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    University of 7-Eleven Unveils New Offerings

    The chain will launch a new gourmet line of fresh foods and beverages this year.

    RICHMOND, Va. -- 7-Eleven Inc. is getting ready to take a new perspective on convenience store foods. Many of the chain's stores already offer fresh sandwiches, salads and other fare, but at a corporate training session to be held here today, the company said it plans to roll out numerous new food items it will be testing in its stores.

    About 2,000 "students" who are store operators and field staff from 7-Eleven stores in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia will take part in the yearly University of 7-Eleven. This year, the company will unveil its new gourmet product line of fresh foods and beverages. The Richmond show will focus on the approximately 100 stores where hot food is being tested, the Newport News Daily Press reported.

    Some of the fare being sampled at the session includes 90-second Pepperoni Pizza, Phast Philly Cheese Steak, chicken tenders and wings, and churros, which are fried dough snacks with cinnamon and sugar. Also among the food offerings will be Jazz apples -- a variety that is a combination of two other kinds of apples, and which have a sweet-tart taste, 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris told the newspaper.

    National products coming soon are the Slurpuccino, the company's first coffee-flavored Slurpee drink; reformulated blends of dark roast and decaf coffees; and the new Midnight Madness hot chocolate. Adding a touch of culture, egg roll-inspired Asian rollers will be on the grill, along with the three-cheese bite and the Go-Go Taquito-Chicken Fajita.

    The company also will offer more in freshly made sandwiches, with artisan breads. A soft Italian focaccia roll is used with the turkey bacon ranch club, and there's a turkey havarti sandwich, according to the Newport News Daily Press.

    All the new foods are expected to be in stores between late spring and early fall.

    "The inspiration behind these new products is what the consumer wants, which is fresh, quality, affordable foods," Chabris said.

    Nationally, 7-Eleven has regionalized some fresh foods and baked goods according to the tastes of the areas. In Ontario, Calif., visitors sampled items like grilled Slim Jim Sizzle Sticks and Chicken Pesto Croissants. In Orlando, guava-infused pastries and Cuban sandwiches with Mojo ham were offered. And in Portland, Ore., it was the Tillamook bulk jerky and blueberry cheese Danish, the newspaper stated.

    Not only is the food new, but so is some of the packaging. The company is taking part in the "green" movement by introducing environmentally friendly food packaging.

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