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    The 2016 Forecast for Foodservice

    No retailers polled by CSNews expect their sales in this category to decline.

    By Angela Hanson, Convenience Store News

    NATIONAL REPORT — Convenience store operators continue to view foodservice as a growth category that represents a major point of opportunity in the year ahead.

    A total of 82.4 percent of retailers polled by Convenience Store News as part of the 14th annual Industry Forecast Study believe their foodservice sales, which include prepared food and hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages, will increase in 2016. This marks a slight uptick from the 81.3 percent who predicted the same one year ago, showing an increased level of optimism.

    Even c-store operators that do not expect to see foodservice growth have an overall positive sentiment, as 17.6 percent of respondents expect sales to stay the same. Zero respondents said they expect their foodservice sales to decrease.

    "[Foodservice] will only grow for those who do it right," one retailer commented.

    Although larger c-store chains have more resources to commit to a foodservice program, retailers of all sizes view the category positively. In fact, more single-store owners expect to see increased foodservice sales than chain stores, at 87.5 percent vs. 80.8 percent respectively.

    This positive view of foodservice stems from improving consumer perceptions coupled with execution, according to survey respondents. Customers increasingly view c-stores as a valid meal destination, increasing the demand for quality prepared food and beverages, which in turn validates their perspective.

    Foodservice has a "big upside if performed correctly," said another retailer.

    Some c-stores are approaching the category cautiously, testing items and adding foodservice only to certain stores rather than a full-scale rollout. Others anticipate a high rate of growth and in fact have created new management positions to spearhead the category.

    Retailers point to ethnic food as a potential big trend in 2016.

    For full results of our 14th annual Forecast Study, including dollar and unit projections in other key c-store product categories, look in the January issue of Convenience Store News.

    By Angela Hanson, Convenience Store News
    • About Angela Hanson Angela Hanson is associate editor for EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News, where she is responsible for primary coverage of the candy, snacks and packaged beverages categories. Since joining CSNews as assistant editor in early 2011, she has played a key role in helping CSNews.com maintain its position as the No. 1 news source for the convenience store industry. Prior to joining CSNews, Hanson served as junior editor at Creative Homeowner book press and as managing editor of Anime Insider magazine. She has degrees in creative writing and visual communication technology from Bowling Green State University.

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