These countries purchase c-store meals most often: Survey

Technomic looked at the countries that spend the most on ready-to-eat meals from c-stores.
Daniel Reale-Chin
Associate Editor, Convenience Store News Canada
Daniel Reale-Chin, a young man with a beard, smiles at the camera
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A recent survey from Technomic Inc. found that 65% of global consumers purchased ready-to-eat or -heat meals from retail stores at least once per month. The study surveyed respondents from 25 countries, where 53% of consumers reported visiting c-stores for foodservice. 

More frequent retailer visitors (22% of respondents) bought prepared meals at least once per week, with countries in Southeast Asia, where 40% of hungry consumers in Indonesia, 42% in the Philippines and 47% in Thailand mentioned purchasing retail foodservice at least once a week.

For the 53% of loyal c-store eaters globally, countries in the Middle East and Asia stood out among the rest, with 74% of respondents in the Middle East and 77% in Asia reporting visiting c-stores for foodservice. 

[Read more: “6 cool c-store innovations from around the world”]

In Asia, the only countries where less than 74% of consumers mentioned visiting c-stores were India (62%) and Singapore (63%). Japan stood fourth amongst all global markets, at 80%, tied with Mexico. Consumers in Indonesia (81%), the Philippines (87%) and Thailand (96%) showed the most loyalty to their corner stores, turning frequently to c-stores for foodservice. 

Another foodservice cornerstone for c-stores is delivery. Does your c-store offer it?

Consumers are eating out more

Beyond ready-to-eat trends, Technomic’s also reported a sales rebound to pre-pandemic levels for Canada’s top 200 chain restaurants. According to the report, the top 200 chain restaurants hit $40 billion in 2022, adding more than $5 billion in sales volume during the year and surpassing comparable levels from 2019.

Compared to 2021, annual sales jumped by 15%, from $34.7 billion. 

The report sites high inflation as a key factor in elevating sales growth during the year, with industry-wide menu pricing at limited- and full-service restaurants growing nearly 8% during the year. 

[Read more: “Food prices show signs of slowing: Study”]

New menu item trends

Technomic also looked at the latest trends among new menu items, which could make great additions to your c-stores foodservice offering. Canadian menus added many new items in the first quarter of 2023, here are some of the trends from Technomic:

Appetizers

  • Vegan poutine
  • Cured fish

Entrees

  • Salads featuring sunchokes
  • Pizza topped with potatoes

Desserts

  • Poached ingredients
  • White chocolate mousse

Beverages

  • Infused cold foams
  • Pistachio Lattes
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