Replacing bulk snacks and reach-in packaging with single serve

Making the switch to single serve to maintain a safe return to work.
Single service office snacks

We've been talking about it since the initial Stay-at-Home orders... when can we return to work?

The truth is we don't know exactly when that will be, but we want to be prepared when happens. And the number one priority for everyone is safety!

Crafty has been building Return-to-Work programs with our clients, and we want to share some of our guidelines with the world!

So, let's start by chatting through one of major changes you can make to your food & beverage assortment: switching from bulk to single serve.

Bulk is so last season. A new pandemic, a new you. 

We wish that weren't the case, because bulk is much more environmentally friendly.

Don’t fret, we are still very much proponents of sustainability, and we’ll dive into sustainability during COVID-19 in our next article.

For this article, let's take a look at some single serve swaps we can make across categories:

  1. Snacks
  2. Breads 
  3. Dairy
  4. Fruit
  5. Condiments & Spreads
  6. Supplies


For any snacks in packaging made for multiple people, they've gotsta go!

The good news:  with snacks, we can do a lot of switchovers from single serve to bulk. A guideline we generally believe is that if the snack is sold in bulk, it's likely sold in single serve.  

For example, bulk nuts and trail mixes are available in single serve sleeves or tubes, and cereals and granolas are available in serve cups or boxes.

It’s essential to eliminate all reach-in containers; however, gravity dispensers can still work, as long as we make a couple adjustments:

  1. Place bakery wrap next to the containers
  2. Provide clear signage directing employees to use the wrap as a protective layer between their hand and the knob or lid before serving themselves a snack

Take a look at the image below to catch our drift, which is an example of signage you can use to help employees navigate these instructions.

office snack dispensers for offices


This is a tough category in light of COVID-19. Most bread products come in plastic, reach-in bags, and those are really difficult to ask a large office to navigate safely.

At this point, we would recommend removing breads from your product assortment.

Is single serve bread even a thing? Our team is currently searching the earth for single serve bread and bagel packaging, but we have not yet found anything that meets our quality standards. 

If eliminating bread is not an option (what kind of life is a life without bread?), you could follow the same two-steps we outlined above with the use of gravity dispensers:

  1. Place bakery wrap by the breads
  2. Provide clear signage directing employees to use the wrap as a protective layer between their hand and the bread



Cartons of dairy and non-dairy alternatives are a high-touch, high-frequency hot zone (well, 'cold' zone really).

Remember those mini cartons of milk from our elementary school days? Oh, yeah! Ask your food & beverage vendor to replace your cartons of milk with single serve cartons.

The big challenge will be for your non-dairy alternatives. Not sure about your elementary school, but the public school I went to definitely did not offer cartons of Oat Milk. 

Unfortunately, most non-dairy alternatives aren't quite there with single-serve options. We have no doubt that these brands will find a way to pivot in the post Covid-19 era, but we haven't found many that have made the change yet. 



Ask your vendor to procure wrapped fruit for your office - individually wrapped fruit is a thing!

There are also fruit cups and packaged produce as well, such as apple slices and baby carrots.

For non-individually wrapped or packaged fruits, we should avoid anything that would result in multiple touches.

For example, we are not distributing grapes nor berries in our office kitchens for the time being. These fruits also do not have that protective layer of peelable skin, whereas fruits like oranges or clementines will work well - both are single serve and have that protective, peelable layer. We like to think of them as nature’s lil helpers!

Let’s go bananas (the most popular office fruit for our clients). For Crafty clients who have on-site services, our team (while wearing their mandatory PPE) will break apart the bananas each morning to ensure that individual employees do not need to break apart the bunch with their hands. 

One person, one touch, one banana.


Condiments & Spreads

Talk about a high-touch, high frequency category! Especially, during the breakfast and lunch rush, a shared condiment container gets a lotta love.

To peanut butter jars everywhere, we are sorry, but y'all gotta go! It's OK though, we'll be bringing in your little cousins.

From peanut butter to hot sauce, almost every condiment or spread is also available in single serve packaging. It’s almost like the condiment industry was ready. Verrrrry interesting. 



The challenge with supplies exists where people are reaching into a drawer or container or grabbing a bulk supply item, and as a result, they are potentially touching multiple pieces.

We have two courses of action:

  1. Swapping to wrapped, single-use supply items
  2. Installing dispensing systems
Sanitizing Dispensing Systems for offices


Wrapped, single-use utensils certainly provide excellent hygiene; however, the dispensing systems are our preferred options, because they provide a little extra magic. Dispensing systems comparatively reduce waste, speed up restocking, free up counter or drawer space, and just generally create more efficiency.

For other supply items beyond utensils, such as paper towels, hand soaps, and hand sanitizers, the best approach here is dispenser systems as well.


No matter how you slice it, across all categories, switching from bulk to single serve will impact your budget.


Single Serve office snacks


Single serve snacks are more expensive than bulk. We estimate a ~50% price increase per serving to be factored into your financial planning.

At Crafty, we’ve been using our world-famous (the validity of this claim should certainly be questioned) Crafty Dashboard to help WOF Teams present the near-term financial impact of these changes to their Finance teams.

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Published on May 19, 2020

Nathan Rosenstock, Crafty, CEO

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