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Report: C-Stores Poised To Grow Better-For-You Sales

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Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 05:14 pm

Convenience stores are poised to capitalize on the growing trend of shoppers seeking healthy, more convenient products, according to a new Hudson Institute report.

“Consumers’ desire for convenience is a growing trend and a notable convenience store opportunity,” according to “Health & Wellness Trends and Strategies for the Convenience Store Sector,” a report commissioned by the National Association of Convenience Stores.

To grow sales, the 152,794 convenience store operators in the U.S. should look beyond simply meeting the needs of their traditional customers and embrace the growing customer segment that is demanding more and more better-for-you items, according to the report, authored by Hank Cardello, senior fellow and director of the Hudson Institute’s Obesity Solutions Initiative, and Steve French, managing partner and co-owner of the Natural Marketing Institute.

Convenience store shoppers are consuming more healthy food items, such as vegetables, fruits and healthy snacks, compared to a year ago, and 75 percent of convenience store customers say they are eating healthier than they used to, according to the report.

In addition, the number of convenience store shoppers interested in healthy foods that can be eaten “on the go” has increased from 59 to 66 percent in the past seven years, and healthier snacking has become the norm.

Convenience retailers should place a focus on two primary consumer segments to grow sales: continuing to serve their traditional core consumer segment of “Eat, Drink & Be Merrys” and the growing segment characterized as “Fence Sitters,” who represent 38 percent of convenience store shoppers and typically spend more, yet are often unsure where they can find convenient, better-for-you options. Overall, 34 percent of Fence Sitters say that there are “no convenient locations nearby” to purchase healthy foods and 41 percent say “it is not convenient or easy to find” better-for-you products.

“Convenience stores have an opportunity to bridge this gap and own convenient food service—especially breakfast—when nutrition is considered most important and Fence Sitters are currently eating healthier options during this meal occasion in particular,” according to the report.

There also is considerable opportunity to grow sales through education—both by communicating the availability of better-for-you products and by highlighting how better-for-you “tastes great and is quick to prepare or can be eaten on the go.”

“By focusing on products and messaging that meet the need for healthier products—on-the-go, breakfast and kid-targeted convenience—convenience stores can drive significant, new growth in this emerging category,” the report notes.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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