A Day in the Life of the American Snacker (Infographic)

Which day-part offers the biggest opportunity for convenience stores?

breakfast convenience stores

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Since most snacking already occurs after the lunch day-part, early morning snacking is an emerging opportunity space for convenience stores and others retailers, restaurants and food and beverage companies, according to data from The Hartman Group.

With the three-square-meal tradition fading, people are snacking more. "Half the time when people are eating, they're eating snacks," Harvey Hartman, founder and chairman of the Bellevue, Wash.-based market research firm, said recently.

On the foodservice side, "fast-casual [restaurants] are ahead in terms of progressive breakfast offerings that cue higher quality and to what I'd call the 'new culture of food'," said Hartman researcher David Wright.

The Hartman Group said that signs indicate a growing opportunity for c-stores in foodservice and snacking in the breakfast day-part.

"While the average c-stores may offer ubiquitous egg sandwiches or even breakfast burritos, we see less evidence of experimentation in breakfast items like oatmeal with fresh fruit, flatbread, ciabatta or artisan bread egg sandwiches with premium cheese and meats, egg-white sandwiches or yogurt with granola," he said.

Many regional chains are experimenting with flavors and broader taste profiles. While this is centered on lunch, there is no reason not to shift to breakfast, it said. And convenience--location, a quick-and-easy experience and speed of service--continue to be important to on-the-go consumers.

Bellevue, Wash.-based Hartman offers consumer data and insights for clients across a diverse set of industries--from consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retailing to technology and telecommunications and from product innovation to marketing strategy.