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Forecourts lead convenience sector in food-to-go category

Merril Boulton ·

Forecourts have the highest food-to-go spend across convenience, according to exclusive research from HIM – a leading shopper insights agency within convenience, wholesale, discounters and foodservice.

Their performance compares favourably against independent convenience stores who are missing out on the food-to-go category, according to HIM's latest report, which highlights that average spend on food to go within independent convenience stores is £1.40 - more than 50p less than the market average and more than £1.20 behind forecourts.

The insight, from HIM’s exclusive Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP), was conducted through over 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.

Across all FTG 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.

Blonnie Walsh, senior insights manager at HIM says, “FTG 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.”

“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 FTG shopper than the average shopper. Retailers need to place extra focus on these areas in order to compete better and suppliers and wholesaler must support retailers with the latest shopper trends to ensure that their offering remains relevant.”