"The reality is that the convenience retail channel does continue to capture share from more traditional fast-food outlets," David Portalatin, an NPD analyst, tells Marketing Daily. "People aren't just picking up a hot dog off the roller grill because it's there. They are choosing the convenience store they shop at because of the kinds of food offered there. C-stores are in an excellent position to meet their shoppers' needs for both convenience and fresh."
Those purchasing freshly prepared foods also averaged 7.8 visits over a 30-day period, compared to 5.66 for all c-store shoppers. And they buy more -- averaging 4.1 products, compared to 1.64 products bought by all c-store shoppers, with an average check that is $1.65 higher.
The Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research group includes data on more than 49,000 convenience store shoppers in its report.
Because the vast majority of C-stores don't offer food prepared on premises, consumers' increasing appetite for these fresh foods presents a major opportunity. "With shoppers returning to the fresh category and still looking for value, the vast majority of c-stores don't offer these foods. So those that do have a real opportunity for continued development."
Convenience stores continue to be a growing source of all types of food purchases. The National Association of Convenience Stores estimates that there are nearly 145,000 in the U.S., accounting for $624 billion in total sales for 2008, with $450 billion in gasoline and fuel sales.