Grocery, fast-food shoppers evaluate c-store prepared items

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Grocery, fast-food shoppers evaluate c-store prepared items

By Dan Ochwat - 12/30/2019

Along with private brand snacks and items, many convenience store retailers offer exclusive, prepared foods for on-the-go shoppers, and the innovation in this category is on the rise. 7-Eleven is a great example of this, recently unveiling its new 24/7 Life line of private label electronics and non-food products to go along with new innovative prepared tests such as sliders. Retailers like Casey's tout their popular pizzas, too.

Recent research from the insights and innovation team at EnsembleIQ, parent company of Store Brands and many other retail publications including Convenience Store News, addressed how these prepared foods and prepared beverages (all hail the Slurpee) stack up in the eyes — and mouths — of fast food and grocery shoppers. 

The national study titled “Who’s Winning the Battle for Share of Stomach” was conducted by EIQ for Convenience Store News, and it looked at who primarily shops at c-stores, grocery stores or fast food locations, breaking them down into comparable shopper profiles and further studying their thoughts on prepared foods and prepared beverages found in c-store locations. For example, 43% of fast food shoppers found c-store prepared foods to be lacking in “food freshness” and nearly 40% felt the food lacked “quality.”

The results were shared earlier in the year by Beth Brickel, senior research director, insights and innovation, EnsembleIQ, Chicago, during a private, invitation-only event at the CSNews Convenience Foodservice Exchange and recently reported on by Convenience Store News.

Results from the study showed that c-stores, on average, performed well in taste, freshness, food safety, appearance and quality. But, younger generations are expecting more customization to the offerings, so that could use improvement.

The study showed that the opinion of grocery shoppers and fast food eaters is that c-store prepared foods look less appealing and they lacked healthy options.

Another insight is that 90% of all respondents said the look of the store reflects the perception of the food, too. That includes how clean the store is as well as how cluttered it feels with merchandising.

Further insights:

  • Nearly 40% of grocery shoppers and 33% of fast food shoppers wanted “healthier options.”

  • 35% of grocery shoppers and 30% of fast food shoppers wanted a “wider variety” of prepared foods and prepared beverages offered.

  • Nearly 40% of grocery shoppers and 34% of fast food shoppers cited “freshness” with prepared date and freshness information as being a top motivator to purchase.

  • 43% of grocery shoppers and 37% of fast food shoppers cite “low prices” as being important.

  • Nearly half of respondents relied on recommendations from family and friends when deciding on where to get food and beverages.

Read the full article from sister publication CSN here and find more on the research here.