In the past, many convenience stores offered just a few token healthy snacks. But a growing number of c-store shoppers would like “better for you” snacks to be more than just an afterthought.
According to a 2015 survey by Brandware, 75% of consumers would like to see c-stores offer more healthy snacks. They look for buzzwords to draw their attention and help close the gap between consideration and purchase. In a 2015 survey by C-Store Foodservice Multi, 63% of respondents said they’d be more likely to purchase items described as “natural.” The word “organic” garnered a response of 52%.
Here’s how to give shoppers what they want and watch business boom… naturally.
Check the Perimeter
The traditional grocery set-up places fresh, perishable items on the perimeter of the store and canned and boxed items, which are typically more processed, in center aisles. Doing a mental walk around the perimeter of a grocery store can give you insights into what to develop in your own product offerings, because “fresh” and “unprocessed” are two more buzzwords that capture the attention of healthy shoppers.
Prepared deli items such as grab-and-go sandwiches have long been common in convenience, but making sure those items look and taste high-quality will signal to customers that you’re a trustworthy source for more perimeter items. They’ll look to your coolers for fortified and organic yogurts and protein-rich dairy drinks, to your bakery selection for whole-grain breads and bran muffins and to your produce offering for easy-to-grab whole fruits, salads or personal-size cut fruit and veggie plates.
Let Them Eat Snacks
Health-conscious eaters aren’t superhuman—they still get cravings just like the rest of us. Give them snack options they can feel good about giving into, many of which aren’t too far off from what you’re likely already stocking. Got chips? Try Barbeque Popchips that taste great but have less fat than regular potato chips. Got sugary granola bars covered in chocolate? Try Delicious, all-natural snacks like Sensible Foods Crunch Dried Fruit which have less than 100 calories and provide 2-4 servings of fruit. Got jerky? Try organic options or low-sodium versions of the brands you’re already stocking. Just reshelf them near the rest of your healthy options, and your healthy snackers might take the bait.
Be the Bridge
Convenience retailers are used to being a bridge in their customers’ lives between home and work, work and play, point A and point B. For people searching for a bridge between dining out and eating at home, the convenience channel can cross that divide, too. Consider offering healthy prepared meals people can snag on their way home from work. Or capitalize on the emergence of meal-kits made up of fresh, unprocessed ingredients boxed with recipes people can whip up without planning. As meal-kit providers expand, they’re looking for new distribution options. C-stores may be a perfect fit.
Not Just Nutrition
Health-conscious shoppers are concerned not only with nutritional value, but also societal value. They care that the companies that make the products they eat are natural, non-GMO, and organic. They also care how that sourcing impacts the environment. Select products that prioritize these benefits and then do what you can with in-store signage to communicate that to your customers.
This post is sponsored by Associated Distributors