Thursday, April 18, 2024

Once Again Fresh Food Focus Pays Off as Busy Consumers Embrace C-Store Eats


Time-starved consumers are increasingly turning to convenience stores for their prepared food needs, according to new research I've been digging into. This is a major win for the c-store industry, which has invested heavily in recent years to develop high-quality, fresh food offerings.

The 2024 Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle Study, surveying over 1,500 frequent c-store shoppers, paints a clear picture while edifying the findings of Steven Johnson our Grocerant Guru® and his time at Tacoma, WA base Foodservice Solutions®.  Let’s take a look:

1.        Prepared Food Takes a Leap: A whopping 69% of those surveyed reported buying prepared food at a convenience store in the past month, a significant jump of 14 percentage points from the previous year. This highlights a growing consumer preference for convenient, grab-and-go meal options.

2.        Pizza Takes the Crown: When it comes to specific cravings, pizza now reigns supreme as the most popular prepared food item at c-stores. Hot dogs, breakfast sandwiches (dethroned from last year's top spot), deli sandwiches, and hot snacks like French fries round out the top five. Interestingly, hot snacks saw a significant climb from number eight to number five in just a year.

3.        Combo Cravings: The study also revealed that 90% of prepared food buyers purchase additional items to complete their meal. Fountain drinks, bottled/canned sodas, bottled water, coffee/tea, and packaged salty snacks are the most popular pairings. Notably, Generation Z leans towards bottled water (51%) with their prepared food, while millennials favor salty snacks (33%).

These findings are a testament to the success of convenience stores in adapting to the evolving needs of today's busy consumers. By offering a wider variety of fresh, high-quality prepared foods alongside complementary beverages and snacks, c-stores are positioning themselves as a one-stop shop for quick and convenient meal solutions.

As the Grocerant Guru®, I delight when others edify our previous findings. I continue to be excited to see how this trend continues to develop and how c-stores further refine their prepared food offerings to cater to even more specific consumer preferences.  Stay tuned I will bring your more! 

Don’t over reach. Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit us on our social media sites by clicking the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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