CHICAGO -- Convenience-store food went from frumpy to fabulous in about a decade—it has even permeated high fashion. For her recent lingerie launch, supermodel Emily Ratajkowski posed in a bodega while eating a churro. Some chains are no longer merely reacting to trends but anticipating them.
Participants in CSP’sOutlook Survey 2018 say the rise of foodservice is one of the trends that will most affect the c-store channel in the long term, behind only the growth of e-commerce, alternative fuels and tobacco regulations. Although young consumers might be eating up the food fads popping up in stores, foodservice category managers don’t always find them quite as appetizing.
Here are the trends c-store foodservice leaders hope will die in 2019 ...
Compost plant-based mania
"I could do without plant-based options, gluten-free and clean label. It’s not that I don’t support them. It’s that customers want you to be everything to everybody, but you can’t do that. You’ve got to sell what sells best.”
Retail foodservice director
Kwik Trip Inc.
La Crosse, Wis.
They can’t handle the truth
“When did ‘Ignorance is bliss’ go by the wayside? I contend that people don’t need to know the origin of everything we put in our mouths! My mother purposely withheld information about what went into her sloppy Joes, because she knew her uber-picky daughter would never give ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and onions a fair chance. If our parents didn’t tell us about ingredients that made stuff delicious, why should companies have to?”
Douglass Distributing Retail
“Stop using packaging that seems to promote leakage, condensation, sogginess, sticking and/or disassembly of the product. A sturdy bucket for an eight-piece chicken is far better than the world-famous thin, cheap barn box. You must love your customers and your penny profit, but without the first, the latter won’t matter!
"As we trend away from Earth-unfriendly packaging, look at it as an opportunity to be creative toward better functionality. It’s not just changing from foam to paper, it’s a huge opportunity.”
Vice president of food services
Food services manager
High’s of Baltimore LLC
Runaway freight costs
“As a chef, my top priority is always quality and flavor profile. The trend, or should I say perception, that you can get a quality meal in two minutes or less at a value price point of 99 cents—this one should definitely die. Operationally, there’s been an upward trend in freight costs. Could we change that to a downward trend?”
Director of foodservice
Sweep up clean menu items
“There is a big trend toward health and wellness, a proliferation of ‘clean’ items. In my opinion, retailers have pushed these items into sets to the detriment of days of supply. Every new ‘thrivestyle’ item takes the place of a faster-moving, more profitable, less healthy item. It is important to keep shelves full of options, but not to interrupt the needed shelf space of top sellers that are filled with flavor and ‘craveability.’ ”
Director of foodservice
West Des Moines, Iowa