Making Healthier Convenient
Post by Nancy E. Roman, President and CEO, PHA (@nancyroman1)
When Jeff Lenard piped up in a meeting with the eye-popping fact that 160 million people shop in convenience stores on any given day, my eyes, well, they popped – as did my mind. Just to put it into perspective, that’s almost half of the U.S. population.
For the past five years at the Capital Area Food Bank, I had been exploring ways to get more and healthier foods into food deserts. Many brainstorms, studies, and strategy sessions later, we never realized that a possible solution was literally sitting right on the corner: convenience stores.
I had always thought of convenience stores as a quick stop on road trips, a place to pick up a magazine, and of course, my lifesaver when I needed a gallon of milk and the grocery store had already closed for the night. I had never considered that 7-Eleven or KwikTrip, or any other convenience store, could hold the key to access – a solution I’d been searching for my entire career.
- 160 million mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and children
- 154,535 convenience stores dot the country in both rural and urban communities
- 73 percent of PHA’s convenience store partners are smack dab in the center of food deserts
- Foodservice sales in convenience stores are $52 billion (or 22 percent of all convenience store sales)
The sheer reach and access is unparalleled and could be the key to fresher and healthier food options being made available to the 41.2 million people who live in food-insecure households.
That’s why now, at the helm of PHA, we are focused squarely on our partnership with NACS, representing the nation’s 154,000-plus convenience stores, to leverage its scale and to incentivize better food options.
And as Hank Armour CEO of NACS told me, “The runway is long,” on what PHA, convenience stores and its customers can do to get healthier food into households.
We’ve only just begun…