Thursday, September 30, 2021

Grocerant Convenience Drives Fresh Food and Beverage Sales


At the intersection of fresh, fast, flavorful food is the convergence of time starved consumers looking for What’s for Dinner.  Regular readers of those blog know consumer want a meal, that is full flavored, fast to fix, and

Restaurants with drive-thru’s have been clogged for two years, as consumers look for a quick solution to what’s for dinner.  Convenience stores are not sitting back just watching consumers migrate from them back to fast food restaurants. While Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® insist that the line between a meal, snack, or coffee break may be a bit blurred right know to an untrained observer, he assures us consumer go where they can get just what they want and when they want it.

Recently in Datassential’s 2021 Convenience Store Keynote they took a close look at bite-sized snacks and easy-to-grab-and-go meals are more important now whether they are needed during a morning commute or a road trip.

Datassential’s 2021 Convenience Store Keynote, helps us begin to understand the attitudes toward the c-store market, which found “58 percent of operators say that hot breakfast foods are driving their sales. Consumers focus on grocerant niche fresh fast flavorful foods and operators need to think of ways to get traffic into their stores, all-day breakfast availability and ready-to-grab and-go options should be top of mind.

Once again Datassential’s fund that handheld breakfast options like quesadillas, burritos and tacos are the perfect innovation when thinking of grab-and-go as they can be easily customized for every diet type, from vegetarian friendly to extra protein.

According to Datassential’s MenuTrends database, “Healthy enough” breakfast dishes, like avocado toast, have seen a spike the past few years., avocado toast has grown on breakfast menus by 691 percent the past four years, and it’s not stopping there. The ‘halo’ of better-4-you foods continue to drive consumer adoption and growth within the grocerant niche according to Johnson.

So, when Dunkin’ introduced avocado toast on its menu topped with cherrywood smoked bacon on sourdough toast — for just $4. It became a home run for Millennials and Gen Z.

One thing is clear C-store have pushed the boundaries when it comes to what a convenience store can make in-house. C-store menu innovation tracked in Datassential’s SCORES database shows that frozen and blended beverages stand out for both unique appeal and frequency, which drive repeat ordering. Blended beverages have increased in presence at both c-stores and other quick-service operators. Unique flavor profiles can elevate craveable beverage and food profile that garner incremental visits.

Datassential’s noted that blended beverages like smoothies and milkshakes are standout items that have become more interesting over time. For instance, nostalgic flavors like cotton candy, s’mores and birthday cake are indulgent and bring out the kid in anyone. (Well almost anyone.)

Get this, cold brew, which has grown 795 percent on blended beverage menus, has made an appearance at quick service operators like Jamba and Smoothie King, which offer smoothies with cold brew, fruit and protein powder as a morning or afternoon pick-me-up.

Customization and personalization success driven by grocerant niche mix & match meal component bundling works. Datassential’s found that by the Slice Fifty-one percent of consumers say they would be interested in customizing their own pizza at convenience stores; however, only 16 percent of operators offer the option. Pizza is a ubiquitous platform that can be customized from the crust to sauce, cheese and toppings. Sauce, in particular, can change the whole flavor profile of pizza — as it has for other foodservice items. 

Operators have incorporated sauces such as Thousand Island Dressing to reimagine sandwiches like Reubens or McDonald’s Big Mac. C-store chain Casey’s General Stores Inc. has introduced a variety of pizzas the past year from Chicken Quesadilla Pizza to Philly Cheesesteak Pizza, which has grown by 17 percent the past four years on permanent pizza menus. It’s evident that Americans love pizza by the fact that 26 percent of consumers say they purchased pizza the last time they visited a c-store. Build-your-own pizzas are a great way to personalize each slice. Mix and Match Meal Component Bundling works.

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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