The World's Unsexiest Business
adding a little sizzle to the convenience store industry
Catering to just that one demographic? You know, the one that most resembles yourself?
(Just admit that your consumer has indeed changed)
Playing a constant game of 'catch-up' to the demographic that you don't really care for?
I mean the one that has bullied you into expanding your highly perishable 'healthy' category offerings. Or ethnic. Or hipster focused ('artisanal', 'farm to c-store' anyone?). And the list goes on and on with the segmentation.
I got some revolutionary news for you Bubbles (see below)!
And by the way, these 'bananas' are synthetic. Metaphorically, they're like the 'one-trick ponies' of the SKU world. ?
Ok foodies, I'm ready to embrace your Uber cool status (and most certainly take some of your social media earned $$$$)
Using Eater's Every Single Food Trend That's Been Predicted for 2017, let's break down the list by analyzing the likelihood of the convenience store industry seeing any meaningful SKU growth in this 'foodie' domain.
If that hat sounded like a mouthful, I'm trying to determine whether any of these trends are worth paying attention to.
Using 35 convenience store sales data (located in Southern California) over the past 365 days grouped by product tags and n-level deep product categorization then applying some semantics 'textual' conversion*, a purchase 'likelihood' score was determined for each item. The range of scores (definitely not evenly distributed) sits somewhere between .5 and 2. See histogram way down on the page for a graphical view.
*For example, a 'Savory yogurt' semantics composite score of 1.5 is yielded when plain yogurt was sold together with a salty snack a particular number of times over the past year. Additionally, these two products could have exhibited high positive correlations. It's not 'razor sharp' precise but a reasonable estimation of taste-bud preference can be inferred. The reasoning theorizes that, for the consumer, instead of purchasing two separate items to create a composite taste, one item may become a near equivalent. As a postscript, we'll rule out food pairings by complementing textures (yogurt + granola might come to mind).
Similarly, when a mild rise in 'adobo' based items is regressively seen, the list item 'Filipino Food' gets a score of 1.25.
I eliminated 'Las Vegas' and 'Live-streaming video' because they just don't sound like anything 'edible'.
As for the following?
Food waste, serving on menus
Umm, I'm speechless. And this reaction is coming from a guy that will embrace anything! So, I don't think the consumer is ready for this one yet. Well, at least outside of fine dining.
Cooking over fire
Barbecues located in or near gas stations sound like a bad idea. But since the concept exists and has been deemed safe, anything that got flagged with a combination of 'fresh', 'barbecue', 'char', 'flame', 'spit' added to this analysis.
A fancy QSR
It's oatmeal. Purists will call me a heretic. And let's face it,Starbucks didn't even need to repackage it with a fancier name.
I had to look this one up (and no semantic yield) therefore it got a .5 score.
and this is something the DoT crowd will appreciate...
Yeah some skewness and kurtosis. But parlaying into industry actions, we're either embracing it (heavy distribution around 2) already or stuck in the mud (don't know where it sits with clustering around 1) playing the waiting game.
So do we gamble on a (growing) set of consumers that wants this type of product on his/her weekend outing?
Much of the focus is on regional cuisine. I won't use the word 'ethnic' here because it's too broad based. Our collective culinary palate has far advanced from that of teriyaki sauce and spaghetti.
Tamales and Empanadas appear to be items that get marketed heavily but don't see as much follow through at checkout. Tacos (including all fried variants) and burritos still reign supreme in this Hispanic food category.
As for more Asian focus items such as Poke, Pho, and Naan Pizza?
I expect to see an unveiling at the NACS show later this year. In particular focus is Poke as last year it was proclaimed the "Year of Poke Bowl" by Zagat Editors.
Some notable trend standouts that have seen a pickup in sales and/or vendor marketing are in the following trend categories:
Kombucha (which started to see heavy distribution in convenience stores in 2015)
Turmeric root (the only player in the beverage space seems to be Temple Turmeric)
And in the catch-all 'fresh' category?
The South and Southeast Asian staple Jackfruit. Sure its malodorous presence poses challenges for marketing and product placement (but not as bad as durian). Stink factor aside, according to the Wall Street Journal, it's the "next hot trend".
Catering to a new diet or 'lifestyle'?
Flexitarian dieting is presenting budding vegetarians with a way not to entirely eliminate meat but minimize it. That micro serving of small-batch grass fed beef jerky might become your highest gross margin item after all!
For a more gender based perspective on this direction? Check out the Vogue 2016 trend list.