There’s a sure-fire way to boost food sales to capture today’s convenience-store consumer. And it can be summed up in one word:
Some 56% of consumers overall and 67% of millennials say c-stores are just as capable as restaurants at offering fresh food and beverages, according to Technomic.
And it’s those younger consumers, as well as women, who are driving the push for more fresh food.
Convenience store consumers, just like restaurant diners and grocery shoppers, are looking for food without additives; food that is natural, organic and “real;” as well as low-calorie items, according to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report.
Adding more fresh options can boost foot traffic and sales of other items. So, how should a smart c-store operator launch a fresh foodservice program?
Start with snacks. The snacking occasion is the daypart for which consumers are most likely to buy healthy c-store options. In fact, 81% of consumers buy healthy snacks at least once per month, according to Technomic’s 2016 Convenience Store MarketBrief. Younger consumers are especially open to unexpected snack offerings such as sushi or veggie-packed egg rolls.
Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. Forty-nine percent of consumers say fresh fruit is their go-to healthy c-store purchase, according to Technomic. That’s followed by sandwiches, salads and smoothies. At Love’s Travel Stops, the chain’s Fresh To Go offerings include cups filled with fruit, vegetables and eggs. The chain also features grab-and-go whole fruit. The StayFit program at TA and Petro Shopping Centers, for example, sells “good2go” snack cups filled with fruit, as well as fresh vegetables, cheese and other better-for-you snacks. To further extend the chain’s health halo, many locations offer mapped walking trails, basketball courts, horseshoe pits and more.
Explore bold flavors. Young consumers seek out spicy foods, and they’re also open to snacking experimentation. Consider stocking trending ethnic street food handhelds such as steamed buns, egg rolls or tacos.
Make signage clear and visible. If consumers are looking for healthy options, they want to know that those items are “fresh.” In the minds of 67% of c-store consumers, “fresh” equals healthy. Kum & Go is rolling out its Go Fresh Market iteration that features fresh-made sandwiches, salads and more. The chain’s program covers multiple dayparts, including fresh breakfast sandwiches, made-to-order pizzas, fruit cups and a wide range of fresh snack options. Healthy snacks are labeled via “&balance” signage throughout stores. Messaging should also expand to store websites and social media channels.
Go high-tech with customization. Data shows millennials love fresh food. But they also love the ability to customize, and they also enjoy interacting with technology. Wawa offers an extensive Built-to-Order program to appeal to this group. Consumers can use touchscreens to choose from an array of customizable fresh foods, from breakfast hoagies to salads and wraps to made-to-order sandwiches. The chain also features an Express Case stocked with grab-and-go fresh snacks such as fruit, fruit-and-cheese boxes and other snack packs.
This post is sponsored by Van’s Kitchen