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01/06/2023

PHOTO GALLERY: Hangry Planet Redefines Traditional Convenience Store Concept

The first-ever fully plant-based c-store retailer is looking to expand.
Danielle Romano
Managing Editor
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Logo for Hangry Planet

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — Coming across an undercover investigation into organic dairy farms by Animal Recovery Mission inspired actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Bobak Bakhtiari to launch Hangry Planet, North America's first fully plant-based convenience store.

Hangry Planet offers carefully curated snacks, meals, certified organic desserts and more that are sourced and vetted to assure that every product in the store is sustainable, animal product free and cruelty free. This offers a unique experience for mindful consumers who can now shop with a clear conscience and no "fine-print" ingredients or farming reading required, according to Bakhtiari.

"As an ecstatic steak and dairy/cheese enthusiast, I was abruptly buzz-killed by the reality of rampant abuse on dairy farms and how I have been blindly fueling abuse via traditional embrace of food choices," he told Convenience Store News. "Further research on factory farming via AnimalEquality.org solidified the vision to prove that cruelty-free dining can be delicious and can also contribute to more optimal personal health and planet health.

"With Hangry Planet, I sought to affirm that we truly don't need to support stealing baby calves from mom to offer cheese, dairy or dairy-containing c-store snacks to humans," he explained.

A Craveable Experience

Located at the Tanforan Shell station at 1199 El Camino Real in San Bruno, Hangry Planet occupies nearly 1,500 square feet. It took nearly six months to bring the concept to fruition.

The mission of Hangry Planet is to "transform the compulsive junk food milieu of traditional c-stores into healthy havens of grab-and-go meal yumminess."

"The San Francisco Bay Area felt like the right location [to debut this concept] because of the growing momentum and affinity toward plant-based cuisine in the area, and the accessibility of West Coast vendors that offer ample plant-based snacks and meals that are actually very tasty," Bakhtiari said.

Hangry Planet carries somewhere around 3,500 SKUs. A team of vastly different personalities has to audition items that ultimately Bakhtiari or Assistant Manager/Deputy Commander of Operation Nourish Joss Montiel will select to carry. Among the key criteria products must meet to be considered are caliber of yumminess and how processed it is.

The store offers a range of vegan and plant-based grab-and-go meal options, like the Hangry Bliss Breakfast Sando, which features Beyond Meat, JUST Egg and Follow Your Heart Cheese on a gluten-free bagel; hand pies like the Beyond Meat based mushroom-sausage scramble; Daiya plant-based burritos; Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers; and vegan empanadas.

On the beverage side, a Laird's Superfood machine serves up vegan hot cocoa and golden milk. Additionally, customers can access an array of prebiotic sodas and nine brands of kombucha.

Hangry Planet also fulfills the desire for sustainable and satiable desserts. Tapping local bakeries, the c-store offers certified organic vegan pastries from Black China Bakery, and artisan vegan cookies from Kerri Kreations, both based in Santa Cruz. There are also vegan doughnuts made from locally sourced ingredients from Oakland's Donut Farm.

And because no convenience store is complete without craveable snacks, the market stays stocked with healthy, plant-based snacks that champion Hangry Planet's "Feel Beautiful, Not Junky" tagline. The offering includes a range of vegan and plant-based candy bars from Go Max Go Foods that boast attributes such as gluten free, non-GMO ingredients, no corn syrup, no artificial ingredients and non-dairy chocolate.

Hangry Planet isn't just limited to the store either. Outside, Bakhtiari has created a regional hotspot known for colorful and comical sculptures, live music and a VR Car Wash, a touchless tunnel car wash that offers cinematic and immersive experiences.

As part of the brand's mission, Hangry Planet leverages health education, sustainability and animal rights through partnerships, as well as the retailer's 10 percent social impact giving, whereby 10 percent of every sale goes to several different charities supporting animal and human rights, schools, orphanages, and impoverished communities globally.

Destination: Growth

So far, the customer response to Hangry Planet has been "overwhelmingly positive," Bakhtiari reported, and also very curious, prompting him to build a resource site called AnimalJoy.org to answer frequently asked questions.

"At Hangry Planet, we don't preach veganism, we bedazzle taste buds with very yummy food that's also much less processed than the average c-store," he said. "Outside of the plant-based agenda, right off the bat, there was a growing community of folks excited that we're not trying to slowly murder customers with high-volume junk food, but that 'Feel Beautiful, Not Junky' is at the forefront of the mission with more abundantly healthy options."

Bakhtiari noted that once the vegan community zeroed in on the store, Hangry Planet became more of a destination. For that reason, sales are more robust now than they had been.

With Hangry Planet's growing popularity, Bakhtiari plans to open more locations. He's been approached about expansion investment and is currently in talks to introduce a store to the Ann Arbor, Mich., area.

"While it appears the c-store milieu is a great pipeline for expansion as health takes a greater priority, there's also talks about opening a larger grocery store that fuels planet- and animal-friendly choices on a grander scale," he said.

About the Author

Danielle Romano
Danielle Romano is Managing Editor of Convenience Store News. Read More