Foodservice

Grabbing the Millennial Moment

How c-stores are increasingly winning over a generation

The millennial generation’s moment is coming. In 2018, this group, composed of 80 million young people currently aged 18 to 34, will surpass the dominant boomer generation in purchasing power.

millennial generation

The restaurant industry has stood up and taken notice of this group, now that millennials account for nearly a quarter of all restaurant spending, a figure expected to rise 40% by 2020.

However, studies have shown that millennials have cut back their annual restaurant visits by 21% over the past seven years. So where are these dynamic consumers spending their food money instead?

The answer: C-stores. Convenience stores accounted for 11.1% of millennial food and beverage stops in 2014, up from just 7.7% in 2006, according to NPD. It’s easy to see where this growth comes from: Millennials crave convenience and have increasingly abandoned traditional meal times for all-day, on-demand eating that fits their on-the-go lifestyles. They feel that what and where they eat are reflections of who they are and view food as an opportunity for both exploration and expression.

Companies such as Fernando’s Fine Mexican Foods have been watching this powerful consumer segment for years, developing new and innovative grab-and-go products such as Grab Wraps to specifically cater to this consumer group’s preferences and unique identities.

Recent research from Chicago-based research firm Technomic has shown that c-stores have an opportunity to boost traffic and sales by both increasing food & beverage amenities, such as grab-and-go options, and by improving the quality of food offerings—two concepts that speak directly to the millennial mindset.

When a broad range of consumers were asked what c-stores could offer to encourage increased prepared-food purchases, some of the leading answers included better taste and wider variety. Yet among those leading responses, two suggestions rated significantly higher with younger consumers: higher quality and grab-and-go.

In fact, younger consumers are so interested in flexible, portable options that Technomic has dubbed millennials the “grab-and-go generation.” Millennials are 10% more likely to frequently purchase grab-and-go items, and 65% of them often purchase handheld grab-and-go foods such as sandwiches. This fully supports additional Technomic research that indicated 64% of millennial consumers would be somewhat to extremely likely to use grab-and-go food areas if c-stores made them available. All amenities, including grab-and-go, are attractive elements to millennial shoppers and can both increase foodservice sales and help c-stores compete with fast food for these all-day diners.

Companies such as Fernando’s Fine Mexican Foods continue to find new ways to meet these trends with exciting and bold Mexican flavors and innovative product designs that satisfy the desires of millennials. In the near future, retailers who incorporate amenities such as grab-and-go areas featuring high-quality and delicious all-day food options are set to seize this moment and watch their fortunes rise with those of the millennial generation.

This post is sponsored by Fernando's Fine Mexican Foods

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