Convenience Stores Roll With the Changes

From kombucha slushies to vegan cheese, retailers cater to an ever-evolving consumer taste for fresh and innovative.

February 19, 2020

CHICAGO—Convenience stores have continued to evolve to meet the ever-changing consumer taste for innovative products and food, SmartBrief reports. According to Dataessential’s 2019 Convenience Stores Keynote Report, one-third of consumers purchased more foodservice items from convenience stores than they did during the previous year. These consumers also said they’ve seen a vast improvement in the quality of these foodservice items as well.

Dataessential found that half of all consumers are “satisfied or extremely satisfied with the variety of prepared foodservice items available at their favorite c-stores.” The firm also found that “nearly three-quarters of c-store operators are seeing changes in who is coming to their stores to buy prepared foods and beverages, with one operator in six reporting significant changes in their customer base,” wrote Gerald Oksanen, a senior analyst at Datassential.

For convenience stores, foodservice has emerged as a profitability center. “Nearly two-thirds of operators say prepared items are highly profitable, outranking CPG items as well as gasoline, cigarettes and lottery tickets. In fact, nearly 70% of c-store operators witnessed an increase in foodservice sales within just the last year,” according to the report.

Retailers are also creating new dining formats, incorporating elements of mini markets and fast-casual concepts into their foodservice offerings. Oksanen concluded that, “As restaurants and retailers look to compete in an age when customers can order items online and have them delivered to their doors in minutes, inspiration can be taken from these next-gen convenience stores who are drawing consumers into brick-and-mortar spaces by capitalizing on current trends.”