Trends in C-Store Food Service: Supporting Health and Wellness
Across industries, from food to beauty products, to vacation recreation and home construction, consumers are increasingly focusing on promoting their own health, wellness, and longevity with their purchasing decisions. While your local c-store customers may not be looking to utilize a sauna or plunge pool on their next visit, their food choices are reflecting this increased attention on wellness more and more.
Supporting Health and Wellness in C-Stores
Healthy options, and “health-food” brands aren’t exactly new. But today’s consumers are looking beyond the generic “healthier” alternatives to traditional foods, and seeking foods and products that support their specific wellness goals. This provides an opportunity to offer a variety of products tailored to different lifestyles and health needs. Consumers are expecting these choices more and more, and they are expecting them at an affordable price point.
Striving for Balanced Wellness
In the past, healthy foods, or foods aimed to support “wellness,” generally had a few similar goals. The biggest aim was losing weight – which took many forms, depending on the latest research, fad diets, or marketing initiatives (low fat, low carb, sugar free, no trans fats, etc.). While weight loss, and preventing weight gain, are still at the top of the list for health food purchase motivation, consumers are focusing more and more on a balanced approach to wellness that considers more factors in their bodies and lives.
Foods intended to support balanced wellness for the entire body and mind (supporting weight loss, organ function, psychological wellbeing, and more) are becoming continually more popular. It isn’t enough for healthy food options to simply be “better for you” than their snack-food counterparts any longer.
Consumers are seeking products that will support their bodies and minds for peak performance – this doesn’t always mean cutting calories or going for a “low-fat” version. Specific options to support immune function, digestive health, heart health, and mental well-being are at the top of consumer concerns currently.
More than ever before, consumers are relating their mental well-being with their food an beverage choices. In fact, 48% of consumers reported that they plan to address their mental health proactively in 2023 – with nutrition and supplements being part of those plans. Stocking a wide variety of wellness focused food products will help c-stores rise to consumer expectations and be in position to benefit from this trend.
In addition to food products, specifically, the dietary supplement market continues to grow as well. With a growth rate of nearly 9% CAGR, and the vast majority of sales coming from brick and mortar retailers, grocery and convenience store chains continue to see dietary supplements as a growing source of revenue.
Knowing what types of supplements to stock is paramount, though. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, we are seeing continued growth in the supplement market overall, but especially in the subcategories of bone/joint health, eye/vision health, and hydration products. Supplements aimed at staying mentally sharp are on the rise among the younger cohorts as well.
One theme that is impacting the nutritional foods segment though, is the push for more affordable options. As c-stores became an even greater staple for consumers during the pandemic, as an option for groceries, household items, and more when other stores were shuttered – consumers have come to expect a wider variety of products, at the same low price points they are used to.
Consumers are continuing to become more educated about nutritional foods, and are looking both for cheaper, simpler, whole food options (fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.) as well as lower priced “health food” products. Increasing the availability of these options allows consumers to complete their shopping trips without traveling to a second store, and increases basket values for c-stores.
Supporting Consumer Health and Wellness
It’s clear that the trends in favor of personalized nutrition and balanced health and wellness, are here to stay. The fact that more than half of consumers report being willing to pay a premium for functional food products that support their health goals presents an enormous opportunity for c-stores to step up and fill that gap. Supporting consumer health and wellness is a win-win – healthier, happier customers, and increased revenue.
2023-2024 Food Trends Guide: Now Available!
See our complete 2023-2024 Convenience Store Food Trends guide for more insights that can help you grow sales in your stores.