Convenience Stores Winning With Fresh, Quality Prepared Foods

Third of consumers who visit c-stores for fresh food buy it at least once a week: Technomic

Published in CSP Daily News

Grab and Go Fresh Food Convenience Stores

CHICAGO -- More convenience stores are concentrating on providing a greater variety of fresh, high-quality foods, and competition is mounting as stores strive to compete with fast-food restaurants, Technomic Inc.'s Convenience Store Market Intelligence Report said. The report focuses on how c-stores fit into the overall foodservice picture.

C-store foodservice is a $10.9 billion industry and a key area of opportunity for convenience stores across the country.

Fully 57% of consumers say they have purchased prepared foods from c-stores. Approximately a third of consumers who visit c-stores for fresh-food items purchase them at least once a week from c-stores.

More c-stores are leveraging branded restaurants at their c-store locations. While Subway and McDonald's have locations built into some c-stores, capitalizing on convenience and foot traffic, more progressive c-store chains are developing and integrating their own branded restaurants into existing stores, transforming the perception of purchasing prepared food at a c-store.

"Prepared food is a growth opportunity for convenience stores willing to raise the bar on quality and key attributes sought by today's consumers," said Technomic senior director Donna Hood Crecca. "Consumers say they would visit convenience stores more often for prepared foods if those foodservice areas were improved upon. Customizing their offerings and a more appealing decor and atmosphere could enhance the experience."

Other consumer insights found in the report include:

  • Three-fourths of consumers (76%) who purchase prepared foods from c-stores report that these locations provide a convenient option.
  • Two-fifths of consumers say they would visit c-stores for prepared foods more often if freshness and quality were improved.
  • C-stores top other types of retail locations for breakfast patronage, and it is the only segment to see a significant increase in breakfast patronage over the past few years. This is likely driven by coffee purchases.
  • Entrees account for more than half of c-store menu items, with their share of the menu expanding significantly to 51% in the second quarter of 2013 from 47% a year earlier. Sandwich remains the top breakfast entree.

Chicago-based Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support. Its services include proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.