It seems that fast food isn’t fast enough for Americans anymore. Increasingly, time-stressed consumers are turning to easy grab-and-go food items while rushing through busy days. This trend is timely, as convenience stores today are relying less on just fuel and tobacco sales. However, foodservice offerings are taking up the slack. Coca-Cola research reveals that foodservice offerings add up to more than $3 of every $10 of in-store profits today, according to the NACS 2015 State of the Industry report.
Expanding Focus on Growing Foodservice
Foodservice sales have increased by 43% in convenience store outlets over the last decade, according to a report by Mintel Convenience Store Foodservice 2015. Scott Tillman, director of retail channel strategy and commercialization for The Coca-Cola Company, says the trend has accelerated with more convenience retail chains ramping up restaurant, prepared food, and snack offerings. And there’s plenty of room for more growth. Only 4% of convenience retail stores in the U.S. offer sit-down restaurant sections, and only 14% of convenience retailers offer prepared food menu items, according to a study by NPD CREST, 2016. Tillman says, “Retailers focused on growing foodservice are driving great customer loyalty and selling larger baskets.”
Satisfying Meal and Snack Bundles
Coca-Cola has proprietary Diner Insights, Needs and Experiences (DINE) 2013 research that indicates 27% of convenience retail foodservice shoppers say the availability of combination offers is important to their location decision. Meal bundles can help capture share of the around 400 million occasions with no beverage, according to NPD CREST, 2016. Coke’s portfolio approach, led by Coca-Cola®, along with Gold Peak® Tea and DASANI®, is best positioned to help retailers drive sales growth with an effective meal program, Tillman says. According to Consumer Beverage Landscape 2015, Coke® brands lead the competition in ‘goes well with food’ with Coca-Cola scoring 15 points higher than Pepsi in that segment. New trends towards all day snacking play to the strength of convenience retail, with 90% of customers snacking throughout the day, according to Hartmann Group 2015. To help retailers capture this opportunity, Coca-Cola is expanding their strategic alliances across a broad array of snack partners, including “alternative” snacks.
Popular Pairings with Favorite Coke Beverages
As convenience retailers capitalize on these new food and beverage trends, Tillman says The Company will ramp up new tools to increase customer awareness of ready-to-serve and fresh-to-go meals, as well as snacking solutions that are perfectly paired with favorite Coca-Cola beverages. Coke’s new “Perfectly Paired Solutions” tool is an interactive portal that allows account managers to provide proprietary shopper insights and create customized “with Meals” activation plans for each customer, including new in-store messaging that features popular food items offered with bundled Coca-Cola beverages as special deals. The Company has also created a wide range of new merchandising solutions that allow customers to create beverage bundle solutions in close proximity to foodservice or snacks.
Leverage the Beverage to Drive Loyalty and Profits
The opportunity to drive convenience retail sales remains promising. Tillman notes that Coke brand products are already consumed with convenience retail purchased snacks, lunches and dinners about twice as often as competitive brands, according to Consumer Beverage Landscape 2015. “The message is ‘Leverage the Beverage’ to drive your convenience customer loyalty and foodservice profits,” Tillman says. “Investments in convenience retail foodservice are already driving additional consumer traffic.”