Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 35

TRENDS
Convenience Stores
ucts at an affordable price and great value. And c-stores
can save time. "
The past three years haven't been easy for the c-store
industry, which has seen peaks and valleys as people went
from lockdown to rebound and the price of gas fluctuated
from around $2 a gallon to more than three times that
amount. Now with rising costs, labor shortages and other
economic issues testing their patience, c-store operators
must go with the flow to succeed in these uncertain times.
" If we flex our assortment of products as the customers'
needs are changing and we continue to satisfy them
with new ones that are on trend, we're going to see more
people come to our stores with increased frequency, " Mr.
Kronyak said.
Overall, c-store shopping behavior has fundamentally
shifted in several ways, noted Jeff Lenard, vice president,
strategic industry initiatives, National Association
of Convenience Stores (NACS). With about 20 million
people working at home or with flexible schedules, he
added, traffic patterns have changed with the early
morning rush hour extending to mid-morning followed
by another surge during mid-afternoon.
" Those are both excellent opportunities for bakery
products, " Mr. Lenard said. " Both of those times are
more suited for convenience stores because they sell
speed. Most people are out of the store in 4 minutes or
less. It's about time and getting about your business. "
Meanwhile, soaring gas prices have more Americans
stretching their precious dollars. While credit card users
typically purchase by the gallon when they fill up, cash
purchasers tend to pay by the dollar inside c-stores a
couple of times a week. Mr. Lenard suggested targeting
cash users, who account for 20% of gas sales, with valueadded
products and in-store promotions.
" We are feeling good about how consumers have returned,
but they aren't the same customers that they
were in 2019, " Mr. Lenard said. " The big thing is to figure
out, 'Who are they now? Do they want more deliveries?
Do they want to order via app? Is it a fundamental shift
or a permanent shift?' People expect more. They're more
impatient. There are some things that have changed. "
As a result, Mr. Kronyak said, c-stores must step up
their game to lure more customers and to better compete
against quick-service restaurants (QSR) with a wider
array of breakfast, coffee, sandwich meals and other
fresh and refrigerated food offerings.
" We need to be the fastest convenience store we can
be, " he said. " While people are waiting in line at the
drive-thru at a QSR, we can serve them much faster. "
A huge customer base
Any consumer behavioral shifts will have a dramatic
impact on bakers and snack makers and how they supC-STORES
provide small rewards
for all budgets and appetites
With the high cost of gas and other rising prices, consumers
are looking for affordable snacks to treat themselves without
breaking the bank. Providing such value-added snacks also
can bolster traffic and sales at convenience stores.
" When your pocketbook is tight and life is stressful,
coming in for those little indulgences like ice cream and
bakery products becomes a more frequent occurrence for
our customers, " said Chuck Kronyak, retail category manager
for United Dairy Farmers (UDF), a regional c-store
chain based in Cincinnati.
The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS)
has found that people who pay with cash tend to purchase
less gas per visit.
" One of the things we have seen is the gallons sold has
decreased by a gallon or two depending on the site. That
is because of high gas prices, " explained Jeff Lenard, vice
president, strategic industry initiatives for NACS. " That
pressure is particularly significant when you pay by cash. "
He added roughly 20% of gas transactions are cash.
When doing so, people tend to plunk down one or two $20
bills instead of filling their tank up.
" That $40 doesn't go so far so they come back more frequently, "
he said. " They may be buying the same amount
of gas per week, but they're coming in more often. "
To encourage in-store shopping, Mr. Lenard suggested
offering value-added products or promotions.
" It is tough out there for some customers, " he said.
" You have to acknowledge that and find ways to stand out
when money might be tight. "
With UDF's U-Drive Plus card, consumers can purchase
a six pack of donuts for $6 instead of $6.99, Mr. Kronyak
said. The chain also offers a Double Donut, which is two
glazed donuts joined together in the center, for $2.49,
which is cheaper than buying two donuts separately.
Recently the company added a Cookies 'N Cream Donut
glazed with white icing and Oreo cookie crumbles on top.
UDF makes donuts, cookies, brownies and other packaged
and fresh sweet goods delivered up to seven days a week
from its Cincinnati bakery, which opened in 2019.
" For some people, one donut is simply not enough.
You've got to have two, " he said. " We want to offer a good
portion size and a high-quality ingredient product. "
Mr. Kronyak said consumers also want bigger breakfast
sandwiches and more indulgent products.
" Hot food is growing faster than bakery, but from a
smaller base, " he observed. " Grab-and-go products are a
hot trend for our guests. "
www.bakingbusiness.com / November 2022 Baking & Snack 35
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Baking & Snack - November 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - November 2022

Baking & Snack - November 2022 - Intro
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 1
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 2
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 3
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 4
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 5
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 6
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 7
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 8
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 9
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 10
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 11
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 12
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 13
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Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 15
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 16
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Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 18
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 19
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 20
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 21
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Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 30
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Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 33
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 34
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 35
Baking & Snack - November 2022 - 36
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