The pandemic continues to have an undeniable influence on the convenience store foodservice market, but with the new year comes new opportunities. More consumers are commuting to work again, and whether they are seeking a satisfying snack or a quick lunch, sanitation and food safety are the major determinants of where consumers shop and what they choose to purchase.
As retailers cater to pandemic-related priorities, they must continue to keep their margins in mind—keeping costs and labor low as they pivot to meet consumers’ changing needs. For this purpose, grab-and-go foodservice offerings are a key solution.
The grab-and-go advantage
Grab-and-go items offer a great low-labor option for c-store foodservice—and consumers are reaching for them even more amid the pandemic. According to Technomic’s Q4 2020 C-Store Consumer Marketbrief, most consumers say that, during COVID-19, grab-and-go foodservice items at convenience stores seem safer than both roller grill items and made-to-order items, and 43% say they will purchase grab-and-go options more often than they used to moving forward due to the pandemic.
In addition, fresh bakery case items are the No. 1 self-serve foodservice offering consumers say they are likely to purchase post-pandemic, aside from self-serve beverages. This comes as no surprise, given that consumers enjoy bakery items across dayparts—from breakfast, to lunch, to snacks. And, for most consumers commuting to work again, they are a travel-friendly option to enjoy either en route or in the office.
Soft pretzels are a prime example: According to Ignite menu data, menu mentions of pretzels have grown 2.4% year-over-year, and convenience stores are by far the top foodservice segment to menu them. Soft Pretzels pair well with a range of craveable and filling toppings, making them just as appealing for an on-the-go snack as they are for a quick lunch break.
The key to versatile soft pretzels lies in the wide range of dips, sauces and toppings they pair well with. Consumers love to enjoy their pretzels with everything from classic cheese sauces to spicy dips and sweet toppings fit for breakfast or dessert. Given pandemic-related limitations on self-serve amenities, however, c-stores need solutions to help consumers customize their snacks with the flavors they crave without sacrificing safety.
Offerings such as Pretzel Fillers® from J&J Snacks Foods provide a stellar solution. Each individually wrapped pretzel comes already filled with consumers’ favorite flavors, including Cheddar Cheese, Jalapeno & Cheese and Sweet Cream Cheese. The new Buffalo Cheddar Stuffed Soft Pretzel, made with fan-favorite hot sauce Frank’s RedHot®, combines a ranch flavored pretzel with white cheddar cheese filling and a twist of zesty cayenne pepper. Retailers can offer Pretzel Fillers® ready-to-eat from a warmer, or in their individual packaging for consumers to microwave at home or at work.
To learn more about how grab-and-go offerings from J&J Snack Foods can help boost foodservice sales for lunches, snacks and beyond, visit www.jjsnackfoodservice.com.
*Frank’s RedHot® is a registered trademark of The French’s Food Company, LLC, licensed to J&J Snack Foods, Corp.
This post is sponsored by J&J Snack Foods