CHICAGO -- Snacks are the most frequently consumed food and foodservice item at convenience stores, according to Technomic’s most recent quarterly Convenience Store MarketBrief. Three-quarters of all consumers purchase snacks from c-stores at least once a month, Technomic says. And the percentage is even higher among Generation Zers and millennials.
However, consumers’ snack habits and preferences are always changing, and operators must keep pace with them in order to maximize sales.
Here are six ways c-stores can boost snack sales, according to shifting consumer behaviors and attitudes shown in this MarketBrief …
1. Advertise by the pump
Although more than half of consumers (54%) say gas is the primary reason they visit c-stores, only 45% of them enter the store half of the time they visit—at most. However, operators may have an opportunity to boost snack sales by the pump: More than a third of gas consumers (35%) say they would be more likely to purchase a snack inside if there were advertisements at the pump, according to Technomic.
3. Catch them with honey
More c-store customers are purchasing sweet snacks now than they were last year, including candy (up 18%) and baked goods (up 11%), according to Technomic. Similarly, more consumers are also now purchasing prepared baked goods (up 9%) such as freshly baked bread and muffins, and foodservice desserts (up 13%) such as cake and cookies from c-stores.
5. Sippable snacks
Beverage-only snack purchases are growing at c-stores. The average amount of beverage-only purchases increased from 25% in 2013 to 38% in 2016, while food-only purchases have decreased from 38% to 26% in this same time period, suggesting that some consumers are purchasing a drink instead of a food item as a snack. Hot and cold regular coffee, as well as bottled coffee, are the most commonly purchased snack beverages among consumers, according to Technomic.
6. Bundled deals
Bundled meal deals may increase c-store snack purchases. Among a variety of measured c-store snack attributes—from portability to taste to portion size—consumers are least satisfied with the current bundled meal deals offered at c-stores. These types of meal deals typically offer a discounted price when products are purchased together. In line with this finding, 51% of consumers say they would visit c-stores more often if there were more snack bundles available.