C-Stores Win Latest Round in Fast-Food Fight

Consumers visiting QSRs less frequently as a result of RMS purchases

Retailer foodservice

CHICAGO -- As the battle for share of stomach rages on, the retail foodservice industry continues to grow, with retailer meal solutions (RMS) in conveniences stores gaining ground, especially over quick-service restaurants (QSRs). Nearly half of consumers aged 18 to 34 purchased an RMS in a c-store at least once a week, according to an update to Technomic's 2015 Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report.

The study found that consumers are purchasing RMS more often; 84% now purchase RMS at least once a month compared to just 79% in 2012. This increase is largely driven by younger consumers (ages 18 to 34), who are increasingly reliant on foodservice in general.

"Further enhancing the in-store experience and innovating with differentiated, restaurant-quality menu items will help retail-prepared food operators continue to steal share of stomach," said Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights for Technomic. "Operators and suppliers can appeal to consumers by offering dishes featuring new and ethnic flavors, such as spicy Asian flavors and regional Latin flavors."

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • RMS purchases are often made at the expense of fast-food visits: 49% of all respondents—and 60% of millennials—are visiting fast-food restaurants less often as a result of their increased RMS purchases.
  • Drug store RMS has a loyal following; although just 19% of all consumers have ever purchased RMS from drug stores, 43% of those who do purchase it, buy it at least once a week.

Compiling findings from more than 1,500 U.S. consumers, as well as Technomic's MenuMonitor and Digital Resource Library, the comprehensive 2015 Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report will help better position brands and products for success in retail prepared-food areas by understanding market shifts and how to capitalize on opportunities.

Chicago-based Technomic, a Winsight company, delivers a 360-degree view of the food industry. It provides consumer-grounded vision and channel-relevant strategic insights. Services range from major research studies and management consulting solutions to online databases and fact-finding assignments. Clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants and retailers, as well as other foodservice organizations and institutions aligned with the food industry.