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Most consumers today turn to convenience stores for fuel, cold beverages and a quick snack. Fresh produce isn’t on the agenda, but that can change in the future as consumers make more quick shopping trips, and the c-store industry’s image continues to evolve. Fresh produce sales are a key growth opportunity for c-store retailers willing to invest time and effort.
Even though c-stores make up less than 1 percent of the more than $40 billion in produce sales that the United States sees each year, c-store produce sales in 2013 rose 16.7 percent to $328 million, heavily outpacing the 7.3-percent overall growth rate, according to data from NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.
One advantage that c-stores have over grocery stores is their status as a snacking destination. Eighty percent of c-store products are eaten an hour or less after purchase. C-stores also excel at encouraging impulse purchases. This puts them in a prime position to take advantage of consumers’ growing tendency to turn to snacks as a meal substitution, especially as a large number of consumers report wanting more healthy options.
The primary target market for produce is women and millennials.
Click here to continue reading the "Fresh Thinking" special feature, published in the May Convenience Store News Guide to Snacking.