3 Ways to Attract Younger Consumers to C-Store Foodservice

Photograph courtesy of E.A. Sween

Each generation comes with its own meal preferences. Convenience retailers who want to attract more consumers under the age of 35 should pay extra attention to three key factors in their foodservice offerings: increased variety, portability and premium options.

Sandwiches offer a chance to hit all three factors. Sandwiches are readily available, affordable and portable, and are already a staple meal and snack option for consumers of any age. This is particularly true for younger consumers: 47% of millennials report they eat sandwiches more than once a week, according to Technomic’s 2018 Sandwich Consumer Trend Report.

Despite sandwiches’ widespread popularity, most consumers believe there’s room for improvement in the options available to purchase. More than any other demographic, Gen Z (39%) and millennial consumers (40%) say they think chain restaurants all offer very similar sandwiches, as noted in the Technomic report. It also found that 50% of both Gen Z and millennial consumers say they’d like restaurants to offer a wider variety of sandwiches. A key purchase driver at lunch and dinner is sandwich variety, according to 61% of Gen Z and 59% of millennial consumers. The younger the consumer, the more options they expect to see on menus.

Filling is certainly an important component in a sandwich, but bread itself can be a key differentiator—and a priority for many.

In Technomic’s sandwichreport, bread quality is noted as the second most important sandwich component to consumers. That’s even truer for younger consumers; 57% reported ranking bread quality as important. What’s more, 36% said they prefer specialty bread in sandwiches.

When targeting younger consumers, c-store operators should look for innovative bread options as an unexpected opportunity to drive craveability and uniqueness. For example, they can offer specialty bread and on-the-go convenience with sandwiches such as Market Sandwiches’ new line featuring meats and cheeses between King’s Hawaiian® Original Sweet Buns.

Chicken & Bacon Sliders have jalapeno bacon, chicken and pepper jack cheese as a zesty contrast to the slight sweetness of the buns. Smoked Ham & Swiss Sliders satisfy sweet and salty cravings, with ham and Swiss playing off the buns’ subtle sweet pineapple flavor. And the Smoked White Turkey & Cheddar variety gives the traditional American pairing of turkey and cheddar a luau-style twist via Hawaiian® Original Sweet Buns.

Finding one menu item that can check off so many key purchase drivers for Gen Z and millennial consumers is a quick way to instantly drive more traffic into the store, ultimately boosting sales. For c-store retailers looking for ways to attract younger customers as well as continue serving existing customers with great food options, sandwiches made with King’s Hawaiian® are the perfect solution—they’re innovative yet familiar, unexpected and offer customers a craveable option for a quick meal.

This post is sponsored by E.A. Sween


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