The New Frontier: RD Opportunities in C-stores

The New Frontier: RD Opportunities in C-stores

August 26, 2015

An increasing number of consumers are seeking healthy foods and beverages at convenience stores, creating not only an opportunity for manufacturers of these products to expand their reach, but a potential opportunity for retail RDN’s as well. 

A lot of the stereotypes of convenience stores are falling by the wayside “as more women and younger consumers are open-minded about what a convenience store is and can mean for them,” Donna Hood Crecca, Technomic senior director told Food Navigator.

Sharing results of a recent survey, she noted that while the “heavy users” of the channel still skew toward men “looking for a roller dog and Slurpee,” more than half of convenience store consumers are seeking more healthy items than a year ago – women being more interested than men. In addition, 53 percent said they would visit c-stores more if healthier foods were more available.

Kwik Trip is one example of a c-store leveraging the health and wellness trend. They’ve expanded their offerings of fruits and vegetables, including grab-and-go items as well as cut fruit and veggies that can be used to supplement dinners. Their Eat Smart program focuses on building better-for-you breakfasts and lunches based on food choices they carry in their stores. 7-Eleven has increased their offerings in fresh food and has lowered portions. They offer lunch options under 400 calories.  

As c-stores offer more food options, trying to increase profits by competing with fast food restaurants for breakfast and lunch and capturing consumers’ high interest in snacking throughout the day, there are definite opportunities for registered dietitian nutritionists to lead healthy living programs and services within these companies and stores.

If your retailer current owns a line of c-stores, connect with the leader of this division to discuss how your services or your team’s programs can be expanded into these outlets. Alternatively, if you are a consulting RDN or a dietitian interested in transitioning into a career in retail, develop a pitch for a national or local chain of c-stores, using retail grocery as a case study. Today’s edition of RDBA Weekly includes an article Pitch a Promotion, Create a Position that may help you in developing your recommendation in either situation.

Retail health and wellness is no longer limited to the grocery store and opportunities such as with c-stores can be an interesting way for dietitians to build long-term retail careers, drive business success for these companies, and impact public health all at the same time.