(Feb. 3) C-STORE PUSHES FRESHNESS

It’s no longer a stretch to say that consumers could pick up fresh salads at their nearest 7-Eleven convenience store.

On Dec. 4, the chain introduced a line of fresh products, including salads, that will be merchandised in 692 7-Eleven stores in Southern California. That brings the total number of stores involved in the fresh-food program nationwide to 4,700, or about 88% of the chain’s stores, according to an article by The Packer.

Dana Manley, spokeswoman for the chain, says the fresh-food program represents about 9% of the chain’s $8 billion in annual revenue. Deli and bakery items also are part of the program.

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

Spring begins in March so don’t miss the opportunity to build beautiful displays emphasizing the start of the season. Items like zucchini, yellow squash and asparagus in spring displays give consumers a sign that the seasons are about to change.

MAINTAIN YOUR MARKET SHARE

Learn how you can keep your customers and attract new ones by analyzing results from a customer survey from Vertis, Baltimore.

The company commissioned a survey of discount store shoppers called “Customer Focus 2002: Retail.” The biannual survey highlights consumers’ shopping habits, preferences and the impact of advertising inserts. Results are broken down by generations.

According to the survey, the top three factors in an enjoyable shopping experience are price (50%), quick checkout (45%) and large selection (40%). The least important are in-store computer assistance (11%), ability to shop online (11%) and in-store demonstrations (9%).

The survey also found that in 2002, 86% of adults said they read advertising inserts.

“Through our research, we have determined what consumers want from their shopping experience, who is more likely to shop at a discount department store such as Wal-Mart or Target, where they shop for certain products, and how advertising inserts influence their purchasing decisions,” says Therese Mulvey Vertis, vice president of strategic marketing, in a press release.

For a customized report, call Donovan Roche or Carla Marshall at (619) 234-0345.

OPPORTUNITIES AWAIT

Retailers in California could see increased sales if they do more promotions educating ethnic consumers, consumers with lower incomes and consumers with lower education levels about the 5 a Day message. Since next month is Nutrition Month, make the most of it with promotions surrounding the health message.

According to the California Dietary Practices Surveys done by the California Department of Health Services, the differences in daily fruit and vegetable consumption among these groups widened.

The study showed:

  • In 1989, blacks consumed four servings of fruits and vegetables a day. That dropped to 3.2 servings a day in 1999.

  • In 1989, less-educated Californians consumed 3.9 servings a day. That number dropped to 3.1 servings a day in 1999.
  • In 1999, Caucasians reported eating 3.9 servings a day.
  • In 1999, Latinos and Asian/Pacific Islanders reported eating 3.7 servings a day.
  • In 1999, more-educated Californians reported eating 4.5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

  • In 1999, Californians with lower incomes consistently reported eating fewer servings of produce (3.4 servings) than those with annual incomes greater than $50,000 (4.5 servings).


BACK TO THE BASICS

More grocery chains are making the switch to low-cost, no-frills format stores. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Montvale, N.J., a chain that operates 692 stores in the U.S. and Canada, has announced a long-range plan to convert a number of its stores to the Food Basics format, which is a limited-assortment, low-cost format. The stores’ produce departments are geared toward ethnicities in the surrounding communities and deli and meat departments only carry packaged products.

Richard De Santa, vice president of corporate affairs, says A&P has identified about 120 stores that might fit the profile for conversion to a Food Basics. He says the company will evaluate those stores and decide what ones it will convert over the next couple of years.

A&P has been testing the Food Basics format for four years, De Santa says, and it operates six Food Basics in New York and New Jersey. There are 22 corporate Food Basics and 66 franchised Food Basics throughout Ontario.