C-stores ‘falling behind’ on food-to-go

The latest research from shopper insights agency HIM has revealed that independent convenience stores are missing out on the food-to-go category.

The insight, from HIM’s exclusive Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP), was conducted through 20,000 face-to-face shopper interviews at 1,400 different convenience stores and found that average spend on food-to-go within independent convenience stores is just £1.40. This is more than 50p lower than the market average and more than £1.20 behind forecourts, the channel with the highest food-to-go spend across convenience.

Across all food-to-go categories, forecourts perform better than independent c-stores, however there is clear disparity in hot drinks to go and sandwiches. Some 10% of shopper baskets within forecourts contain hot drinks to go versus less than 1% for independents and 7% of forecourt baskets include sandwiches versus 2% for indies.

Blonnie Walsh, Senior Insights Manager at HIM said: “Food-to-go has long been cited as a huge opportunity for convenience retailers to differentiate from competitors. However, our data shows that many independent retailers are failing to maximise this opportunity and are far behind their competitors.

“Food-to-go shoppers choose stores based on different criteria and retailers need to capitalise on these opportunities. For example, proximity to work, range of products and friendliness of staff are more important to the FTG shopper than the average shopper. Retailers need to place extra focus on these areas in order to compete better, and suppliers and wholesalers must support retailers with the latest shopper trends to ensure that their offering remains relevant.”