Like most other types of food businesses, the convenience store is changing due to the pandemic, and that includes what’s on the menu when it comes to food. In line with that, today, convenience store chain Wawa announced a partnership with Beyond Meat to bring a plant-based breakfast option to its stores.
Dubbed the Sizzli Breakfast Sandwich, the new item will use Beyond’s Breakfast Sausage product. As of today, it’s available at 650 Wawa stores in the Mid-Atlantic region and will be available in all Florida stores from August 10 onward.
In certain parts of the country, namely the Mid-Atlantic, Wawa is practically iconic in the world of convenience store chains. But like many food businesses nowadays, it’s having to reinvent itself in the wake of changing consumer demands around healthy eating and massive shifts in how people get that food.
The chain already offers its “Wawa Your Way” menu, which offers healthier options and caters to various dietary needs/preferences (gluten-free, plant-based, etc.).
Adding a plant-based option to the menu is the obvious next step. Consumer demand for plant-based proteins has surged during the pandemic as ugly truths about the meat industry continue to come to light. The whole of the alternative protein category, including plant-based meat, is expected to grow to $17.9 billion by 2025.
But plant-based options isn’t the only change Wawa has introduced recently to meet new consumer behaviors. With more people staying at home, or just wary of mingling with strangers in public settings, the company has had to turn its attention to serving folks off-premises. Wawa struck a delivery deal with DoorDash in April, then launched curbside order and pickup in June. Just this week, the chain announced its first-ever drive-thru location, which will begin construction in August in Falls Township, PA.
Wawa’s announcements follow moves by other well-known convenience store chains to shift both their formats and products to meet the current times. 7-Eleven expanded delivery and introduced a new pickup feature in July. It too has a partnership with DoorDash. Over in Tokyo, Uber Eats is delivering food from Lawson Convenience stores. And let’s not forget cashierless checkout’s march into the convenience store realm, led by Zippin, Aramark, and others.
Wawa’s news from the week is further proof multiple intersections are happening right now between convenience stores, grocery stores, and restaurants, and between plant-based diets and traditional ones. Expect more of these lines to blur as the entire food industry continues changing at the pace of the pandemic.