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Am J Prev Med. 2012 Sep;43(3 Suppl 2):S109-15. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.05.012.

Convenience stores and the marketing of foods and beverages through product assortment.

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  • 1Texas Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network Collaborating Center, School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, Texas 77843-1266, USA.



Product assortment (presence and variety) is a key in-store marketing strategy to influence consumer choice. Quantifying the product assortment of healthier and less-healthy foods and beverages in convenience stores can inform changes in the food environment.


To document product assortment (i.e., presence and variety of specific foods and beverages) in convenience stores.


Observational survey data were collected onsite in 2011 by trained promotora-researchers in 192 convenience stores. Frequencies of presence and distributions of variety were calculated in 2012. Paired differences were examined using the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test.


Convenience stores displayed a large product assortment of sugar-sweetened beverages (median 86.5 unique varieties); candy (76 varieties); salty snacks (77 varieties); fried chips (44 varieties); cookies and pastries (19 varieties); and frozen sweets (21 varieties). This compared with 17 varieties of non-sugar sweetened beverages and three varieties of baked chips. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test confirmed a (p<0.001) greater variety of sugar-sweetened than non-sugar-sweetened beverages, and of fried chips compared with baked chips. Basic food items provided by convenience stores included milk (84% of stores); fresh fruit (33%); fresh vegetables (35%); canned vegetables (78%); white bread (71%); and deli-style packaged meat (57%). Healthier versions of milk, canned fruit, canned tuna, bread, and deli-style packaged meat were displayed in 17%-71% of convenience stores.


Convenience stores in this area provide a greater assortment of less-healthy compared with healthier foods and beverages. There are opportunities to influence consumer food choice through programs that alter the balance between healthier and less-healthy foods and beverages in existing convenience stores that serve rural and underserved neighborhoods and communities.

Copyright © 2012 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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