C-Stores Rule Grab & Go

Buy-and-eat-within-hour snacks 50% more likely to be eaten while traveling or in car

CHICAGO -- Every day, 28 million people in the United States eat a grab-and-go snack, accounting for billions of "eatings" each year. These buy-and-eat-within-an-hour snacks are 50% more likely to be eaten while traveling or in a car, which make convenience stores a primary source for grab-and-go snacks, reported The NPD Group.

According to NPD's snacking research, c-stores represent five times their fair share when it comes to grab-and-go snacking occasions, beating out grocery stores and even discount stores.

Grab-and-go snacks represent 12% of all snack-oriented convenience foods and are typically eaten between meals rather than replacing meals, NPD found in its SnackTrack, which tracks U.S. snack food consumption daily. This on-the-go snacking behavior typically occurs in the morning or midday and least often in the evening. Young adults, ages 18 to 24, are the most inclined toward the instant gratification these types of snacks offer.

NPD's snacking research also found that consumers choose a sweet grab-and-go snack twice as often as a salty snack. Chocolate candy/candy bars, gum, donuts, potato chips, and chewy candy are among the top grab-and-go snacks consumed. At more than half (61%) of all grab-and-go snacking occasions the consumer is also drinking a beverage with their snack, and the top beverages consumed with the snack are carbonated soft drinks and water.

"Grab-and-go snacking represents a sizable opportunity and manufacturers and retailers can capture a larger share of this 'buy and consume' behavior by understanding the consumer dynamics that drive these purchases," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "Manufacturers need to incorporate grab-and-go snacking as part of their go-to-market strategy, particularly when developing plans for the convenience store outlet. Retailers might consider rotating the types of items stocked near the entrance or check-out counter to align with the grab-and-go snacker's need by time of day."

The NPD Group, Houston, provides global information and advisory services to the automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food, foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supply, sports, technology, toy and video game sectors.