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    Pizza Servings at C-stores Are on the Rise

    Increase in demand poses threat to traditional quick-service restaurants.

    CHICAGO — Convenience stores are seeing plenty of dough come through their doors and lots of pizza servings going out.

    Cases of pizza crust and dough shipped to c-stores from broadline foodservice distributors rose 27 percent, and servings of pizza ordered by c-store customers rose by more than 20 percent in the year ended February 2015, according to The NPD Group.

    Additionally, total dollars of pizza crust and dough cases shipped to c-stores from broadline foodservice distributors increased by more than 30 percent during this time period, according to NPD's monthly tracking service SupplyTrack. Complementing this upward trend was a 4-percent increase of pizza box case shipments to c-stores.

    "Convenience stores, particularly food-forward convenience stores, are increasing their foodservice footprint and rapidly gaining share from traditional quick-service operators," stated Annie Roberts, vice president, SupplyTrack. "Foodservice manufacturers and distributors should understand the dynamics that are currently at play between retail and traditional quick-service restaurants in order to fully serve the needs of the changing foodservice marketplace."

    The popularity of the pizza segment at c-stores is further evidence of the channel's increasing focus on foodservice and its competitive threat to traditional quick-service restaurants (QSRs), NPD said. Double-digit growth in pizza servings at c-stores stands in contrast to flat servings at QSR pizza restaurants and a 1-percent increase at traditional QSRs.

    C-stores are also competing with traditional QSRs in terms of visits. Foodservice visits to c-stores rose 2 percent for the year ended February 2015 compared to a 1-percent gain at traditional QSRs.

    Foodservice is now the No. 1 category for in-store gross profit dollars and No. 2 for sales at c-stores, according to the NPD report Growing in a Fragmented Market.

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