C-Stores Appeal to America’s Favorite Snack Time

C-Stores Appeal to America’s Favorite Snack Time

C-Stores Appeal to America’s Favorite Snack Time 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

Traditional mealtimes for breakfast, lunch and dinner have been tossed to the wayside as we’ve created a culture of snacking. In fact, according to research by Hartman Group, snacking occasions represent 50 percent of all food and beverage occasions with 90 percent of consumers who say they snack multiple times throughout the day.

As restaurants are extending dayparts, like all-day breakfast offers, to accommodate food interests and adding convenience elements, like mobile ordering and carryout, to capture consumers on the go, convenience stores are catering to consumer’s bite-sized behaviors.

Convenience store trips may be a pit stop during the day, but according to recent research we conducted in collaboration with Technomic, more than half of purchases are surprisingly planned purchases. So, who is this consumer and what are they looking for?

Nearly half of consumers (47%) purchase convenience-store foodservice items once a week or more often, and for those core consumers aged 35-44 visiting daily (70%); they typically shop at the same store each time. This isn’t about exploring new items and experimenting. It’s about more purposeful purchases and familiarity with the food offer that helps consumers feel confident they can count on their c-store to deliver what they’re looking for.

While sugary sweets and salty snacks may always have a place on the c-store shelf, consumers continued shifting focus towards health and wellness is influencing their c-store purchasing decisions as well. Consumers understand that tasty, healthy, fresh food options are no longer exclusive to grocery, and as snacking continues to supersede traditional meals, consuming better-for-you alternatives is desirable.

“There’s been a switch in consumers’ attitudes about being healthy, away from restriction. It isn’t about good food versus bad food. It’s about having a small treat. It’s about balance. Companies are finding a way to provide the fun food they have in a smaller size.” said Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at Mintel in a recent interview with Adweek.

When it comes to the c-store food offer, convenience trumps service. Consumers don’t expect white glove service but instead portable options and the capability to customize reigns king. Health benefits for products should be clearly identified with signage, while product groupings based on product benefits help to create attention to the offer. Refrigerated items like yogurts shouldn’t just be relocated to the back of the store but also featured upfront. Feature display placements should take into consideration the customer’s journey and how that changes throughout the day. Prominent placement of these items upfront can also help change the overall perception of the convenience store.

As consumer routines continue to shift the definition of traditional mealtimes, convenience stores are set to capitalize on the on the go consumer. To explore the impact of c-store design on foodservice attitudes, preferences and usage, purchase our exclusive report “Food Forward C-Store Design” conducted in collaboration with Technomic.

Photo Credit


A collection of insights research and observations across retail, restaurant, c-store and grocery. Helping brands provide a better experience for their customers. Enjoy.

Be the first to know about the latest POV releases. Sign up for The Gist quarterly newsletter.

455 South Ludlow Street
Columbus, OH 43215 USA
+1 614 469 1001
sign up for The Gist quarterly newsletter
Our website uses cookies in order to optimize the experience. By continuing you agree to our use of cookies.
Privacy Policy