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7-Eleven Enters Functional Food Arena with Formula 7

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. is launching Formula 7, its own proprietary line of functional foods and beverages. The initial 7-Eleven product lineup includes bottled and canned beverages, as well as two nutritional bars, each designed specifically to enhance energy, fitness or endurance.

Functional foods are defined by the International Food Information Council as any food or food component that may have health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Fortified with vitamins, minerals, herbs, antioxidants, amino acids and other natural ingredients, the first wave of Formula 7 products available exclusively at participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide includes:

• Formula 7 Energy Drink in 16-ounce can; available in two flavors -- Cherry Lime Lightning and Super Citrus Charge; functional ingredients -- B vitamin complex, gingko biloba, inositol, taurine and caffeine
• Formula 7 Chocolate Crunch Energy Bar; functional ingredients -- B vitamin complex, bee pollen, green tea polyphenols and kola nut extract
Energy/Mental Focus
• Formula 7 Energy Beverage in 20-ounce bottles; available in two flavors -- Blood Orange and Raspberry Mint; functional ingredients -- Vitamins B and E complex, gingko biloba, green tea polyphenols, Siberian ginseng
• Formula 7 Chocolate Mocha Caramel Endurance Bar; functional ingredients -- essential B vitamins, whey and soy proteins, green tea polyphenols
• Formula 7 Fitness Beverage in 20-ounce bottles; available in two flavors -- Apple Rose and Natural Peach; functional ingredients -- B vitamin complex, green tea polyphenols, HCA and chromium

The suggested retail price for both the bottled beverages and bars is $1.79, and $2.49 for the canned energy drinks. Graphic icons representing the nutritional benefit provided by the product appear on the package and on in-store signage.

“Consumers are looking for ways to improve their health whether it's changing their diet, lifestyle or looking to vitamin supplements,” said Debbie Wildrick, product director for processed foods. “Formula 7 provides a great platform for us to develop additional items with specific attributes to enhance energy, endurance, wellness, strength and maybe more.”

Functional and fortified foods and beverages are the top-selling category of packaged consumer health and wellness goods, with sales reaching $23.4 billion in 2004, according to the National Marketing Institute. In a poll of food industry executives by Reuters Business Insight, functional foods were predicted to be the most successful healthy food products through 2009, with America following the lead of Asian-Pacific countries which have the greatest consumer acceptance of the role of nutritional and functional foods and beverages. 7-Eleven sales typically reflect national trends, and the energy drink category has achieved double-digit sales growth for several years. In addition, nutritional bars continue to grow in popularity.

“Formula 7 further expands our assortment of better-for-you offerings,” Wildrick said. “These new items deliver distinctive flavor profiles like our cherry lime-flavored energy drink, or the energy bar, which contains interesting ingredients and tastes great. Formula 7 provides performance products for mainstream consumers by offering value, taste and benefits.”
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