Convenience stores: Consumers want healthier food

Chicago / IL. (tni) Convenience stores score solid marks for providing a variety of tasty, high-quality items, but there is room for improvement in the area of healthy foods, say consumers. A new report from food-service consultant Technomic finds that just 28 percent of consumers think convenience stores do well at offering healthy options. However, 52 percent would like to see more healthy food items there, and 47 percent would like to see a wider variety of healthy beverages.

«Today, major convenience chains are actively developing healthier, higher-quality food offerings in order to benefit from trade-down restaurant spending and to compete more effectively with limited-service restaurants», says Darren Tristano, EVP at Technomic.

The «Convenience Store Foodservice Consumer Trend Report» was developed by Technomic to help convenience store operators and suppliers recognize trends, gain consumer insights and identify opportunities for growth in food-service. Interesting findings include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of consumers (63 percent) say they visit a convenience store at least once a week, but only about half (53 percent) purchase food or a beverage.
  • Convenience stores´ strongest competitors for food purchases are fast-food restaurants. Nearly half of consumers (49 percent) said fast-food restaurants were their alternative for breakfast, 47 percent for lunch, and 32 percent for dinner.
  • Consumers found made-to-order offerings highly appealing, especially sandwiches (57 percent), salads (50 percent), beverages (48 percent) and hot foods (46 percent).

The «Convenience Store Foodservice Consumer Trend Report» provides analysis of consumer purchase behaviour, attitudes and preferences of more than 1’500 U.S. consumers surveyed in July 2010. Menu and concept trends at leading chains are analyzed using Technomic´s exclusive MenuMonitor database. Appendices include consumer demographics and concept and menu profiles of 15 innovative and emerging chains.