Are Americans ready for a c-store that sells only healthy foods?
Even as c-store operators integrate healthier snacks like protein bars, yogurt, fruits and vegetables onto their shelves, candy, chips and soda still tend to dominate. But in California, Rachel Krupa, founder of The Goods Mart, aims to change that with a c-store that only stocks a healthy and sustainable assortment.
The Goods Mart convenience store in Silver Lake, CA is a 900-square-foot space laid out much like a 7-Eleven, according to Moneyish. But the product mix consists of healthy and sustainable products like non-GMO pressed juices, “ugly” produce (to reduce food waste) and organic slushies. The store also features popular “natural” CPG brands like Annie’s Homegrown, Amy’s Kitchen, Cliff Bars and Kettle Brand chips.
While the shelf selection may look more like that of Whole Foods than a gas station c-store, Ms. Krupa told Moneyish she envisions the store being a neighborhood meeting place akin to the rural Michigan Sunoco station she visited as a child. She hopes to expand the store beyond a single location.
The Goods Mart concept arrives at a time when some of the biggest names in CPG have been rolling out better-for-you offerings to meet demands for healthy (or at least less unhealthy) snack foods. Last year, Hershey acquired Amplify Snack Brands, owner of SkinnyPop popcorn, and Campbell Soup acquired Snyder-Lance, owner of Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels.
Convenience stores remained a growth industry last year, according to the 2018 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. As of December 31, 2017, the total U.S. convenience store count rose 0.3 percent to a record 154,958 stores. Nielsen attributed the growth to a “focus on innovation, improved customer experience, assortment variation and healthy investments in food services.”
Shifting customer expectations and a focus on health may be driving the change in what c-stores are stocking and serving, but it seems likely that tech innovation is in part tied to concerns over potential disruption from Amazon.com. The tech giant’s cashier-less Amazon Go concept could impact both shopping and employment at c-stores. Perhaps in response to that pressure, 7-Eleven recently began piloting tech enhancements such as mobile app-based ordering, in-store pickup and delivery.
- The Goods Mart is disrupting traditional convenience stores with healthy foods and sustainable toiletries – Moneyish
- Hershey and Campbell splurge big on better-for-you acquisitions – RetailWire
- U.S. Convenience Stores Continue Growth – NACS
- Amazon Go goes live – RetailWire
- 7-Eleven goes omnichannel with mobile, BOPIS and delivery – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see potential for a store like The Goods Mart to grow into a major chain? How likely is it that a Goods Mart-like concept will be tested by a mainstream convenience store operator in the near future?