Consumers increasingly are considering the quality of food and beverages that convenience stores have when choosing what locations to fuel up at, according to a new survey from the National Association of Convenience Stores.
In an online survey conducted among 1,114 U.S. adults in January by Penn Schoen Berland, the NACS found that while the price of gas remains the biggest reason consumers choose a specific store or chain, once inside the store, food and beverage play a significant role in consumers’ decisions.
According to the survey, 45% of consumers who bought gas and went inside the store also bought a beverage, while 36% bought a snack. Eight percent purchased a sandwich or other meal, while 6% bought grocery items such as bread or milk.
The percentage of snacks and foods purchased was particularly strong among consumers ages 18 to 34. Of consumers ages 18 to 34 who purchased gas, 47% bought a snack and 13% purchased a sandwich, the survey noted.
Of the consumers who purchased a sandwich, 56% said they eat in their car, which compared to 34% who said they eat once they arrive at their destination and 10% who said they eat at tables in the store.
“The numbers clearly show the growing trend of consumers seeking out food and beverages as part of their fueling experience,” said Jeff Lenard, vice-president of strategic industry initiatives at the NACS. “While retailers know they need to aggressively compete on gas prices — 67% of Americans say they will drive 5 minutes out of their way to save 5 cents per gallon — it also shows that there are other ways to compete for customers with a quality in-store offer.”