Convenience Store News

NOV 2016

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26 Guide to Foodservice | WWW.CSNEWS.COM scale (taking drop size and fre- quency into account), and fresh products have a shorter shelf life. Hence, single stores face barriers such as: a lack of physical access to quality produce suppliers; qual- ity produce that is prohibitively expensive; minimum purchase requirements; and problems related to distance, such as rural stores not being able to afford delivery fees or order fresh products that require refrigerated trucks. Additionally, some c-store own- ers themselves may perceive that their customers don't want produce from a c-store. Cultural barriers can include language barriers, and the desire for produce specific only to a particular cultural diet, Maglio pointed out. There's good news, though, in that solutions do exist for those c-store retailers wanting to put in the effort. They can partner with distributors that already deliver non-perishable products to their stores such as frozen foods, or form cooperative purchasing agreements to create "power in numbers," according to the speakers. Store owners should also be aware that consumer sensitivity to price is changing. People are becoming more willing to pay higher prices for attributes they find desirable. While shelf life remains an issue, suppliers to the convenience store industry are getting more innovative, designing new packaging and imple- menting new processes to extend shelf life. For instance, pre-packaged produce, rather than whole produce, looks more enticing to customers, is more convenient to eat, and address- es food-safety concerns. Maglio recommends that c-store suppliers and distributors provide initial training to store owners and their staff, along with promotional items and signage for fresh products. Lastly, the presenters noted that "healthy corner store" initiatives exist to provide financial incentives and assistance to c-stores wanting to put in the effort. Such programs include the Healthy Corner Stores Network, and the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. CSN

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