Digital Content Hub for C-Stores
By Angela Altass
Meeting consumer needs and expectations has never been more challenging. With a workforce that has become largely centered around varying degrees of lockdowns and stay-at-home regulations, getting a handle on what consumers are looking for and when can be difficult, especially when it comes to foodservice.
Cargill recently launched a content hub to help convenience store operators by providing digital resources designed specifically for c-stores. The Beyond Convenience digital content hub offers resources and solutions for c-store operators, including consumer and culinary insights, menu ideas and a podcast series featuring interviews with industry experts.
Cargill also conducted an online survey with those who purchase prepared food from c-stores to identify consumer preferences when purchasing prepared food. According to the Cargill research, consumers want craveable and indulgent food items from convenience stores, along with freshness, a wide variety of menu items and fast/quick options.
The research uncovered some changing foodservice behaviours from convenience store customers, indicating a shift away from three square meals a day and an increased interest in snacking. Convenience store customers were noted to be seeking options, such as pizza and grill items, including hot dogs and churros, as well as made-to-order cold and hot sandwiches or pre-made cold sandwiches. Breakfast is an on-the-go item and 85 per cent of consumers surveyed had a high interest in buying hot, prepared breakfast sandwiches from convenience stores. Consumers expressed a strong interest in purchasing hot, prepared breakfast items from c-stores, particularly sandwiches (83 per cent), burritos (69 per cent) and bowls (54 per cent).
Lunch needs to be easily portable with sandwiches and wraps being the second highest grab-and-go offering at c-stores while dinner offerings need to be ready to eat. According to Cargill’s recent c-store research, Mexican/Tex-Mex, Italian and Chinese are the most in-demand flavour profiles for c-store prepared items. Nearly one-third of consumers surveyed said they are interested in alternative protein food items from c-stores, particularly burgers, chicken nuggets, pizza and breakfast sandwiches.
In a recent podcast, Cargill’s senior food scientist Chod Morrow sat down with Deedim Vladimirov, senior product manager at 7-Eleven to discuss the value supplier partnerships have in building success for c-stores. They also discussed how supplier relationships can help c-store operators better understand the consumer by bringing insights and expertise to help guide them in product offerings. Other topics included consumer shopping changes, popular products and regionalizing product offerings for customers.
In another podcast, Cargill’s consumer insights manager, Candyce Wisner, spoke with Jude Olinger, founder and CEO of Olinger Group regarding recent research the company conducted around consumer insights and attitudes towards c-stores. They discussed three c-store consumer segments: heavy users, medium users and light users and the different needs and purchasing habits for each segment. Other topics included key drivers around the consumer decision to shop at c-stores and consumer preferences around hot and cold prepared food, meal kits and alternative proteins.
Further information is available by accessing the content hub at www.cargill.com/page/c-store-home.