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    Grab-and Go Food Drives Sales at Truckstops

    Merchandise purchases at truckstops nationwide served by McLane Co. increased 24 percent in Q2, according to McLane-NATSO Index.

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Total merchandise purchases by truckstops nationwide served by McLane Co. increased 24 percent during the 2011 second quarter, compared with a year earlier, led largely by hot and cold beverage sales along with commissary, foodservice, dairy and deli sales, according to the McLane-NATSO Index.

    The index, designed to illustrate market trends within the truckstop and travel plaza industry by comparing the weekly wholesale sales of supply chain provider McLane to truckstop convenience stores, found that hot dispensed beverages like coffee, cappuccino, lattes and tea jumped 54 percent for the three-month period, ending June 30. The increase was driven largely by rapidly escalating coffee bean prices, which jumped 50 percent between March 2010 to March 2011, forcing retailers to charge more for coffee.

    The 2011 Second Quarter McLane-NATSO Index also showed that sales of commissary, dairy and deli products jumped 23 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, as retailers continue to market these higher-margin products. Cold dispensed beverage sales, meanwhile, increased 22 percent. These two categories reflect a growing trend toward grab-and-go food at truckstops.

    "Our mission at NATSO is to advance the success of our truckstop and travel plaza members," said Lisa Mullings, president and CEO of NATSO (National Association of Truck Stop Operators). "This index allows our members to better understand customer buying trends so they can better meet their customer needs."

    Steve Brady, McLane's vice president of sales, military and convenience stores, added: "Consumers, including independent truck drivers, have a variety of options today on where and how to spend their money. For plaza owners who want to reach this audience with the right products -- convenience merchandise, other non-fuel products and services -- the McLane-NATSO Index is a valuable tool."

    Total merchandise purchases include the range of convenience store items sold at a truckstop, excluding cigarettes, divided into nine other categories including candy, snacks, non-alcoholic packaged beverages, automotive products, commissary, foodservice, other dairy and deli products, and hot and cold dispensed beverages. McLane tracks its weekly wholesale sales for more than 900 truckstop locations nationwide. The complete index report, including regional breakdowns, is circulated free to all NATSO members.

    McLane, with more than $30 billion in annual revenue, provides supply chain services solutions for grocery and foodservice customers across the United States. With 38 distribution centers and one of the nation's largest private fleets, McLane optimizes the purchase, flow and sale of products from thousands of suppliers to 50,000-plus locations. The company also provides alcoholic beverage Distribution in select states, logistic services in Brazil, and exports to 25 countries.

    The NATSO Foundation is the research, education and public outreach subsidiary of NATSO Inc., the trade association of America's travel plaza and truckstop industry.

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