Not too long ago, the convenience store was considered a quick, one-stop shop for picking up unhealthy snacks, common grocery items such as milk and maybe an ice cold sugary drink. Now that the primary consumer demographic consists of health-focused and ethical millennials, convenience store chains have been updating their offerings to appeal to their preferences. A new convenience store called The Goods Mart is innovating in this category by offering only healthy and sustainable items, while other major convenience store chains are catching up to this trend as well.
The new 900-square-foot convenience store is located in Silver Lake, California and it offers over 300 eco-friendly food alternatives. All items sold in The Goods Mart are free from artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, growth hormones, GMOs, and pesticides. The store also reduces the need for plastics by serving most of their drinks in recycled paper cups and their website claims that they will never sell single-serve plastic bottles. In addition, The Goods Mart has partnered with a charity called Lunch on Me, that will donate unsold food items within 24-hours of expiration to the homeless. The convenience store is also utilizing the tip function at the cash register for customers to donate to a local charity that is alternated every quarter.
“Right now, if you go to a traditional convenience store, you likely have to choose between what’s better for you out of things that are not the best,” Rachel Krupa, store founder and Los Angeles-based food and wellness publicist, told Moneyish. “From snacks to butter, and toilet paper to shampoo, every item we stock has been hand-curated for amazing taste or function and ethical eco-responsible practices.”
Krupa seems to be targeting this new market the right way by offering ethical food alternatives instead of completely niche products. From organic slushies to fair trade coffee in paper cups, The Goods Mart has an alternative to almost every traditional convenience store offering. With 52 percent of organic shoppers being millennials, they are likely to be Krupa’s main customer demographic. About 94 percent of Americans claim to snack at least once a day with millennials being the largest snacking group, known for snacking about four or more times a day. This means that there is a lot of potential for The Goods Mart to be the new go-to snack shop for millennials within the Silver Lake community.
At a national scale, major convenience store chains have also picked up on consumer trends. Convenience store giant 7-Eleven, known for their sugary snack offerings and large slushies, recently started offering their own line of GO! Smart smoothies, fruit cups, yogurt cups and salads. Other popular convenience store chains that are expanding their offerings to include fresh and healthy snacks include Ricker’s, Wawa, Fas Mart, Family Express and Rutter’s.
Although Krupa hopes her new convenience store concept will go mainstream, she has two major obstacles to overcome. Grocery giant Whole Foods may be her biggest competition as it is just as easy to visit Whole Foods for healthy and ethical snack products as it is to visit her store. However, she believes that her store integrates community better than major retailers with food offerings from local suppliers. With many consumers claiming to appreciate locally-sourced foods, The Goods Mart has an advantage in this segment as many major grocery stores usually source foods from leading brands. Another challenge that The Goods Mart might face is the growing popularity of online grocery shopping, where niche snack products are available in bulk and delivered right to consumers’ homes. However, The Goods Mart offers a charity aspect in its shopping experience, which gives customers a sense of pride when they contribute to their local charities. This addition to the experience might sway consumers to shop at The Goods Mart more frequently as they are able to purchase their desired products immediately while contributing to their community.
If this new concept picks up, we will likely see new healthy and ethical convenience store chains in the future. Krupa plans to expand her innovative convenience store chain across the US.
“I don’t want to stop with it just in Silver Lake,” she said. “The goal is to pop up in areas that need better food that’s more accessible.”