Time for some bad news/good news.
The bad news? A recent CDC report says eating at the office is about as healthy as eating at Wendy’s, which makes sense if you think about typical office cafeteria food (for those not working at some Silicon Valley startup with a private chef), vending machines, and office cakes for co-workers’ birthdays.
New Food Economy first reported on the CDC’s study yesterday, writing:
According to the Healthy Eating Index, a metric created by USDA to measure nutritional quality on a scale of one to 100, workplace fare scored an average of 48. That’s the same score as a Wendy’s menu. Food consumed at work added extra calories to their diets—about 1,292 calories a week—with more than two-thirds of that coming from food given away for free.
The good news? There are a number of startups looking to make eating at work a whole lot more healthy. Here are a few we’ve been following.
Byte Foods provides offices with smart fridges full of fresh, healthy foods like salads and falafel snack packs. Employees just swipe their credit card, take what they want, and are charged automatically.
SnackNation offers companies healthy snacks as a service to “inspire more conscious food decisions.” The company heavily curates its catalog, reviewing and taste-testing each product.
Farmer’s Fridge is a vending machine filled with individual kitchen-made meals such as Smoked Cheddar Cobb Salad, Tarragon Chicken Salad Wrap, and Almond Butter Oats Bowl.
Chowbotics is a more high-tech robot vending machine that whips up salads on the spot. The company raised $11 million last year to expand from salads into food bowls.
KitchenMate has perhaps the most comprehensive solution on this list. It provides offices with a fridge filled with ready-to-cook meals (kale and brown rice bowls, salmon and rice, etc.) and a smart cooker that uses a barcode scanner to automatically cook those meals properly.
It’s tough to fight off snacking and grazing while at the office. After all, you need something to get you through all those meetings and conference calls. Hopefully, though, these startups will take hold, so more workers can have healthier options at the workplace.