Food Safety in Convenience Stores

The foodservice industry grows larger all the time, encompassing more than just restaurants. As the foodservice industry continues to grow and adapt to consumer preferences, we’ll continue to see new types of food services pop up, including what we are seeing right now: Convenience store profits increasing due to in-store food purchases. Food service sales account for 21% of the revenues generated by the convenience store industry each year* and that number continues to rise. Since c-store visitation is up and we know that increase is due partly to the food they serve, it’s important to include convenience stores in a food safety culture.

Considering that foodborne illness costs the food industry an estimated $55.5 billion each year**, developing a culture where food safety is the norm is more important than ever—to consumers and business owners alike. Years ago people didn’t use gloves when cooking in restaurants, now that concept is gross and strange. That’s the same way we need to feel about food labeling, cross contamination and other food safety concerns. Many convenience stores are working fast to change the way they’re preparing, storing and handling food because the products they serve have changed and expanded.

The challenge for convenience stores is that food service isn’t the only service they provide. It’s difficult to make food safety a priority when you’re handling gas, lottery and other various types of sales as well as food.

Awareness is the best way to prevent foodborne illness associated with unsafe food conditions. Proper labeling, food storage and handling, customer contact, surface storage and to-go storage and food contact surfaces are just a few of the issues that are particularly important to convenience stores.