There’s been a noticeable shift in the type of food people are buying at convenience stores.
More than one in three Americans (34 percent) 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. That’s according to survey results released recently by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
"Convenience stores are increasingly becoming food markets for time-starved consumers seeking snacks, meals and grocery items that are both fast and healthy," says NACS Chairman Steve Loehr, v.p. of operations at LaCrosse, Wis.-based convenience store chain Kwik Trip.
In fact, more than six in 10 American consumers (61 percent) 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.
And, nearly six in 10 consumers (59 percent) and seven in 10 of those age 18-34 (70 percent) say that convenience stores offer food that they feel comfortable eating.
The good news for retailers is that all of these fresh-food efforts seem to be working. Foodservice sales at convenience stores increased 9.7 percent in 2014, according to NACS data.
In particular, consumers are purchasing more fresh and nutritious food in convenience stores. Overall, 44 percent of Americans say convenience stores offer nutritious items, which is a strong increase from the 30 percent who felt that way in 2013. In addition, 43 percent say convenience stores are a place to get fresh food items.
Convenience store 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 percent to $362 million in 2014, according to Nielsen data.
The NACS survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC; 1,103 consumers were surveyed April 7-9, 2015