Two Local Companies Are Bringing Healthy Office Snacks to the Working Masses

LeanBox and Berkshire Natural are making it easier for employees to eat well at work.


A LeanBox vending machine. Photo provided to

Let’s face it: When you eat at your desk, it’s probably not your finest hour in terms of nutrition. We all know that on-the-go meals and vending machine snacks hardly add up to a healthy lunch. But when you’re pulling long hours under tight deadlines, it can be hard to eat well. Fortunately, two local companies are trying to change that by delivering healthy office snacks to businesses across the city.

One of those companies is LeanBox, which provides healthy vending machines that go way beyond baked chips and whole wheat crackers. Every machine is stocked with healthy meals, snacks, and drinks, many of which come from local businesses. And since the company delivers throughout the week to ensure freshness, meal options aren’t limited to non-perishables—think vegan bento boxes and tuscan chickpea salads rather than sad granola bars.

“Work-life balance is more like work-life blend these days,” says LeanBox cofounder Shea Coakley. “Companies are working hard to create environments that attract and maintain top talent. It’s our job to take care of the food piece of that challenge.” So far, Coakley says, the company is working with 50 companies in the Boston area, which pay a monthly fee to LeanBox in order to charge employees lower-than-retail prices—a salad, for example, is around $4.

Berkshire Natural, another company in the healthy vending machine business, began a customized healthy office snacks delivery service available to offices this past summer. Boston-area companies can choose from a list of Berkshire’s approximately 500 products. Many of the products come from local businesses and none of the items contain trans fats, artificial flavors and colors, or high fructose corn syrup. Pricing varies based on size of the order and office, but co-owner David Starr says it evens out to roughly $1 per snack.

“Part of our mission, unlike many other companies that are in food service, is that we are really committed to supporting as many local businesses as we can,” Starr explains. “It’s not just that we have a commitment to healthy snacks. We also have a commitment to supporting local businesses, to environmental sustainability.”

Starr also mentions the growing importance placed on company wellness, a trend giving rise to companies like Berkshire Natural and LeanBox. “The health insurance companies, to some extent, I think are encouraging their clients to offer healthy snacks and fresh fruit to their employees,” Starr says.

Coakley makes a similar point. “We spend the majority of our life in the office. [The] 9-to-5 is often more like 8-to-7,” he says. “From a consumer standpoint, we often grab what is most convenient. I think companies are finally starting to realize the direct impact a healthy population has on the bottom line.”

Berkshire Naturals

A Berkshire Naturals snack basket. Photo provided to