DALLAS-- 7-Eleven Inc. has upped its packaged snacks game with the introduction of a new selection of gourmet, organic and better-for-you snacks, including dry-roasted edamame, organic trail mix, veggie chips and premium nut blends.
7-Eleven has studied dining trends that show consumers are snacking more often than ever. For the last several years, designated meal times have given way to multiple eating opportunities. Instead of three meals, the day's eating occasions have morphed into all-day snacking for many. And while eating several smaller mini-meals may be perceived as healthier, and consumers express preferences for more nutritional snacks, the reality is that they choose both better-for-you and indulgent snacks. The challenge, said 7-Eleven, is to find snacks that fill both needs.
7-Eleven stores now offer a broader assortment that reflects consumer desires for snacks made with premium ingredients and more healthful options, but also at competitive prices.
Displayed together at participating 7-Eleven stores, the new assortment includes the company's 7-Select private brand along with nationally branded, upscale snacks, some making their debut at a convenience retailer. Competitively priced in comparison with other retailers, the single-serve and shareable portions range in cost from $1.49 to $4.99.
The centerpiece of the new snack selection is a collection of 13 bulk-type 7-Select snacks. Flavored trail mixes, nuts, dried fruits and veggie chips are packaged in clear, plastic containers with minimal labeling so the contents can be seen easily. This type of packaging reflects a trend that has found traction in high-end grocery store: premium snacks in generic containers typically displayed near the bulk food, fresh produce or prepared food departments.
"Better-for-you is one of the fastest-growing segments of the snacking category," said Rebecca Frechette, a 7-Eleven vice president of merchandising. "People are snacking throughout the day, and they're looking for ways to improve what they eat without sacrificing taste. Our selection includes our own 7-Select line of trail mixes and snacks alongside top-shelf and gourmet brands that you might not expect to find in a convenience store."
"Our goal is to provide great tasting, healthy food options at an outstanding, everyday value to our guests," added Frechette. "These are still tough economic times, and we are passionate about providing our guests with a broad assortment at great prices."
The new 7-Select snacks, sold mostly in 7-ounce containers that contain multiple servings, are priced from $2.49 to $3.99 and include:
- Raisin & Nut Trail Mix: Raisins, peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and pepitas.
- Santa Fe-Style Trail Mix: Peanuts, roasted corn, chili crackers, sesame sticks, chili lemon sticks and pepitas.
- Organic Nature's Trail Mix: Pepitas, soy nuts, sunflower seeds, cranberries, dates and raisins.
- Tropical Trail Mix: Dates, raisins, dried pineapple, banana chips, dried papaya and coconut.
- Berry Trail Mix: Peanuts, dried cranberries, raisins, golden raisins, almonds and walnuts.
- Veggie Chips: Yellow and purple sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, taro and green beans.
- Dried Fruit Blend: apricots, mango, kiwi, pineapple, cherries and apples.
- Chocolate Nut Mix: Peanuts, raisins, chocolate candy pieces, golden raisins, cashews.
- Raw Almonds: Whole natural almonds.
- Banana Chips: Crispy dried bananas.
- Yogurt-Covered Pretzels. Pretzels in a yogurt coating.
- Chocolate Pretzels: Pretzels in a chocolate coating.
7-Eleven's premium snack section also features high-quality, name-brand snacks more commonly found in gourmet and organic grocery stores. Indeed, for several of these food companies – Skinny Pop All-Natural Popcorn, Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame and Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps – 7-Eleven marks their first venture into a convenience store setting. Nationally branded items being introduced are:
- Sahale Snacks: Honey Almond, Pomegranate Pistachio, Maple Pecan, and Cashew with Vanilla gourmet nut mixes.
- Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips: Original flavor (sweet potato, parsnip, batata, taro and yucca).
- Pretzel Crisps: Original, Buffalo, Jalapeno flavors.
- Stacy's Pita Chips: Simply Naked, Cinnamon Sugar, Parmesan Garlic flavors.
- Stacy's C'est La Cheese Flavored Pita Crisps.
- Skinny Pop All-Natural Low-Calorie Popcorn.
- Popcorn, Indiana: Movie Theater Popcorn in microwaveable "Warm Your Corn" packaging and Kettle Korn.
- Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame.
- Harvest Snaps Snapea Original Green Pea Crisps.
"Our goal was to create a selection of great-tasting, upscale snacks while still providing our guests with value," Frechette said. "Our prices are comparable to those found at other retail channels, like supermarkets and discount mass-merchandise stores. I think people will be pleasantly surprised not only by the selection and quality of the snacks we are adding, but also the value we offer."
Before rolling out the premium and better-for-you snack selection nationally, 7-Eleven tested dozens of snack items in a select group of stores in business centers and residential neighborhoods with differing demographics and traffic patterns. The offer proved popular across all segments, and 7-Eleven narrowed the final product mix to reflect test stores' top sellers.
"Many of our customers want to indulge without feeling guilty when they grab a snack," Frechette said. "Or they want a healthier choice without giving up taste. These new snacks provide the best of both worlds."
Dallas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses nearly 10,200 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven has some 51,000 stores in 16 countries. During 2012, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $84.8 billion.