Beverages Give Retailers an Edge

Get insights into what makes customers come back for more in a beverage program during this Crack the Code session.

November 11, 2020

By Sarah Hamaker

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Thirsty consumers often stop by convenience stores to pick up coffee, frozen dispensed or other beverages. A retailer with a robust beverage program can lead the pack when it comes to repeat customers and sales.

“Eighty percent of consumers already have or plan to return to purchase dispensed coffee and soft drinks,” said Scott Reed, communication and data specialist at Bunn-OMatic Corporation, during the “Beverages for the Win” education session Monday at the NACS Crack the Code Experience.

It’s no news that consumers have become more health conscious, and that includes what they drink. “More than 50% of consumers said they would visit a convenience store more often if there were more healthy food and drink options available,” Reed said. “Traditionally, the c-store consumer has not been considered health conscious, but as the pandemic has continued, c-store consumer thinking is changing.”

Reed recommended that retailers consider how they can make their beverage program healthier. “C-store consumers who said they purchased a hot dispensed beverage based on health reasons jumped 5% from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020,” he pointed out. While younger consumers are the ones driving much of the push toward more healthy options, older consumers enjoy healthier beverages, too.

Top healthy beverages include coffee drinks, juice/smoothies, frozen dispensed beverages (particularly noncarbonated offerings) and tea. “The c-store consumer sees dispensed beverages, primarily coffee, as healthier/better-for-you,” Reed said. That includes hot and cold coffee. “The younger generation wants iced coffee or cold brew coffee—that’s their drink of choice, their signature go-to beverage because they can easily customize it.”

Reed also discussed how frozen dispensed beverages, particularly noncarbonated, have picked up. “People reverted back to old favorites [in the beginning of the pandemic],” he said. “Now we think consumers see noncarbonated [frozen dispensed] as [healthier]” and that’s been driving sales in that category.

Catch the encore session on Friday at 1:30 p.m. EST, and view the session on demand starting Saturday. You can still register for your very own NACS Crack the Code Experience (CTCE). The NACS Crack the Code Experience runs through December 4, 2020, and features 24/7 access to forward-looking ideas and insights, plus innovative new-to-channel products and strategic connections.

Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer and NACS Daily and NACS Magazine contributor based in Fairfax, Virginia. Visit her online at