As convenience stores continue offering busy consumers more options for meals and snacks, new research byTechnomicfinds consumers are taking advantage of the expanding foodservice options, many times at the expense of quick-service restaurants.

Technomic, Chicago, said it polled consumers about their most recent convenience store foodservice purchase. Results show that 27 percent of shoppers indicated that if they had not bought their meal from the convenience store in question, they would have purchased it from a fast-food restaurant. Interestingly, that number is nearly identical to those who said they would have ordered from another convenience store.

“Convenience stores are increasingly falling into the same consideration set as fast-food restaurants,” says Technomic Director Tim Powell. “This really speaks to the enhanced foodservice offerings in convenience stores as well as evolving consumer behaviors. In our recent survey of more than 3,700 consumers who visit convenience stores, 82 percent said they purchase prepared foods from them at least once a month, while 52 percent do so at least once per week.”

Other interesting findings include:

-- More than 1 in 4 consumers (27 percent) said they purchased an afternoon snack during their most recent visit, while 19 percent purchased lunch. A significant number (23 percent) also indicated they only bought a beverage.

-- Impulse buying plays a big role in convenience store foodservice purchases. Thirty-one percent of c-store foodservice consumers said that seeing an item, which triggered a craving, was the primary motivation for purchasing it.

Technomic says it compiled its Consumer C-Store Brand Metrics Shopper Insights Report with a nationally representative sample of 3,755 consumers and individual c-store visits. The report includes chain rankings and comparisons by attribute, visit satisfaction and customer loyalty metrics, as well as competitive set identification and profiles of 20 convenience store chains with demographics and attribute ratings on over 30 attributes. The attributes relate to service, hospitality, unit appearance and ambiance, food and beverage quality, convenience, takeout, and overall value.