Convenience Store News

JAN 2017

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WWW.CSNEWS.COM | JANUARY 2017 | Convenience Store News 65 Only a handful of convenience store operators currently offer drive-thru service, but King-Casey principal Tom Cook believes the number will grow significantly in 2017. "We see dramatic growth in this area as savvy brands realize that drive-thrus offer the best way to meet the customer demand for convenience, as well as a way to differentiate themselves and generate incremental foodservice sales," he explained. In 2017, the food and beverage industry will welcome more products that emphasize plants as key ingredients, predicts Mintel global food and drink analyst Jenny Zegler. More packaged products and recipes will leverage fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants as a way to align with consumers' nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities. Their preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will drive further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations. Dramatic Drive-Thru Growth Plant Power It's becoming more common for consumers to make meals at home while also using dishes sourced from restaurants and other foodservice outlets. Purchased components are more likely to be appetizers or side dishes, indicating consumers use these items as quick ways to round out or complete their meals. As younger consumers (who already consume fresh foods at higher rates) age, market researcher The NPD Group forecasts that their demand for freshness in a hurry will only increase. Opportunity exists all along the preparation spectrum, from meal kits to delivery. Competing against a multitude of ever-evolving physical and digital store formats, retailers must create attractive destinations to drive in-store traffic. In 2017, traditional definitions of categories can no longer dictate the journey through the store, according to retail services company Daymon. Shoppers want tailored solutions that lead to experiences — not just transactions. Retailers should continue to focus on creating branded destinations with products and services that establish authority in high-volume areas of the store, while also finding innovative ways to deliver differentiated solutions and shareable experiences, Daymon advises. The increasingly hectic pace of modern life is creating a market for functional foods and drinks designed to help people calm down before bedtime, sleep better, and restore the body while they rest. Research firm Mintel predicts that in 2017, evening will be tapped as a new occasion for functional food and drink formulations. Products can leverage the reputation of the tea category and use chamomile, lavender and other herbs as a way to achieve a sense of calm, while chocolate could be positioned as a way to wind down after a stressful day, notes Mintel global food and drink analyst Jenny Zegler. The Blended Meal Experiences, Not Transactions Functionality at Night

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