I receive a daily ‘newsgram’ from the Food Marketing Institute which is the grocery store industry group. I started to receive it so I could see what the retailers are thinking about as they present our pork products to the American consumer.

In this mornings email, there was an article on convenience stores that I found really interesting. In many rural communities, convenience stores are the social hub of the community, whether it be Caseys, Kum and Go, QuickTrip, QuickStar, Cenex, etc. All of us have stopped at these stores for small purchases and/or gasoline, etc.

A survey of convenience stores for the magazine CSP says 58% of consumers reported buying a nonalcohol beverage on their most recent stop. Fifty percent (50%) of shoppers think of convenience stores as places to buy beer with the average shopper purchasing beer 3 times per month. Other top products purchased during a convenience store stop included candy/gum (41%), gasoline (39%), lottery tickets (37%), salty snacks (36%) and tobacco products (34%). Total convenience store sales were $8.7 billion for the 52 week period ending November 27, 2011.

The reason I find this so interesting is the impact of convenience stores on people movements and possibly the transmission of PRRS. So far this winter, PRRS has been a major health challenge in the upper Midwest. Transmission of PRRS between production sites can be via air borne or fomites of some sort. When PRRS breaks in a production unit, producers and their veterinarians often do a lot of head scratching to try and identify the biosecurity break that may have allowed for the introduction of this devastating virus.