Independent c-stores falling behind on food to go, says HIM

Convenience stores need more support from wholesalers on food to go

Independent convenience stores are missing out on the food-to-go category and need more support from wholesalers, according to new research.

The insight, from HIM’s exclusive Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP), was conducted through more than 20,000 face-to-face shopper interviews, across 1,400 different convenience stores with 26 different fascias. The results benchmark competitors in the consumer channel across different formats and for numerous categories within food, drink and tobacco.

The report highlights that average spend on food to go within independent convenience stores is £1.40; more than 50p lower than the market average and more than £1.20 behind forecourts.

Across all food-to-go categories, forecourts perform better than independent c-stores, however there is clear disparity in hot drinks to go and sandwiches. 10% of shopper baskets within forecourts contain hot drinks to go versus less than 1% for independents and 7% of forecourt baskets include sandwiches versus 2% for independents.

“Food to go has long been cited as a huge opportunity for convenience retailers to differentiate from competitors and create their own USP. However, our data shows that many independent retailers are failing to maximise this opportunity and are far behind their competitors,” said Blonnie Walsh, Senior Insights Manager at HIM.

“Food-to-go shoppers choose stores based on different criteria and retailers need to capitalise on these opportunities. For example, proximity to work, range of products and friendliness of staff are more important to the food-to-go shopper than the average shopper. Retailers need to place extra focus on these areas in order to compete better and suppliers and wholesalers must support retailers with the latest shopper trends to ensure that their offering remains relevant.”

convenience food-to-go HIM research