Most of us remember our neighborhood convenience store. Before the days of instant streaming and iPhone games, there was sitting curbside in front of the 7-Eleven with a Slurpee brain freeze and a newly opened pack of gummies, wasting away the hot summer days. Things have changed a lot since then, and convenience stores have taken notice. More and more people these days are concerned with healthy living, cutting artificial flavors, gluten, and carbs from their diets. Fewer people are buying steamer rack hot dogs and increasingly opting for packaged salads and fruit instead.
So what happens to the Twinkies and potato chips of the c-store world? Some convenience stores are now offering fresher and more sophisticated food selections to keep up with the growing demand. These stores serve up a plethora of “food prepared on-site” items like sushi, prosciutto and cheese cracker snacks, and made-to-order sandwiches. A recent study found that a 2.4% increase of consumers cited “food prepared on-site” as motivation to visit convenience stores.
What does this all mean for the food service industry? The increasingly competitive restaurant industry will continue feeling pressure from the addition of convenience store food services. However, while the convenience store fresh food trend is on the rise, many stores still lag behind. These stores are under the assumption that people buying food from the convenience store aren’t concerned about healthy options. So don’t worry; the stocks of dated tuna sandwiches and heat-lamp pizza aren’t going anywhere quite yet.