When you think of going to a local store to buy healthy food, a 7-Eleven is not typically a store that would make your top 5 list. But the chain known for large size drinks, nachos and other caloric treats is reconfiguring their food and beverage selections. Expect to see healthier offerings like yogurt parfaits, lean turkey on whole wheat bread with a side of veggies.
In fact, this past year 7-Eleven has stealthily mixed in food options with health in mind. The target for US and Canadian sales is 20% from fresher, healthier foods. The executive team behind the brand has taken note of consumer trends, which include a desire for easy access to affordable tasty, healthy, fresh food choices. The most recent trend that hit these convenience stores was to stock milk, eggs, cheese and other fresh staples typically found in a supermarket. The trend resonated well with consumers, who saved a separate trip to another store to buy these basic home food items, when stopping in to a 7-Eleven for a quick purchase of a snack or meal on the go. Convenience stores are being forced to re-think their model, thanks to places like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks, which now offer a wide selection and variety of fresh foods, for the person who eats breakfast and/or lunch out, during a busy workday. Profit margins on fresh food is high, but until recently, a 7-Eleven was mostly noted for its hotdogs and breakfast sandwiches, kept warm with a heating lamp.
The chain is now working with a team of culinary experts, food scientists, and trend spotters to develop a line of new fresh food options for snacking or a quick meal. The Bistro Snack Protein Pack has mini pitas, cheese cubes, grapes, celery, baby carrots and hummus. It's actually similar to a relatviely new option on JetBlue flights nationwide. The 7-Eleven goal is for many of the new fresh food opportunities to clock in under 400 calories per item. At the same time, 7-Eleven knows that they serve another entirely different type of customer. Those customers may still want sweets and treats, and mini-donuts and other types of fresh sandwiches will fit the bill. The response from customers as these changes roll out has been one of mostly surprise. Many who come in for a bag of chips, are pleasantly surprised to find carrots in bags. Yogurt parfaits have been especially popular. The top selling sandwich has been the 7 Smart Turkey Sandwich. Some regions receive snacks and sandwiches tailored to the local flavor. In Miami, hot Cuban sandwiches made with ham, cheese, pickles and mustard sell well, while in the Northeast, Turkey Gobbler with fresh turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing sold well during the holidays. A bestseller has been bananas.
I’m personally hoping that the customers who come in for those fresh, less healthy options, will also see carrots, bananas, yogurt and protein snacks and realize they taste good and give a nutrition bang for their cost!!
Published On: January 08, 2013