By David Bennett, Senior Editor
One of the hot topics at this year’s State of the Industry Summit, an annual conference hosted by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), is the increased emphasis on healthier food option in convenience stores.
Sherry Frey, senior vice president of the Nielsen Co.’s perishables group, said c-stores are uniquely positioned to play a more significant role in the nation’s ongoing battle against the bulge.
Currently, 35% of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies show that obesity leads to high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical conditions.
Both baby boomers and Millennials are driving healthier trends in the c-store channel, especially younger consumers who willingly trade regularly scheduled meals for snacks, at various time of the day. Often, those choices revolve around healthier options. In fact, younger consumers are far more concerned about everything from food ingredients to organic options.
Recent reports show that Millennials prefer convenience stores over other channels because of the timeliness that c-stores offer.
“They are looking for convenient food and they’re looking for convenient health,” Frey said.
Then again, health consciousness doesn’t just reside with the young, but mature shoppers also. With their established incomes and lifestyles, baby boomers outpace all other generational groups as far as buying power, and as they age, their expectations of food changes to lighter and healthier fare.
With their established incomes and lifestyles, baby boomers outpace all other generational groups as far as buying power, and as they age, their expectations of food change.
“It’s not all about going healthy,” Frey said. “As Americans, we want the choice.”
Products claiming to be “all natural” have seen 24% sales growth over the past two years, and organic products have enjoyed 28% sales growth over that same period, Nielsen reported.
Frey said c-stores are ideally positioned to not only provide healthier and more nutritious food options like fresh produce, but should also consider merchandise such as vitamins, medicines and other items like foot-care remedies.