The C-store business is certainly changing in 2017. Innovative technology, more competition from larger brands, and a whole rash of new food trends are poised to make a big impact on the industry in the coming year, and beyond.
Looking ahead, CStoreDecisions.com recently went in depth to look at what we can expect to see in terms of food trends on the horizon. Among the findings, they report:
80 percent of meals are sourced at home
Fewer than 20 percent have been sourced from foodservice sources
While this may seem to indicate a break from grocery and Cstores, wait just one minute. Fewer than 20% of meals may come from foodservice sources, however money spent is evenly distributed between home and external sources.
What Does this Mean?
It’s no secret that people are eating more meals at home now, however they are doing so in a new way. This growing trend is known as the “blended meal,” which means that people don’t exclusively source food at home.
“Homemade” meals are often sourced from items fully or partially prepared, so this is where the convenience aspect comes in. More people are combining their meal prep and opting for a combination of pre-made and fresh ingredients. The best of both worlds.
Learning how to manage inventory effectively is a step towards capitalizing on this growing trend. For example, a meal kit might be a product you can provide that will help the customer with prepping their meal. Especially with the rise of home delivery meal kits, even grocery stores are starting to get in on this trend.
It’s All About the Customer
With the consumer being in charge, now is a time more than ever to reach them at a personal level. Now is a time when truly the old adage of giving the customer what they want is important.
Another trend to look for, meal versatility is very important right now. People are in search of foods that are flexible and can be used to add on to certain meals or can also work as snacks. Whether it be on the go or at home, a product that can work as both will be important to utilize and have readily available.
Many people still have in the back of their heads that convenience stores sell low quality, gas station food which is becoming a thing of the past.
In 1985, there were half a million grocery and restaurant establishments in the United States. That number has grown to 1.4 million, with 81% of the new establishments being convenience stores. The industry is on the rise. What’s more, it’s evolving to meet the growing needs and demands of the customer.
How C-Stores Can Cash In
Organic, locally sourced, and healthy options are all in-demand trends in 2017. And more C-stores are obliging. 7-11 has begun rolling out healthier salad and sandwich options in many of their locations, and other stores are following suit.