Adding nutritious food options to your C-store might attract health-conscious shoppers.
Adding nutritious food options to your C-store might attract health-conscious shoppers.

Staying healthy while on the road isn’t always easy, as your primary food options are often fast meals and processed snacks. However, with culture placing a heavy emphasis on diets rich in nutrients, some C-stores have found an opportunity. In addition to typical offerings, many business owners are outfitting their shops with healthier foodstuffs.

Skewing healthy
Winsight’s 2017 Convenience Retailing Trends Forecast predicted that more C-stores would embrace healthy options in the next 12 months. The trend is influenced by consumer behaviors, as more individuals look for nutritious snack and fast meal offerings. In fact, Foodnavigator pointed out that 53 percent of surveyed individuals would stop at C-stores more often if they had healthy foods.

As such, stocking shelves with produce, nuts, seeds, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and other items can attract health-conscious buyers. Beyond that, some businesses are even offering pre-made meals that are more nutrient-dense than your standard C-store hotdog.

Balancing options and ROI
The largest obstacles for C-store owners interested in selling healthier fare are cost and space. Fresh produce, for instance, is often only sold in large batches and goes bad quickly, increasing shrink. On top of that, some fresh ingredients require refrigerated storage that may be bulky. However, mitigating these issues can mean more profits for business owners.

According to CSP Magazine, some C-stores are partnering with other retailers to get access to fresh foods. For instance, you could connect with vendors that provide produce to local grocery stores. What’s more, the source pointed out that the way you organize your store can encourage sales of perishable goods. Just as supermarkets place produce sections in the front of the store, you, too, can locate your healthy goods by the entrance. This brings these options to top of mind whenever someone walks inside. Additionally, store some goods near your counter to entice nutritious upsells. Bananas, apples and other choices that don’t require refrigeration are ideal.

Where you place healthy foods isn’t the only indicator of success. Use your store’s metrics and industry research to inform other choices related to food. For instance, women C-store customers are more likely than men to look for healthy snacks. Knowing that, pay attention to when women visit your store and the other things they purchase. This will help you nail down produce-delivery slots and shelf locations most likely to entice women shoppers.

When it comes to space, you may have to do some planning. For store owners who don’t have available square footage, consolidating cold storage to make room for new offerings may be necessary.

Getting the word out
Once you have a plan in place for outfitting your C-store with healthy foods, you need to create hype around the changes. If customers seeking more snack options don’t know you have nutritious goods, they won’t stop in. For this reason, invest in marketing and branding efforts to spread the word.

The data collection you did to pick out the right foods and layout your store can be used again. For example, target women customers in your ads. You can attract more millennials by marketing online and on social media.

Also investigate successful campaigns outside of your industry. Take Subway: The fast-food chain was able to brand itself as the healthy option among similar restaurants with careful wording, interior design and advertising. Words like “fresh” are ideal branding tools when trying to establish a healthful image.