C-stores Pilot Better-for-You Snack Opportunities

health and wellness

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, conducted two case studies to provide insights into how retailers can increase sales of better-for-you snacks in convenience stores.

The case studies, titled “Healthy Checkout Pilot Test” and “Better-for-You Planogram Pilot Test,” were developed by NACS in conjunction with the Project on Nutrition and Wellness (PNW) and the Cornell Food and Brand Lab (CFBL).

The two studies were developed to help demonstrate to retailers some potential low-cost strategies that can help them increase sales of “better-for-you” items, which are already experiencing strong growth in stores, according to NACS.

In early January, NACS announced that growth in healthy food and beverages sales led to positive overall sales at convenience stores in 2017, and retailers expect the momentum to continue in 2018. More than two in three convenience retailers (69 percent) said that foodservice sales increased last year, and 61 percent said that sales of better-for-you items experienced sales gains.

Healthy Checkout Pilot Test

NACS and Utah State University launched a healthy checkout pilot test at the university’s on-campus convenience stores to determine whether sales of healthier items would increase when placed near the register or checkout area.

The test examined whether impulse purchasing of healthier items would increase if those items were placed next to or near the checkout area. Items selected for the test conformed to U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are released every five years by the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services

Through placement of items and signage, test results showed that moving better-for-you options to the checkout area, and calling attention to their healthy attributes, can increase sales of these items.

“Healthy Checkout Pilot Test” is available here.

Better-for-You Planogram Pilot Test

NACS and E-Z Mart Inc. launched a pilot test at the retailer’s stores to determine whether integrating healthier or better-for-you snacks into a traditional snacks display can nudge consumers into purchasing healthier snacks.

The test was based on the principle of the “behavioral interrupt,” where something unexpected or novel is introduced at the point of decision to influence the outcome of the decision. For testing, “better-for-you” snacks were co-merchandized with traditional snack offerings.

“Both the healthy checkout and better-for-you planogram tests showed that low-cost tactics can be implemented at convenience stores to grow sales of healthier foods. And, because most of these items were packaged and had a long shelf life, the tests also showed that success with selling packaged better-for-you items could be an affordable entry point and lead to a to a more robust fresh offer,” said NACS Director of Strategic Initiatives Carolyn Schnare.

“What works in some stores may not work across all stores, but the success of these tests clearly shows that convenience stores can be a destination of choice for better-for-you items,” she added.

Better-for-You Planogram Pilot Test” is available here for download.

“Healthy Checkout Pilot Test” and “Better-for-You Planogram Pilot Test” are from a set of six case studies that look at strategies to grow sales related to “better-for-you” snacks, meals and beverages. NACS will release results of the meals-related case studies on Jan. 24 and beverage-related case studies on Jan. 31.