Why is it that “healthy” people (and almost everyone these days believes they are living a healthier lifestyle), often feel most inconvenienced when they’re in a convenience store? They know they are paying a premium to get what they need, when they need it. Often what’s needed when on-the-go is personal “fuel.” Fuel is food, skin care, body care, hair care, personal care and more. They want products that give them the illusion they are being pampered on some level to compensate for their stress. They want quality, taste, luxury — all at their convenience.
Today’s consumer is more interested in the good life, than good stuff. In fact, the demand for well-being has doubled since 2011. This is a propitious moment for the convenience industry. Those who participated in the National Association of Convenience Store (NACS) show, held in Chicago in October, know there are great opportunities to change habits and sell more healthy products.
Well-being means different things to different people. Overall, the “well-being consumer” is looking for help to look and feel better. The well-being consumer is also a “well-thy” consumer who’s biggest obstacle to feeling great is stress. The “well-thy” consumers have a variety of economic brackets ranging from students to executives, couch surfers to luxury travelers. All of them need something at a convenience store.
If well-being were more convenient, people would be willing to buy it in “real time” (instead of through Amazon) and pay a premium for it.
That’s the idea behind the NACS “Refresh” initiative led by Jeff Lenard, vice president, strategic industry initiatives, NACS.
The main effort is to form partnerships with credible nutrition and community-focused groups to decrease the misperception that convenience can’t be good for you!
Partnerships include Cornell Food and Brand Lab behavioral economists and the Project on Nutrition and Wellness to create a series of in-store pilots. Each of the test scenarios pursued focused on growing healthier food and beverage sales with operating simplicity and low-to-no cost of implementation.
NACS is also the first retail association to make a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America, led by Michelle Obama, which will provide resources and expertise to help convenience stores provide more visibility to healthier choices inside their stores.
While convenience stores don’t plan to compete with health food stores, they are certainly making the case for offering healthier options.
Cumberland Farms, 7Eleven, Sheets and Quick Chek are all offering fresh produce now.
“Half of America comes to a convenience store every day,” explained Lenard. “There are upwards of 160 million transactions. There are three times as many convenience stores as there are supermarkets.”
That’s because the consumer is in control at a convenience store. A recent report showed that the typical convenience store visit is 3 minutes. Grocery is much longer.
There are a number of “better-for-you” items that sell at convenience stores including health bars, yogurt, nuts and trail mix, as well as fresh, cut and packaged fruits and vegetables.
The statistics are improving. Consumers are now turning to convenience stores for these better-for-you items. Overall, 60% of Americans say convenience stores are offering more healthy items. Since 2007, convenience stores have more than doubled produce sales, increasing 126%. Convenience stores sell nearly half (46%) of all single-serve bottled water purchased in the United States.
Here are a few companies doing it right!
Cuisine that keeps you lean
Finding and eating clean and healthy meals is a top priority in Jillian Michaels’ life and you can easily make it yours too with Slim Soul. From flat bread pizzas to flavor-packed salads Michaels’ line of quick meals are made with the highest quality produce, grains, meats and cheeses. All you have do is heat them and enjoy. Michaels says “at the end of the day your health is your responsibility” and with Slim Soul responsibility never tasted so good.
Convenient, nutritious and delicious are the best ways to describe Eggs on the Run. These ready-to-eat hardboiled eggs do away with the time and guesswork involved in preparing hard boiled eggs and come in packs of six or two and accompanied with salt and pepper — so you can enjoy a flavorful snack instantly. Hardboiled eggs are a great source of protein and vitamin A and with Eggs on the Run it’s now easy to enjoy and reap the health benefits of hard boiled eggs “on the run”!
Beverages that work with your body
The makers of Eternal alkaline water believe premium water doesn’t have to be sourced from Fiji or France. Sourced from natural alkaline springs in remote areas of the United States, Eternal water is packed with natural electrolytes, unlike most alkaline waters that contain chemically added electrolytes. These natural electrolytes make it nature’s “most perfect” water and allow it to deliver vitamins, minerals and the hydration your body needs.
Good 2 Grow is leading the children’s beverage category by combining the nutrition parents want for them with cartoon characters they love! Their line of fruit juices, vegetable juices and fruit-infused waters are made with simple ingredients, no sugar added and nothing artificial. Along with delivering the nutrients kids need, they are packaged in spill-proof bottles adorned with popular cartoon including everyone from Cinderella to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These great tasting beverages are disrupting the industry and literally making it good to grow!
In order to maintain a healthy diet, you can’t go without protein. Sometimes good protein sources like meat, beans and yogurt aren’t always on hand and protein shakes deliver added calories and chalky taste. Thanks to Protein2o you can add fuel to your healthy lifestyle and get all the benefits of protein delivered in nine refreshing fruit-flavored, low-calorie waters. Protein2o refreshes, replenishes, and restores what your body needs and is perfect for building lean muscle, recovery from exercise and weight loss. Thanks to Protein2o the best beverage for your body (water, duh!) just got even better for you!
Naturally improve your sleep
Put the tossing and turning to bed and get better sleep the natural way with 6 Hour Sleep. This new drug-free sleep supplement packs a powerful punch as it works with your body’s internal clock. The unique Sleep Synergy Formula includes magnesium and other ingredients that work with your body’s chemistry to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. 6hour sleep tastes great, improves sleep, and best of all, it won’t leave you groggy the next morning. Go to sleep with 6 Hour Sleep and wake up your best self!
NACS will hold a Leadership Forum in Miami, FL Feb. 8 – 10 followed by a Government Relations Conference in Washington D.C. March 19 – 21 and a State of the Industry Summit in Rosemont IL, April 10 -12, 2018.
Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm with an office in Los Angeles. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit http://www.trentandcompany.com.
NOTE: WholeFoods Magazine does not endorse any specific brand or product. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before adding a dietary supplement to (or removing one from) your daily regimen. The opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the publisher.