Food distributing giantMcLane Company Inc., Temple, Texas, said it launched a Grab & Go Hot Foods Program and a  Grab & Go Gourmet Pastry Program. Officials said both new offerings include an array of  products and equipment solutions to help convenience stores meet growing customer demand for affordable, prepared foods.

McLane said c-store foodservice growth outpaced traditional quick-service restaurants, and retailers are struggling to keep up. Customers consider value, quality and taste to be the most important factors when deciding on a prepared food purchase at a store. McLane's Hot Food program includes roller-grill items such as hot dogs, grilled wraps, egg rolls and breakfast sausages as well as warmer selections such as breakfast sandwiches, burritos and burgers.

“Many retailers are recognizing the growing demand for foodservice options but aren’t able to provide the quality and selection required to draw these buyers,” said Grant Demers, McLane product director for foodservice and supplies. “By offering retailers this new program, we’re hoping to alleviate these obstacles and provide scalable solutions that promote both customer satisfaction and incremental revenue.”

According to CSP’s 2010 Category Management Handbook, more than 40 percent of c-store shoppers have purchased foodservice items, and these customers are starting to demand a greater variety of options. Among the food types purchased, breakfast foods are consistently the most popular category.

Demers said McLane's pastry program addresses this demand by offering convenience stores an extensive selection of premium quality and affordable baked goods – including donuts, Danishes, cinnamon rolls, brownies and cookies. The program also provides acrylic merchandisers in a variety of sizes and configurations, allowing retailers to tailor their selection to suit each store and customer base.

“Many retailers have neglected to capitalize on the growing demand for c-store prepared foods, and the breakfast category in particular,” said Demers. “Our Grab & Go Gourmet Pastry program offers retailers a stress-free entry into this profitable segment with a wide range of value-priced products and merchandising recommendations to provide dedicated shelf space that conveys a commitment to quality, safety and variety.”