Historically, 7-Eleven stores have been known for their artificial, unhealthy, mass-produced food and drink options. Slurpees and Big Gulps have been featured prominently at every location in America. Now, though, 7-Eleven and other convenience store brands are transitioning away from the sugary sodas and embracing healthier options. The Washington Post reported that 7-Eleven is about to begin selling cold-pressed juice, along with a host of other options that are organic, vegan, and fair trade.
This appears to be part of a long-term trend. Convenience stores everywhere are changing how they do business. The National Association of Convenience Stores told the Post that nearly 50 percent of all convenience stores added to their their fruit and vegetable offerings in 2017, often replacing junk food with yogurts, granola bars, salads and the like.
“There is a convenience store in every community in America,” said Amaris Bradley, director of partnerships at Partnership for a Healthier America. “If you can transform that industry, you can make healthy options more accessible for a lot of people.”
7-Eleven is the world’s largest convenience store chain with over 10,000 locations in the U.S. alone. They’ve led the charge, introducing a new line of food products under the “Go!Smart” banner. Other store chains have followed suit. For example, the Midwestern chain Kwik Trip has hired an in-house dietitian in the hopes of introducing newer, healthier food options.
One downside to this health revolution: It’s harder for smaller businesses to keep up. Large chains like 7-Eleven and Kwik Trip have the distribution networks and other resources needed to retool their food offerings; more independent stores can’t do so as easily.
They’ll need to try, though. The traditional top-selling items in the food industry over the years—namely cigarettes, soda, and gas—are all on the decline, and the challenge for the industry in the coming years will be one of adaptation to a changing status quo.