Kwik Trip Gets Fruity

The convenience retailer shares its ‘Kwik’ approach to growing produce sales.

April 19, 2021

Fruit Cup

LA CROSSE, Wisc.—Convenience retailers are increasingly emphasizing fresh and healthy food for people on the go, and Kwik Trip is no exception.

In a recent blog post, the La Crosse, Wisconsin-based retailer shared an initiative to increase offerings of healthy foods. Starting in 2021, Kwik Trip Kitchens has been directly packaging fresh fruit for Kwik Trip and Kwik Star c-stores to “better control of quality and freshness,” producing about 15,000 units per day.

Prepackaged cups of cantaloupe, grapes, pineapple and watermelon were the first to roll out. These will be followed by cups of blueberries, kiwi and strawberries and mixed fruit.

“Later this spring, the kitchens will start packaging 16-ounce fruit trays, 12-ounce and six-ounce veggie trays of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, as well as carrots and dip and another with apples and caramel,” according to the blog post.

“Kwik Trip is placing more emphasis on selling better-for-you products within our stores, as an effective way to continue to grow sales, increase profitability and offer our guests fresh product, at a great value,” said Brad Clarkin, production operations director at Kwik Trip. It’s “all about fresh, quality products.”

For more than 30 years, Kwik Trip has been focused on providing healthier options. “It’s what we’ve become known for,” said Erica Haight, nutrition label specialist for food research and development, during the NACS Crack the Code session, Bananas and Donuts: Good vs. Healthy vs. Fresh. “We noticed a potential opportunity especially in the morning daypart with guests coming in and buying coffee and pastries—offering produce to go along with it seemed like a good idea,” she said.

In 2014, Kwik Trip became the first convenience retailer to sign its first three-year commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to promote healthier choices. In 2016, PHA and Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama recognized Kwik Trip as the first convenience store to complete its commitment to expand healthier options across its stores.

Kwik Trip has long been a leader in produce sales. Back in 2016 it sold an estimated 400 pounds of bananas per store per day. What’s that look like? There are about 2.5 bananas per pound, so that means 1,000 bananas sold per store per day—or one banana sold every 86 seconds around the clock.

Kwik Trip makes and packages take-home meals and pizzas at its La Crosse campus. The bakery makes between 25 and 30 different items each day, and every gallon of milk is bottled within 24 hours of reaching Kwik Trip’s dairy facility.

During the early months of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Kwik Trip processed excess milk supplies from local dairy farmers at its own dairy plant, then worked with State Farm agents to distribute vouchers for free milk to people in need.

Kwik Trip and its adoption of healthy foods is featured in Ideas 2 Go.

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