How 5 C-Stores Are Promoting Premium

Aimee Harvey, Managing Editor, Technomic


CHICAGO -- For convenience stores taking foodservice to the next level, telling a food story around premium, higher-quality foods is paramount to growth. As foodservice channels blur and the consumer is given a broader range of prepared-food choices across segments, c-stores are recognizing the importance of boosting the quality perception.

Here’s a look at how five c-stores are spelling out what quality means for their brands this year, along with some recent Technomic research findings backing the importance of premium ...

1. Wawa's Charcuterie Artisan Sandwich

wawa sandwich

Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa’s new Charcuterie Artisan Sandwich features prosciutto, salami and arugula, topped with a garlic and herb-cheese spread.

According to Technomic’s most recent Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, 65% of consumers are likely to purchase a sandwich described as “artisan,” and 33% are willing to pay more for a sandwich carrying this premium descriptor.

2. Sheetz's Handcrafted Cold Brew Coffee

sheetz cold brew

Sheetz, Altoona, Pa., is boasting the handmade preparation of its cold-brew coffee in its marketing message.

This descriptor is one that resonates highly with consumers, as 65% say they’d be likely to purchase a beverage described as “handcrafted,” and 36% say that they’d pay more for it, according to Technomic’s most recent Bakery & Coffee Cafe Consumer Trend Report.

3. Maverik's made-to-order platform

maverik tacos

Salt Lake City-based Maverik is prepping for a wider rollout of its emerging made-to-order foodservice platform. Open kitchen formats geared to full customization are hallmarks of the program, illustrating how Maverik is expanding its scope into more of a premium focus.

The made-to-order menu has been implemented at nearly 50 of Maverik's 300 c-stores and includes customizable Neapolitan pizzas, burritos and street tacos.

4. QuikTrip's fresh-brewed tea

QuikTrip Teas

It may seem like a no-brainer, but simply describing coffee or tea as "fresh brewed" creates a strong perception of premium and helps drive spend. That's the route Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip has taken with its QTea program.

Consumers surveyed for Technomic's most recent Beverage Consumer Trend Report overwhelmingly indicated that "fresh" descriptors influenced their purchase decisions and price thresholds. Nine out of 10 beverage consumers would pay more for drinks described as fresh, and 59% are willing to pay more for fresh-brewed drinks.

5. Family Express' Power Salad

family express salad

Valparaiso, Ind.-based Family Express is speaking to consumers with a more contemporary definition of health, with its introduction of a Power Salad this year. Featuring brown rice, quinoa, kale, arugula, cranberries, seeds and apples, the salad is packed with functional ingredients and powerful superfoods.

Consumers indicate that healthful foods with a focus on premium-quality ingredients and functional benefits are more likely to influence their purchase. Technomic's recent Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report revealed that nearly half of consumers (46%) prefer to purchase prepared foods that impart functional qualities and make them "feel better physically."