What’s fueling a rise in convenience store profits? It’s not actually fuel, it’s food. Convenience stores across the country have been doing more to invite their gas-only customers inside the store where higher profit margin food selections await. Those efforts are paying off. Customers’ perceptions of convenience store food are changing, and along with that comes increased expectations. Explore these five trends in convenience store food offerings to bring more customers inside your store.
Fresh is Still First
Once customers realized that convenience store food offerings could be part of a healthy lifestyle, they began to demand more. They want a selection of fresh fruit, fresh ingredients in sandwiches, and fresh salad options. At the same time, they want fresh flavors, too. The hottest flavor trends point to bold global flavors and a balance between flavor and nutrition.
In the snack department of convenience store food offerings, the most significant trend is a surge of interest in alternative snacks, such as protein bars, meal replacement bars, high fiber bars, plant-based bars, and granola bars. Smaller grab-n-go items, such as hot appetizers and finger foods, are also increasing in popularity.
The customer’s relationship with food is changing. It’s beginning to be less about what food can do to you, and more about what food can do for you. Today’s consumers want protein for energy, probiotics for digestive health, antioxidants for overall wellness, and the list goes on and on. Products packaged with a functional food message catch the eye of many consumers and are a must-have in your selection of convenience store food offerings.
Vegetarian Options Going Mainstream
The transition from calling meatless products “plant-based” rather than “vegetarian” is a clue to how these options are moving toward the mainstream. Studies show that 30% of today’s consumers choose meatless options at least once a week, even though they’re not following a vegetarian diet overall.
It’s been a long time since eggs were demonized as bad for your health, and since then more and more consumers are looking to eggs as a healthy source of protein. Consumers are seeking out traditional breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos for lunch and dinner as well.