Single Store Owner

APR 2016

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58 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / APRIL 2016 Ideas LabeL COnSCiOuS The convenience store industry as a whole has been making an effort to incorporate healthier offerings into the product mix, and new re- search shows it's a step in the right direction. Carbonview Research, a sister company of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, recently surveyed a sample of 589 c-store shoppers and found that only 9.5 percent of them said they are not influenced at all by product labels like low/no fat or gluten-free. What makes this even more important is that slightly more than half of these same consumers say they buy food or beverages at a c-store at least two to three times a week. Other findings from the research include: • Less than half of con- sumers who say maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is important to them agree that convenience stores are meeting their needs. • Male and female shoppers don't really differ when it comes to paying attention to product labels. The exceptions are labels pro- moting non-GMO or no artificial ingredients, both of which are more likely to sway a female customer. a brand-new YOu Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the second-largest U.S. convenience store operator, will bring the majority of its holdings under a new global Circle K brand — an effort that will include more than just new signage. And that's a smart move, according to one branding expert. "Unfortunately, people think branding is merely a logo and a name. But there is also the emotional con- nection you make with the customers," said Joe Bona, president of MoseleyBona Retail. "Offering quality of service, quality of food, the right products in the right place. These are fundamentals of retail, and that is what makes a brand a brand." When working to establish a brand or improve upon an existing brand, Bona advises c-store operators to ask themselves: How do you take that brand and make it relevant to the local market? nience stores and gas stations in 24 states. "In many markets, Hispanic customers come in more often and are very loyal. Having the varieties of products and condiments they prefer is key," Prast continued. "We added a tamale on the roller grill last year in certain markets and it has done very well." rOLLing aLOng Foodservice programs in the convenience channel have come a long way, but that doesn't mean retailers should banish their roller grills to storage. Traditional c-store fare like hot dogs on a roller grill remain popular, and in fact, roller grills are seeing all sorts of new innovation. While the primary roller-grill consumer continues to be male, this shopper demographic includes many subsets in terms of ethnicity, race and other cultural variances. Depend- ing on the ethnic makeup of a store's surrounding area, a variety of different flavor profiles can be offered on the same roller grill — Hispanic, Asian, Tex-Mex, etc. "Thai flavors, taco dogs, taquitos, Tornados and tamales are finding their way to the roller grill," noted Chad Prast, se- nior category manager of fresh foods and dispensed beverages at Murphy USA Inc., operator of more than 1,300 conve- bIg

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