When you think of convenience store food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Bags of potato chips? Soda fountains and slushie machines? Hot dogs that have been sitting on the roller since yesterday? Put simply, they aren’t exactly known for offering the healthiest, freshest foods.
That being said, nearly one third of today’s consumers buy food or beverages from convenience stores at least once a week, with c-store food and beverage sales accounting for approximately 28% of the $11.2 billion retail food service channel. Just as today’s consumers have changed their eating habits to be healthier, convenience stores have also improved their food and drink offerings to provide more fresh and healthy options, as they look to shed their “junk food only” image and attract more shoppers.
In an article on FoodBusinessNews.net, Donna Hood Crecca, senior director for the research firm Technomic, says convenience stores are feeling the pressure of the changing food landscape. “As more c-store brands increase focus on offering a wider variety of fresh, high-quality foods and competition heats up across the segment, understanding the convenience store food service landscape has never been more important.”
As a matter of fact, one of the biggest advocates for these new and improved convenience stores comes right from our home state of Wisconsin. Kwik Trip convenience stores, headquartered in La Crosse, WI, has been leading the charge on healthy convenience store offerings for several years now. Kwik Trip convenience stores are known for selling fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, baked goods, and other hot and ready meals as a part of their EatSmart Program, which provides higher-quality food items and places an extra emphasis on their food’s nutrition labels so consumers know exactly what they’re getting.
With convenience store chains like Kwik Trip seeing great success with their fresh and healthy food offerings, other convenience store operators would be wise to follow suit and appeal to today’s health-conscious consumers. An easy way to start is by offering fresher, healthier alternatives to the classic junk food offerings that c-stores are known for. Convenience store chains that are ready to improve the healthiness of their hot meals and on-the-go food options should look no further than Grande Custom Ingredients Group for help.
Using our line of natural whey protein products, convenience store chains can add a natural protein-boost to their various food and beverage applications, and do it all without changing their products’ taste, texture, or appearance. Whether they want to add a crunchy, protein-packed granola to their yogurt, or provide a fat-free dipping sauce to go along with their hot food options, our line of whey protein products has a solution for just about any application. Better yet, our natural production process ensures our protein isn’t made with any chemical modifications, additives, preservatives, or antibiotics – something 70% of Americans say they don’t want in their foods.
Take Grande Bravo® whey protein concentrate, for example. Our functional whey protein is the ideal ingredient to enhance a variety of c-store items, including soups, dipping sauces, dressings, spreads, and more. Its unique water-holding functionality enables the partial or full replacement of ingredients such as cream, fat, butter, and cream cheese that are typically high in fat – and cost – without altering the product’s intended texture or mouthfeel. Click here to see how Grande Bravo lightened up a chipotle cream sauce recipe.
To find out more about how our natural whey protein products can help your convenience store chain create healthier food options in your stores, make sure you check out our applications page, or talk to our team of food science experts today!