We see these trends as opportunities. The 2015
NACS report, “Health & Wellness Trends and Strategies for the Convenience Store Sector,” developed by
the Hudson Institute, recommends that convenience
store operators should look beyond simply meeting
the needs of their traditional
customers and embrace these
growing customer segments
that are demanding more
better-for-you items that can
be conveniently purchased.
“Convenience stores have an
opportunity to own convenient
foodservice—especially breakfast—when nutrition is considered most important,” said
report coauthor Hank Cardello.
(The report is available under
the resources tab at nacsonline.
com/refresh and summarized in
the October 2015 NACS Magazine cover story.)
Cereal, whether enjoyed for breakfast or dinner,
is not going away anytime soon. That’s also good
news for convenience stores because we sell the
milk and bananas that go along with it. La Crosse,
Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip alone sells about a
half a million bananas a day.
So while your initial reaction to millennials
admitting that they don’t want to clean up after
themselves may have made you bananas, their
embrace of convenience can make you bread.
Jeff Lenard is the NACS vice president of
strategic industry initiatives. He can be
reached at email@example.com or
I eat cereal nearly every morning for breakfast. A few
shakes of flakes, a cut-up banana and some milk and
I’m on my way. I find it a very convenient breakfast.
Plenty of others do as well, to the tune of $10 billion in
sales every year.
Yet, cereal sales also have fallen about 30% over
the past 15 years. The New York Times published an
article in late February that looked at the reasons for
the decline of the breakfast staple and one line, bur-
ied deep in the copy, became the bigger news story:
“Almost 40 percent of the millennials surveyed by
Mintel for its 2015 report said cereal was an inconve-
nient breakfast choice because they had to clean up
after eating it.”
Let that sink in. Washing—or just rinsing—a bowl
and a spoon is considered too much work by nearly
half of all millennials.
Okay, the natural tendency now is to throw up your
hands in exasperation and say, “Kids today are lazy—
we’re doomed!” Resist that temptation. After all,
remember what our parents’ generation said about
us. (They walked five miles to school and both ways
Instead, focus on what millennials are really
saying. They are saying that they want convenience,
and eating something that requires even minimal
clean-up isn’t convenient enough. They want even
The same point was essentially echoed at the
recent NACS Leadership Forum, held February
in Miami. Harvard Business School Professor and
Stanley Roth Fellow Dr. Rajiv Lal told attendees that
convenience is the hottest currency in retail today.
Dr. Lal is not alone in his thinking. “Convenience
is the one thing that’s really changing trends these
days,” Euromonitor’s Howard Telford told The Washington Post.
With millennials more interested in convenience
and less interested in eating at home, they are picking
up more grab-and-go convenience items for breakfast, such as yogurt, fruit cups, breakfast bars and
breakfast sandwiches. And the only place that sells
these all of these items—conveniently—is a convenience store. All of a sudden, the kids are alright.
a bowl and a
too much work
half of all