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C-Stores Big Opportunity – Millennials

C-Stores Big Opportunity – Millennials
Convenience stores have a unique opportunity to capture the hearts, minds and wallets of Millennials. This generation seems to always be “connected,” using smart phones and tablets as a way of life; making a strong digital relationship a necessity to reach them when and where they are shopping. Yet they are averse and even skeptical of those who over advertise, continually offer deals, instead they are more likely to purchase when a “surprise” deal comes their way. Convenience Store Decisions magazine reports that Millennials are more spontaneous when shopping and have new ways of engaging with food and beverages. But their expectation is retailers and their brands need to be authentic and transparent by addressing their specific needs and concerns like budget constraints, desire for customizable/personal experience, and a great value.

This generation is likely more than others to shop multiple locations in order to find just the items they want at a price/value equation that fits their budget. Millennials are less biased regarding where they can find quality foods and beverages, unlike older generations; they see nothing wrong with purchasing sushi in a grocery store or freshly made artisan sandwiches from a convenience store with the understanding that quality must reign supreme. They are willing to pay more for food items they see as a value including quality ingredients, freshly made products that fit their on-the-go lifestyle, out of the ordinary flavors, sharable items and health conscious options.

This method of shopping places c-store operations with foodservice programs in a unique position to cater to this generation in a way that drives repeat traffic, leading to additional sales and ultimately revenue.
Price vs. Value
Price vs. Value – Millennials will make up 40% of restaurant spend by 2020 equaling about 1.7 trillion dollars according to Convenience Store Decisions. They gravitate towards fast casual, who are offering high quality ingredients they can customize without spending additional resources they don’t have at a full service restaurant. C-stores who embrace these cues can find ways to take advantage of this trend with minimal adjustments to their current foodservice offering, like artisan breads, variety in condiments, and higher quality meats and cheese on their deli sandwiches, all of which demand a higher price point.
Sharable
Sharable – Millennials want variety and the ability to be adventurous in their food and beverage selection. This desire is contributing to the rise of small plates, tapas and sharable portion sizes. While some of this mentality is due to the health consciousness of this generation, but it’s also their desire for variety. They don’t want to be locked into one specific choice, rather value the idea that they can try a multitude of flavors and dishes. Create a foodservice program where customers have the ability to chose 2 or 3 smaller size offerings to deliver a customized meal experience.
Adventures in Flavor
Adventures in Flavor – Adventure is the spice of life and Millennials believe this whole-heartedly especially when it comes to their food and beverages. Seasonal flavor profiles from pumpkin for fall to fresh fruit options in the spring and summer are big hits with all consumers. But Millennials want more, according to Technomic Inc. this generation pride themselves on their willingness to experiment with nontraditional flavor profiles. Offering out-of-the-box flavor combinations on anything from pizza to sandwiches is a simple way to differentiate your offerings and create a craveable flavor destination for customers.
C-Store foodservice programs that cater to the Millennial’s desires for transparency, food and beverage options that fit their needs, at a price point they see value in, will be rewarded.
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