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The changing role of convenience stores in South Korea

So-young Kim (Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Soonchunhyang University, Asan, The Republic of Korea)
Ji Yu Choi (Woosong University, Daejeon, The Republic of Korea)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 12 June 2019

Issue publication date: 12 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to develop policy recommendations for creating a healthy food environment around convenience stores which has been recently extending beyond the retail to the food retail and even to the foodservice market in South Korea.


This study was based on case studies of evaluating the nutritional quality of lunch box products sold by the Korean big 3 convenience store brands (CU, GS25 and 7-Eleven) as meal replacements. Samples of all lunch box products sold during October 2016 in Asan city, South Korea were collected for nutritional quality evaluation.


The amount of food items in the “Meats/Fish/Eggs/Legume” food group was 2.4 times the recommended intake, while that in the “Vegetables” food group was even less than one serving size. The most frequent cooking method both for the animal- and plant-based food groups was stir-frying. The average calories fell short of the reference value for men but exceeded it for women. The percentage energy contribution from fats exceeded the reference range. The average amounts of protein, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium were higher than recommended.


This study calls attention to the necessity and importance of establishing a healthy food environment around convenience stores, given the ever-growing reliance on these establishments as a go-to spot for a convenient meal. The results may also provide useful insights for developing countries in Asia, which are being spotlighted as the emerging markets for convenience stores.



This work was supported by the Soonchunhyang University Research Fund.


Kim, S.-y. and Choi, J.Y. (2019), "The changing role of convenience stores in South Korea", British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 7, pp. 1642-1654.



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