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BP to invest millions in Fresh food for convenience stores

BP has announced that it will be investing significantly over the next three years on its BP Express upgrade project to bring more convenience shopping innovation in the form of a new fresh food range to South African customers.

The project will see the introduction of Fresh, a new food range with an emphasis on fresh fruit and veg, delicious baked goods, tasty home-meal replacements and grab ‘n go meals for busy commuters.

Fresh stores will be located at non-residential BP service stations, while Pick n Pay Express stores will be situated at BP forecourts in residential areas.

Year-on-year, there has been a 25% increase in sales for BP Express stores, which includes the popular Wild Bean Café coffee and confectionary offer. BP is now tracking 7.4% ahead of the national retail convenience sector, and the introduction of its Fresh stores is likely to see this lead increase.

Troy Maidwell, head of BP Convenience says Fresh is the logical evolution of the C-store: “Gone are the days when consumers were happy with limited ‘dashboard dining’ – an emphasis on healthy eating and the resurgence of home cooking means they want fresh produce and quality ingredients to be available 24/7, which is exactly what Fresh will provide.

“Our lifestyles have changed dramatically since we launched our first convenience forecourts in 1994. It’s no longer about just filling up with petrol – it’s about making our time-strapped lives easier by offering an all-in-one retail solution. The fact that cellphone airtime is our biggest in-store seller shows that consumers turn to us for all their day-to-day needs.

“One of the aims of the upgrade project is to institute power efficiency wherever possible and to offer our customers Wi-Fi so they can keep in touch no matter where they are,” says Maidwell.

Wild Bean Café (WBC) has a presence in 120 of the 170 BP Express stores across SA, and is already the country’s largest convenience retailer of coffee, pies and muffins. In fact, Wild Bean Café is so successful that it sells two million cups of coffee a year (the WBC global average is 100 cups per store per day) and more than 100 000 pies every Friday pie day. Hot meals and beverages consumed on site will be the focus of Wild Bean Café, while Fresh will cater to shoppers who want to grab and go or get a salad to go with dinner while also filling up.

BP South Africa is the top three in terms of profitability for the international Wild Bean Café market; the brand has locations in Australia, the UK, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Maidwell believes that the multi-million rand upgrade will have positive spin-offs. “BP Express will become the convenience store that offers the best fresh costumer solution in the industry. We are confident that we will extend our foothold as the most recognised and preferred petroleum brand in South Africa.”

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