C-Store Food Is Changing for the Better

At this year's NACS Show, NACS and the Partnership for a Healthier America announced new initiatives to bring more healthy choices to convenience stores.

October 24, 2017

NEW YORK – Forbes wrote last week that if a consumer’s current perception of convenience store food is a “mayonnaise mixed with mayonnaise salad in a plastic box, petrified meatsicles on a roller and enriched uranium-appearing nacho cheese,” the reality of what c-stores are really serving is quite different.

“As Stephanie Strom reported five years ago for The New York Times, various convenience stores such as 7-Eleven have been trying to stock healthier food options. And at this year's [NACS] Show, the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and NACS just announced new initiatives to bring more healthy food to convenience stores,” writes Forbes.

As the Forbes author wrote previously in the Huffington Post, “You are where you eat because you tend to eat what is around you,” and there’s a convenience store in most communities throughout the United States.

“In fact, for many locations such as low income urban neighborhoods that are food … convenience stores are the only available and accessible food sources. Indeed, according to the NACS, 93% of Americans live within 10 minutes of a convenience store. The 154,535 convenience stores in the U.S. collectively serve close to 160 million customers each day. That means for over half the population, the answer to the question, ‘where the heck were you yesterday?’ could be, ‘at a convenience store,’” writes Forbes.

The news source continues that convenience stores are a major source of food for many Americans, which is why NACS forged a partnership this summer with PHA to help improve the availability of healthier foods in convenience stores.

Last week at the NACS Show, NACS and PHA announced two new cobranded programs to help NACS members provide more visibility to healthier choices inside their stores:

  • The Healthier Product Calculator is an online resource that allows convenience retailers to easily identify items that meet the PHA Healthier Food & Beverage Product Criteria. The online tool will help retailers more confidently develop better-for-you store sets and make healthier food choices more accessible to the 160 million customers who shop at convenience stores every day.
  • NACS is now an official partner of PHA’s Drink Up campaign, which encourages Americans to drink more water, more often. With convenience stores selling approximately 50% of the country’s single-serve bottled water, the three-year partnership will give NACS members the opportunity to access Drink Up marketing collateral and point of sale materials through a digital hub to help drive sales of bottled water in stores.

“Convenience stores could play an important role in changing the diets of many Americans for the better, which is urgently needed since, if you haven't heard, we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic,” writes Forbes, adding that with continued changes in the convenience store industry, the familiar saying by Saturday Night Live’s Church Lady—"Well, isn't that convenient!"—could be more in line with c-stores offering more healthy food and beverages.