Sunday, February 6, 2022

What’s on C-Stores Menu for 2022


Convenience stores continue to evolve with consumers.  Leveraging the strength of their brands C-stores are migrating to new business models with the potential to drive greater growth of top-line sales and bottom-line profits according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

According to Johnson, what’s on the menu in 2022 is “more and more wine, craft beer, liquor, along with non-alcoholic beverages that both Gen Z and Millennials are drawn too.”

Regular reader of this blog know that Parker’s Convenience store recently opened, Parker’s Spirits, with plans for more units.  Now Kwik Trip is growing its family of brands with the launch of Kwik Spirits. The new store format features a wide variety of products such as wine, liquor, beer and tobacco, including humidor cigars, roll-your-own, chewing tobacco, vape products and cigarettes.

Both Gen Z and Millennials are increasingly trying no- and low-ABV drinks as they focus more on health and moderation, making the low-ABV movement a trend to watch out for this year as we previously wrote about. Here are some facts we previously quoted.

No- and low-alcohol beverage sales increased 33 percent to $331 million over the last 52 weeks, according to Nielsen, while IWSR found that the non-alcoholic spirits category is expected to grow 35 percent by 2023.

Recently DoorDash advised retailers to stock interesting and unique no- and low-ABV alternatives alongside their beer and liquor options to enable customers who want to lower their alcohol intake to still be able to enjoy a delicious drink. Placing them near or next to alcohol offerings allows customers to discover them organically.

Other 2022 trends include:

·         Hard seltzer bubbles up — Hard seltzer brands are growing with fun, fruity flavors such as Black Cherry and Spicy Pineapple drawing in customers. New spiked beverage such as hard kombucha, hard iced tea and more are likely to follow. If a beverage type exists, a hard version is likely on the way.

·         Adaptogens go mainstream — Adaptogens are herbal pharmaceuticals such as roots and herbs from Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions that supposedly help the body deal with stress. Common ingredients include ashwagandha, lavender, ginseng, tulsi and reishi. Their effectiveness may be up for scientific debate, but they remain popular with consumers who use them as an alternative or addition to drinking alcohol.

·         Natural wine sales spike — Wines that are made with organic ingredients, have no additives and have had little intervention in their fermentation have recently grown in popularity after the Institute for Origins and Quality, the French Ministry for Agriculture and the French Fraud Control Office agreed on a common definition of "natural wine." Organic wine sales are projected to reach 87.5 million cases globally this year.

·         Cocktails to-go — Initially prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, offering to-go cocktails has become standard for many restaurants and retailers alike, and packaged ready-to-drink beverages such as canned margaritas are among the fastest-growing alcohol segments. Convenience and recyclability are two major factors behind the boom, as canned drinks are portable, less fragile than glass containers and more recyclable.

·         Alcohol delivery drives sales — Alcohol delivery sales are on the rise in the wake of the pandemic, and experts predict this trend will hold, whether it is due to safety concerns or a preference for convenience. Restaurants have also found that alcohol delivery helps boost profit margins.

Now as the undercurrent of legalization of cannabis buzz is growing according to Johnson, C-stores state by state are positioned to reap the benefit of legalization better than any other food retailer.  What do you think?

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

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