Over one in three Americans (34%) say that they have purchased more snacks that are considered “healthy choices” over the past year, and they are increasingly turning to convenience stores for these healthy purchases, according to survey results released today by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
More than six in 10 American consumers (61%) say that convenience stores are offering healthier, nutritious products and serving sizes. This was the third consecutive year that a majority of Americans say that convenience stores are providing more better-for-you items.
Sales reflect growing consumer choice for food items in convenience stores. Nearly six in 10 consumers (59%) and seven in 10 of those age 18-34 (70%) say that convenience stores offer food that they feel comfortable eating. Foodservice sales at convenience stores increased 9.7% in 2014, according to NACS data.
In particular, consumers are purchasing more fresh and nutritious food in convenience stores. Overall, 44% of Americans say that convenience stores offer nutritious items, which is a strong increase from the 30% who felt that way in 2013. In addition, 43% say that convenience stores are a place to get fresh food items. Convenience stores sales of fresh fruits and vegetables (whole commodities like apples, bananas and oranges as well as fresh-cut/value-added produce like prepared salads, fruit cups and other packaged produce) increased 10.3% to $362 million in 2014, according to Nielsen data.
“Convenience stores are increasingly becoming food markets for time-starved consumers seeking snacks, meals and grocery items that are both fast and healthy,” said NACS Chairman Steve Loehr, vice president of operations at LaCrosse, WI-based convenience store chain Kwik Trip.
The NACS survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC; 1,103 consumers were surveyed April 7-9, 2015.