7-Eleven has long been known for sugary Slurpees and late-night junk-food fixes. Now, the world's largest convenience-store chain is adding more nutritious fare, such as quinoa and cold-pressed juices, to its shelves.
Early this week, 7-Eleven introduced healthier food and drink options to 104 stores across Los Angeles. The store chain teamed up with fitness guru Tony Horton to offer its customers "nutritionally balanced" sandwiches, wraps, salads, and juices.
Horton, who is most famous for his popular P90X series of DVD workouts, has been in the fitness industry for more than 30 years. A couple of years ago, he began offering home-delivered healthy food options through his Tony Horton Kitchen brand, which inspired his new partnership with 7-Eleven. "The home delivery stuff is the 'heat it up, eat it up' kind of food," Horton told Yahoo Health. "The 7-Eleven menu is different. There are salads, cold sandwiches, and juices that you can take with you on-the-go. It's just healthy, yummy, convenient food that people can afford."
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Horton said he knew there was a need to be filled based on the feedback he continually received from the fans of his workouts. "People all across the country have done the workouts. They are convenient; you pop in a DVD and can do them right there in your living room," he added. "But when it comes to mealtime, they don't always hit a homerun. Healthy food is usually more expensive, and even if you can afford it, you might not have the experience to prepare it properly. This food can solve that problem. That's the best part about it."
Stores will be selling two sandwiches, two wraps, two salads, and four juice options. Food items are priced between $4.75 and $6.50, while the juices sell for $4.99, and the average calorie count of each item is 360.
The plan is to test demand and sales in the L.A. market, said Horton. And if the numbers make sense, the menu could be slowly rolled out into other areas. The goal is to eventually go nationwide. "It's a great idea, but the bottom line is that people have to like the food," said Horton. "And so far we've had thumbs up across the board."
Surprisingly, healthy food options at 7-Eleven are in high demand. Raja Doddala, senior director for innovation for 7-Eleven, told USA Today that sales of fresh products are up 30 percent over last year and that healthy food options are the items second-most requested by customers. Doddala also said that 7-Eleven sells seven times more bananas than it does Snickers, its top-selling candy bar.
Alex Loria, Horton's publicist at Dunn Pellier Media, said that initial reaction and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive but a few naysayers have voiced concerns about a fitness guru delving into the nutrition world. "When you've been in the health and fitness industry as long as Tony has, it doesn't take a certification to tell people what is and is not good for you," she said. "The message that both he and 7-Eleven want to convey is that healthy is for everyone, and you don't need a lot of money or to shop at expensive supermarkets to find nutritious food."