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America’s convenient future

The American convenience industry has shifted in a healthier direction. 

America can look forward to a healthier convenience store offer in the coming years following a recent shift in the $550 billion industry.

The National Association of Convenience Stores trade show took place in Chicago recently and this shift in industry focus was on display amongst the grab-and-go offers.

Chicago Tribune writer Greg Trotter said: “What began as a few bananas by the cash register is now a full-blown movement aimed at selling healthier fare to consumers and millennials, in particular”.

Mr Trotter noted that the main reason for the shift in offers was due to the decline of once pillars of the convenience industry including sales of soft drinks, cigarettes and fuel. He noted also the rise in e-commerce as a barrier to the traditional brick-and-mortar options.

Healthier offerings equals more choice for customers, not everything will be replaced however, some of the newly introduced offerings will rather stand as alternative.

New York based company Terrafina only recently started selling its range of dried fruit and nuts in convenience stores but found its products were well received.

Terrafina’s VP of sales Paul Miller said: “C-stores are looking for alternatives to tobacco and soda and gas.”

“And even your processed food products from the 1990s,” he said.

“C-stores are definitely more of a growth opportunity than grocery stores.”

National Association of Convenience Stores VP of strategic industry Jeff Lenard said the industry is not without its challenges.

“How do you keep people going to your stores if they’re not buying gas from you?” he said.

Adapting and keeping up with currents trends is one way to keep up foot traffic, as well as giving consumers what they want to see within stores.

“If you had roller dogs and they were successful, you keep on doing it. It’s a great food to eat on the run. You can’t eat a quinoa salad necessarily on the run,” Mr Lenard said.

“Or you shouldn’t be doing it while driving.”

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