In May of 2016, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) asked consumers about their upcoming road trips and how many times they planned to stop at convenience stores along the way. The survey found that more than 70 percent of consumers expected to make multiple pit-stops during their journey. Regardless of their initial reason of stopping, the fresh and ready-to-eat options can influence consumers to increase their purchases.
For instance, a BP gas station in Brownsburg, Indiana has gained attention and traction by serving up unexpected Indian dishes for locals. The fresh, made-to-order options include lamb vindaloo, chana masala and much more. Though the curry is an added bonus, the convenience plays a large part in acquiring popularity.
Convenience stores are not the only place where hot, prepared foods are making an entrance. For the past few years, grocery stores like Wegmans, Whole Foods Market and Mariano’s have been offering a vast variety of ready-to-eat foods outside of the traditional rotisserie chicken.
Laura Strange, the spokeswoman for the National Grocers Association, shares her ideas on foodservice in the grocery industry as convenience driven. “We have found that consumers are time starved. So, whenever they can go in a grocery store, shop and choose from freshly prepared options for dinner, they will take advantage of the convenience.”
Jeff Lenard, the vice president of the strategic industry initiatives for NACS has recognized the popular trend as, “Americans seeking appealing stores that are full of hot and fresh food with an added emphasis on cleanliness.”