The 5 Top Ways C-Stores Can Trigger Consumer Cravings

man craving food

CHICAGO -- A craving is a force to be reckoned with. Nearly 80% of consumers say the primary reason they stop at a foodservice location is to satisfy a craving, according to Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics, powered by Ignite. Yet, traditional means such as ads, cooking demos and signage aren’t what get most consumers salivating.

Check out the top five ways convenience stores can cash in on a craving ...

5. Give a sample

edamame sample

More than one-fifth of consumers (22%) say that samples trigger their cravings. Asian consumers, in particular, like samples, with 38% saying samples activate a craving. In addition, the appeal of samples is higher among less affluent consumers, as 27% of individuals with household incomes between $25,000 to $35,000 say that cravings are triggered by samples.

4. Keep up with appearances

woman with orange slice eyes

Three in 10 consumers (31%) say the appearance of a food item can trigger their cravings. Of the top five list, appearance is the sole trigger that skews higher for men (32%) over women (30%). Also, consumers in the West are more triggered by appearance (34%) than those in other regions.

3. Take a snapshot

taking a food photo

Thirty-five percent of consumers say pictures of a food product can activate cravings. Women skew much higher than men (37% vs. 32%), and Gen Zers skew the greatest of all generations at 43%.

2. Get back to the basics

mac and cheese

Although many retailers are making attempts to lure and engage guests with exciting—even outrageous—new dishes that may feature exotic flavors and ingredients, a majority of consumers (57%) said that thoughts of an item they previous enjoyed drum up cravings, more so than advertising or other means. Matures (those born before 1946) particularly skew high in this category, with 71% saying that merely thinking of an item they had previously stirs up cravings.

1. Lead with your nose

woman smelling food

Almost two-thirds of consumers (63%) say the aroma of items being prepared typically triggers cravings, making smell the No. 1 craving spark for consumers. The appeal of aroma is higher among Asian and affluent consumers, as 72% of Asians and individuals with household incomes of $100,000 to $150,000 say that cravings are scent-triggered. Aroma’s top-ranking craving trigger is further solidified with the No. 1 brand that satisfies cravings, the survey shows.