Retailer News / News

7-Eleven Eyes Healthy Food In Growth

January 2, 2013

Less than a month after its parent company announced plans to double private brand sales in the next three years, 7-Eleven officials told the New York Times that they planned to double their sales of fresh foods in North American outlets.

Early in December, Seven & I Holdings Co. told the Japan Times that it was aiming to push private brand sales to 1 trillion yen in fiscal 2015, up from 490 billion yen in fiscal 2012. The Japan-based company reported private brand sales were up 16.7 percent company-wide in fiscal 2012 from a year earlier, with penetration at 8 percent. It hopes to reach 14 percent to 15 percent in fiscal 2015.

To achieve the goal, corporate officials told the Japan Times they would expand their lineup of higher-priced deli and vegetables to target single individuals and the elderly.

Seemingly continuing that theme, 7-Eleven CEO Joseph DePinto told the New York Times that the company wanted to push the fresh foods envelope in the U.S. and Canada over that time period. The company has more than 7,500 outlets in the U.S. among its 48,000 stores worldwide.

“We’re aspiring to be more of a food and beverage company,” DePinto told the Times.

Among the changes 7-Eleven has made, the Times said, was bringing in experts from around the industry to help change the focus. That includes Senior Director of Food Innovation Anne Readhimer, who came along in May after working for Yum Brands, and Senior Manager of Fresh Food Innovation Lori Primavera, who spent times at a consulting firm for restaurant companies called Food and Drink Resources.

The result is more innovation and more single-serve sizes of items such as jelly doughnuts and tacos, the story said.

The biggest challenge for 7-Eleven will be distribution. A story by The Packer talked about the need for daily foodservice deliveries for fresh foods, rather than the once- or twice-weekly deliveries that many convenience stores currently get.

“They are as good as their distributors,” Meyer & Associates President Dick Meyer told the magazine.

“Product has an opportunity to find the good operators,” Nielsen Perishables Group Executive Vice President Steve Lutz told The Packer. “If you have (successful operators) and distribution daily so things are fresh, boy, you can sell them anything.”

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