MHD finds out more about a new fully automated self-serve food and drink marketplace that is helping employees make healthier choices in their workday.
Many workers in the supply chain and logistics sector are required to work shifts. Shift work and irregular or long working hours can adversely affect employee’s health, safety and wellbeing.
Working shifts can have a significant impact on the way people eat and the types of food and drinks they consume. Making healthy choices regarding nutrition is not only important for long-term health and preventing chronic diseases, but also for maintaining day-to-day productivity and energy levels.
After working for 17 years in an office environment, Karla Borland, CEO and Founder of Morsl, an Australia-based provider of healthy self-serve food and drink markets, recognised that there was a gap in the market to empower people to make healthy yet convenient choices while at work.
“I would find myself at the vending machine in the afternoons and would be presented with an abundance of unhealthy and non-nutritious choices,” she recalls.
In search for a healthier solution than the regular workplace vending machine that was commonly stocked with chocolate bars and sugary drinks, Karla came across the micro-market concept in the US.
A micro-market is a compact, self-serve store that provides fresh and healthy food and drink options 24/7. They are entirely automated and feature a mixture of fresh foods such as salads, sandwiches and wraps as well as pre-packed snacks and healthy drink choices.
Essentially operating like a mini supermarket, employees make their selections and use a self-service payment kiosk to pay for their items.
In the US, micro-markets have been on the rise and global companies such as Tesla, BMW and Amazon offer this convenient service to their employees across sites in this region.
“I wanted to find a way to offer a curated range of healthy products in a convenient way that would solve the challenge that most workers have when trying to make healthier choices, and then I came across the micro-market concept in the US,” Karla says.
Karla has since launched Morsl, one of Australia’s first micro-market providers. Some of Morsl’s first clients include Macquarie Bank, Officeworks and Qantas.
After bringing the solution to market Karla quickly realised that the issue of a lack of choice in making healthy food choices was arguably an even bigger issue in industries such as logistic and supply chain. Often for logistics and supply chain professionals, access to healthy food is near impossible and this issue is often combined with long hours and shift work.
“In logistics industry workers tend to work long hours with shorter breaks. So, the micro-market concept is really well-suited to this environment,” she says.
Furthermore, onsite cafes in industrial parks tend to close around 2pm, meaning shift workers have to rely on vending machines for their food during their working hours.
“Often the staff who work the night shift don’t get the same level of service and choice regarding food and nutrition as the staff working in the day,” Karla says.
This was the case with Officeworks Despatch Warehouse, North Rocks in NSW, one of Morsl’s customers. “The inhouse café couldn’t service all of the shifts. So, we installed our micro-markets and now all staff have access to healthy food options regardless of when their shift takes place,” Karla says.
Morsl offers a full end-to-end solution. “From the installation, to servicing the market, to tailoring the product depending on your workforce – we take care of everything,” she says.
Recognising that people have different tastes and dietary requirements, Morsl develops bespoke offerings for different workplaces. “We make sure that the food is perfectly tailored to the eating and work habits as well as demographic of any particular workplace,” she says.
Morsl also restocks the markets regularly which benefit from real-time monitoring so there are never any stock issues. This also allows the micro-market to service an increased workforce if need be. “If the team size increases at peak times, it’s very flexible. We just reservice the markets more often,” Karla says.
Furthermore, it’s not solely about healthy food choices but about a balanced eating lifestyle.. Morsl operates on an 80/20 rule whereby 80 per cent of the products are nutritious and 20 per cent are, what Karla describes as, indulgent.
“We’re also very flexible with our clients. At one location, a significant number of staff were requesting meat pies, so in line with our 80/20 philosophy we have introduced meat pie Thursday’s for this client and the staff love it.”
Morsl also takes care of the marketing and works on building excitement and culture in the workplace ahead of a micro-market launch. “We make it exciting for the staff and we also support the communications. We provide various content on the benefits of products, specific promotions as well as product comparisons. We communicate what snacks work well for what kind of shift or work you are doing,” Karla says.
A compelling case for the logistics industry, Morsl has just confirmed one of the world’s largest online retailers will install their micro-market solution at their site in New South Wales.
“More than 600 workers are based here across 24/7 shift patterns, so the micro-market provides a convenient solution,” Karla says.
Encouraging employees to make healthier choices throughout their day results in a more productive and healthier workforce overall.
Poor eating habits combined with a lack of physical activity can put people at a greater risk of developing chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, so it’s a huge benefit to be able to offer a workforce healthier lifestyle choices.
“Our mission is to help people eat better in their working day. Boosting immunity and bolstering gut health are often not considered when it comes to workplace food and drink choices. We want to completely change that and give people choices that benefit them and their overall health at work. By doing this, we can boost morale, promote personal health and well-being and create workplaces that enhance company culture so organisations can attract and retain quality talent,” Karla concludes.