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Convenience is king in prepared foods

Chloe Riley, headshot 2023.jpgChloe Riley is the Executive Editor of Supermarket News, which delivers the ultimate in competitive business intelligence, news and information for executives in the food retail and grocery industry. A graduate of the School of Journalism at Columbia College Chicago, Chloe previously served as a Digital Strategist at SEO firm Profound Strategy, Associate Editor at B2B hospitality mag HOTELS Magazine, as well as CEO of her own digital strategy company, Chlowe.

Convenience, price, and variety are the biggest factors driving consumers to prepare foods purchases within grocery, according to a recent report from Technomic.

And convenience seems to matter almost more than anything else. About half of consumers (49%) surveyed in the report said they found grab-and-go retail prepared foods appealing, including 51% of consumers age 34 and under.

Location matters too. The report suggests that retailers should consider both visibility and accessibility of prepared foods in order to maximize the consumer demand for convenience. Twenty-nine percent of consumers said the location of the prepared foods area made a difference in whether or not they bought.

The time of day is also a factor. For example, supermarkets have lost ground in the breakfast daypart when it comes to prepared foods, while convenience stores have gained, the report says.

It’s a trend that seems to be driven by more consumers commuting to work again, returning to pre-pandemic routines of picking up breakfast at traditional quick-service restaurants and c-stores as part of their morning commutes.

C-stores are also the preferred destination for prepared-foods snacks, with 47% of consumers reporting that they have bought prepared-foods snacks at c-stores, compared with just 26% who have bought foodservice snacks at supermarkets.

What does this add up to? C-stores are kicking some butt when it comes to conveniently prepared foods offerings. Convenience knows how to do convenient — and the shopper sees that. Grocers, take heed.