The top 10 prepared food trends at convenience stores

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The top 10 prepared food trends at convenience stores

Datassential highlights the developments having the greatest impact on the category right now

As convenience stores continue to build up their foodservice credentials and consumers continue to take notice, the prepared food category keeps growing in importance to the channel.

According to Chain Store News, Datassential, a food and beverage industry research and consulting firm, believes the following 10 trends are having the greatest impact on the category right now and will sustain into 2019:

1. Find the Right Balance Between Taste & Nutrition

The shift to healthy eating continues to hit the foodservice market, and that includes c-stores. Taste is the top driver for away-from-home purchases. However, health and wellness was the fastest-growing driver between 2012 and 2016.

2. Customization Counts

C-store customers value a wide variety of choices in how they can top a prepared food product. According to Datassential’s Keynote Report: C-Stores, condiments serve as an indicator of quality and can be a way to both increase the perceived range of offerings and allow for more consumer customization.

3. Simplicity Satisfies

Some of the highest-rated limited-time offers (LTOs) are basic concepts, like QuickChek’s Salt & Pepper Fries, which was recently featured in Convenience Store News' "What Hot on C-store Menus?" department.

4. Global Flavor Adds Variety

Ethnic items such as egg rolls, empanadas and sushi are craveable to c-store consumers. Adding global flavors to ubiquitous items is another way to add a taste of the world and increase variety.

5. Take Advantage of the Impulse Buy

Forty-three percent of c-store visitors buy something they hadn't planned on purchasing.

6. Continue to Use the F Word: Fresh

Don't just add the callout; have fresh food available — fruits, veggies, salads, etc.

7. Put Pizza in the Breakfast Plan

According to Datassential's 2018 SNAP! Keynote: Pizza, breakfast pizzas are trending on menus. Grab the morning-rush crowd by offering a fresh, hot slice.  

8. Market Desserts as a Snack

Mini desserts have potential as a c-store snack that people will grab on the go. Forty-three percent of consumers are interested, but only 27 percent of c-stores offer them (as of 2017).

9. Make It Mini

In 2016, 62 percent of consumers were interested in seeing hot appetizer/finger foods at convenience stores. That was up from just 19 percent in 2012.

10. Snacking Is Big for C-store Food

As a snacking source, c-stores rank higher than vending machines in purchase history and consideration.

Based in Chicago, Datassential brings clients real-world insights on flavor trends, foodservice and consumer packaged goods, globally.

To read full Chain Store News article, click here.