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NEW YORK — From East Coast to West Coast and all points in between, U.S. consumers have higher expectations today than ever before. That’s because there is a foodservice revolution happening in America, according to Christopher Wolf, who leads the development of new innovation capabilities for Tyson Foods.
“America is obsessed with food today, and this means consumers are interested in learning more and spending more,” Wolf said in a presentation during the 2016 Convenience Store News Foodservice Summit, held March 15-16 at New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel.
Presented in partnership with Tyson Convenience, the fifth-annual CSNews Foodservice Summit brought together convenience foodservice retailer executives for a mix of guided tours, interactive presentations by foodservice industry visionaries, roundtable discussions and more.
Wolf discussed multiple trends fueling the foodservice revolution. Among them:
- Experiential Eating: Food procurement has become a fun hobby vs. a chore.
- Procurement Promiscuity: Consumers visit at least five channels to buy their food.
- Farm to Landfill: The importance of waste reduction is growing.
- Food Tech Connect: How we find food items and share experiences is changing.
- Eating De-Ritualization: Almost half of eating occasions are alone.
- Value Paradox: Value lies in differentiation, not just price point.
He told the c-store retailers that while these trends will continue to evolve, America’s obsession with food is not going to dissipate anytime soon.
“If there’s a solution you’ve tried and it didn’t work, that doesn’t mean the trend is going away. This is here to stay,” he explained. “It’s just a matter of you figuring out what is the right solution for you.”
If c-stores give consumers a reason, they will spend more, he concluded. Case in point: During the recession, millennials traded down in number of visits, but traded up in where they went, choosing fast-casual establishments over quick-service restaurants.
For more coverage of the 2016 Foodservice Summit, including how leading c-store chains are refining their foodservice strategies, look in the May issue of Convenience Store News.