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7-Eleven Hawaii discontinues plant-based musubi

LIHU‘E — 7-Eleven Hawai‘i has confirmed that its plant-based musubi has been discontinued less than five months after its launch, despite reporting high sales and seemingly without the knowledge of its partner on the product.

7-Eleven Hawai‘i partnered with OmniFoods, a plant-based meat brand with headquarters in Hong Kong, to release a meat-free alternative to its classic SPAM musubi in all 66 Hawai‘i store locations back in June.

The Plant-Based Katsu Musubi replaces the slice of spam put on top of rice and wrapped in nori, with a patty made from soy, wheat and beats.

7-Eleven Marketing Manager Annika Streng told The Garden Island that the item was officially discontinued on Nov. 10, while also noting “sales for the product were quite strong” in an email response on Dec. 12.

“When we introduced the product, we were out of stock for a few weeks due to demand,” she said.

The item was initially restocked in July due to 7-Eleven underestimating sale numbers for the product during initial forecasting, according to Streng.

“We received a very positive response on social and digital, and people received this new product very well. We were surprised that meat-eaters even tried the product,” Streng said.

“While we do plan to develop more vegetarian and meatless options, we do not have the plant-based Katsu Musubi on our rollout schedule yet.”

When asked why the item was discontinued despite her reports of strong sales, Streng replied that she was unable to answer the question.

However, late last month, a spokesperson for OmniFoods told The Garden Island the organization was unaware that the plant-based musubi was no longer being sold in 7-Eleven Hawai‘i stores.

“We were surprised to learn that the item is currently out of stock, as we had recently checked with 7-Eleven to determine if they needed to restock their inventory,” said Deborah Ma, a communications director with OmniFoods on Nov. 30.

“We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention, and we will promptly engage our sales team to initiate communication with 7-Eleven.”

Ma sent a follow-up email later that day, saying that 7-Eleven did not place any further orders this year because they told Omnifoods “they have enough stock for this year.”

Ma also noted strong sales for the 7-Eleven plant-based musubi, describing them as “extremely positive” and “phenomenal.” In the same email, she contradicted 7-Eleven, saying the plant-based musubi had become a regular item on the menu.

Ma and OmniFoods did not immediately respond to a request for comment following 7-Eleven’s confirmation that the item had been discontinued. Both Streng and Ma said they could not provide any data on the number of plant-based musubis sold in stores.

An employee at the 7-Eleven in Lawai, who declined to be named, confirmed with The Garden Island that the plant-based musubi has not been available in stores for several weeks.

“​​It wasn’t as popular as every other musubi. But you know, there were people that really appreciated that we did have a plant-based (option),” she said.
Source: The Garden Island

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