourbon and Moscow Mule, will lift their spirits. If it’s a java jolt they’re seeking, there’s Kopper’s On The Rocks Cold Brew featuring a dark chocolate crushed espresso bean coating and coffee flavored center. For a perk with a crunch — offer Kopper’s New York Espresso Bean Mix featuring the finest espresso beans coated in a variety of chocolates.

Personalized Packaging

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Break room snacks are all about building company pride and lifting employee morale. Personalized snack bags that sport your company logo (filled with classic bulk goodies, of course) gives employees a feeling that the snacks were personally selected for their tastes. Branded bags are also a great opportunity to reinforce the generous nature of stocked cabinets, while reminding associates the that snacks are “on the company”.

With employees returning to the office, don’t forget a gesture to welcome them back. Packed bulk snacks presented in a personalized container, mug, or tote on their desks will be a welcome sight.

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