The change is part of a sweeping trend in the industry to capture customers looking for better-for-you products at convenience stores across the United States. “There is a convenience store in every community in America,” said Amaris Bradley, the director of partnerships at Partnership for a Healthier America. NACS works
with Partnership for a Healthier America to help retailers provide healthier options to customers. “If you can transform that industry, you can make healthy options more accessible for a lot of people.”
Convenience stores have introduced many healthy items to their shelves in recent years, including hard boiled eggs, string cheese, packaged salads and fruit, yogurt and health bars. In addition, nearly 50% of U.S. stores increased their vegetable and fruit selection last year, according to Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives at NACS.
One chain, Kwik Trip, brought a dietitian, Erica Flint, on board to oversee healthier options. Each Kwik Trip now has fresh fruit and vegetables available, for example. “As the generations change, what consumers are looking for changes as well,” Flint said. “Different consumers are looking for different things, and we’re trying to provide options for all of them.”
With soda and cigarette sales continuing to fall, and the margins on gas staying very low, convenience stores are turning to food to replace the lost revenue. “Food sales are an opportunity for them,” said Frank Beard, an analyst for GasBuddy and NACS Daily contributor. “It’s a perfect storm of factors.”