Small Bites Are a Big Deal at Convenience Stores

Published in CSP Daily News

Technomic explores how industry retailers are embracing the grab-and-go consumer

Kum & Go offered a free medium fountain drink or coffee with the purchase of two slices of pizza to its Facebook followers in October and November.

CHICAGO -- Consumers are buying more snacks from convenience stores, thanks not only to their demand for when-I-want-it and where-I-want-it options, but also to c-store brands’ innovative new offerings.

According to Technomic’s new Convenience Stores Market Intelligence Report, more than half of consumers (55%) who purchase prepared foods from c-stores at least once a month visit these locations for prepared snacks, compared to 51% who said the same two years prior. The report data was announced in a blog post by Mary Chapman, Technomic's director of product innovation.

Click here to read Chapman's complete post. 

Consumers show particular interest in the portable, shareable items they can either enjoy with their travel companions immediately or munch on by themselves over the course of the day. Selections such as Circle K’s Wing Bites and QuickChek’s Churro Bites fit the bill for the first category; 7-Eleven’s recently announced organic trail mix and dry-roasted edamame snacks are prime examples of the latter.

Leading c-stores looking to capitalize on consumers’ evolving snack preferences are focusing on convenience (aka car-friendliness), creative flavors and presentations, and attractive value positioning (such as three-for-$1.99 deals) to differentiate their snack offerings. To satisfy both health-minded customers and those looking for craveable, more-decadent treats, they’re offering a balance of fresh fruits and vegetables (and other vegetarian fare, such as hummus with pita bread) and indulgent bites such as mac-and-cheese wedges.

Some examples of convenience stores offering new snackable selections:

  • 7-Eleven introduced a limited-time Spicy Chicken Biscuit for $1 in November.
  • RaceTrac offered a free Quaker Chewy granola bar with the purchase of any size coffee during the month of October.
  • Kum & Go offered a free medium fountain drink or coffee with the purchase of two slices of pizza to its Facebook followers in October and November.
  • Cumberland Farms and QuickChek each added pumpkin-filled pretzels to their seasonal menus late in September.
  • Corner Store added three new items in September to its Fresh Choices lineup: snack-sized BBQ pork ribs, priced at $4.99 for three pieces; the Sweet Jalapeno Whoopie Pie, with freshly baked cornbread and cream-cheese-jalapeno filling, at $2.49 for a three-pack or 99 cents each; and the Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuit Breakfast Sausage Kolache, with sausage on a jalapeno and cheddar biscuit for $1.99.
  • Stewart’s Shops added new car-friendly snack cups to its menu in August. The plastic beverage cups are filled with snacks such as Sweet & Salty Trail Mix, Mixed Nuts and Cheese & Pepperoni.

Chicago-based Technomic is fact-based research and consulting firm focused on food and related products and services. Click here for Chapman's post.