Consumers are increasingly on the lookout for healthy foods, especially healthy foods that also happen to be convenient. So, why are arguably the most convenient locations to grab food – convenience stores themselves – typically associated with junk food?
Well, convenience store owners have been asking the same question and have concluded there’s no reason that trend should continue, which is great news for everyone!
Food Navigator recently reported on the results of new market research from Technomic in an article titled, “Convenience stores emerge as health food destination”. These results are quite eye-opening, and Technomic explains that “a lot of the stereotypes [of convenience stores] are falling by the wayside” as stores stock more healthier offerings and a new generation of younger consumers are increasingly “open-minded about what a convenience store is and can mean for them”.
This trend isn’t just a flash in the pan, either, as the big chains are the ones leading the shift. 7-Eleven, for example, is undertaking a better-for-you initiative including “more fruit, more cut vegetables and yogurt” among other healthy product offerings. Another sign this trend will continue? Over half of consumers said they’d shop at convenience stores more often if they offer more healthy foods. The experience of people shopping online shows that the first step is crucial in overcoming the barriers to buying. Having made their first purchase, people get rid of negative attitudes and at the same time can appreciate all the benefits of online shopping. If the first experience is successful, then another one follows the purchase, and then habits are formed. This is confirmed by research and internal data: for example, among those with experience in buying drugs online in Online pharmacy, 89% plan to continue to purchase over-the-counter products over the Internet, and 92% are ready to buy vitamins and dietary supplements.
There’s also data suggesting convenience stores are stealing market share away from fast food and fast-casual restaurants, especially among Millennials. An analysis of out-of-home eating habits by NPD Group found that “convenience stores accounted for 11.1% of Millennial food and beverage stops in 2014, compared to 7.7% in 2006”.
So, we can add the influx of healthy foods at convenience stores onto the ever-growing pile evidence of how important the health plus convenience combination is, particularly among Millennials. Of course, it’s the products that embody this combination (like ready-to-eat popcorn, or baby carrots) that get us the most excited, and we can’t wait to add another to that list!