MIAMI – More and more traditional c-stores are revamping their offerings, selling more salads than chips and more almond milk than soft drinks. It’s hard to even call it a trend anymore. Just consider the variety of c-stores out there with millennial and health-focused markets:
- Green Zebra in Portland, Oregon offers kombucha slushies with flavors such as pineapple ginger and marionberry mint, a pickup spot for customers with pre-ordered weekly boxes of fresh produce from local farms, and gluten-free flour bins in bulk.
- Products in The Goods Mart in Silver Lake, California, are free of artificial flavors and dyes, nitrates and genetically modified ingredients. Customers can buy an avocado for 50 cents and “ugly fruit” from a partnership with a local farmer.
- Choice Market in Denver created its own delivery app for customers who want their gourmet sandwich, organic produce or craft beer on demand.
- Mendez Fuel in Miami is blending the old and the new: Customers can still get cigarettes and lottery tickets at the store, but also vegan empanadas, high-end dark chocolate and grain-free tortilla chips.
An article distributed by the Associated Press quoted Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic initiatives, about the changes. He noted that while only 200 of the 154,000 U.S. c-stores are making shifts catering toward millennials, the numbers are likely to grow. In fact, Green Zebra just announced plans to open two dozen more locations on the West Coast.
“I don't believe it's a passing fad,” said David Portalatin, food industry adviser for trend group NPD. "People bring the same demand for convenience, but with a whole new set of food values to go along with it."