An increasing percentage of c-store retailers are optimistic about food sales, according to a quarterly survey of store owners conducted by the National Association of Convenience Stores.

More than 50 percent of retailers who say they're optimistic about their business cite food sales as the reason. Overall, 57 percent of retailers say that sandwiches and meals will grow their sales, with 35 percent citing healthy packaged snacks and 28 percent citing fruits and vegetables.

"We want to change the customer mindset from a location of fuel with food products to a food and beverage destination with fuel products," said Scott Blank with Bi-State Oil Co., in Gape Girardeau, MO.

C-stores tend to sell more beverages in the summer months and retailers are expecting the same this year. Nearly 65 percent say packaged beverage sales will increase this quarter and 43 percent say that fountain drinks will increase.

Retailers are also adding new food and beverage in stores to help further increases expected sales. Big T Mini Mart in Alhambra, CA, is adding beer and wine, while Nusqullay Markets in Olympia, WA, is adding grab-and-go food for time-pressed drivers.

According to the survey, a sizable percentage of retailers say that low gas prices have grown sales in 2017. Nearly half (47 percent) say that low fuel prices have helped grow in-store sales while 42 percent say that the low prices grew fuel sales over the first three months of the year.