CHICAGO -- Canadian consumers are visiting convenience stores more often than they were just two years ago, and when they visit, they’re more likely to purchase prepared meals, snacks and beverages.
What’s behind the growth? According to Technomic's new 2016 Canadian Convenience-Store Foodservice Consumer Trend Report, it's due in large part to c-stores' growing emphasis on their prepared-foods programs in the Canadian market. As a result, consumers are noting a rise in quality and an improved perception of health in the foods that are offered.
"Today's consumers recognize convenience stores as more of a foodservice destination," says Anne Mills, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. "However, competing more strongly with restaurants will require even greater focus on their prepared-foods programs. In particular, highlighting fresh ingredients, menu uniqueness, tech amenities and sustainable practices will be increasingly key for c-stores looking to steal share."
Key takeaways from Technomic’s report:
- Thirty percent of consumers, up from 24% in 2014, say new and unique items would encourage them to purchase convenience-store foodservice more often, aligning with the general trend of consumers seeking more differentiated flavors.
- More consumers now (62%) than in 2014 (56%) visit convenience stores at least once a month for noncoffee beverage-only occasions; beverage variety is becoming more important as consumers, particularly those ages 18 to 34, seek out noncoffee options.
- Thirty-nine percet of 18-to 34-year-olds prefer convenience stores to have a modern feel; sleek designs and dine-in seating areas may help attract younger consumers, who are more likely than older consumers to dine in at convenience stores
The in-depth study compiles findings from more than 1,000 Canadian consumers, as well as Technomic's proprietary industry data, to serve as a guide for foodservice operators and suppliers to understand consumer usage and attitudes toward convenience stores and to identify key areas of opportunity in the Canadian market.