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    8 C-Store Innovations to Focus On in 2018

    In many ways the C-Store industry leads the way for innovations for both retailers and quick serve restaurants. The latest innovative products for the c-store industry include those that make it easier than ever for customers to pay and get back on the road in a hurry. They also serve up in-demand flavors and specialties to appeal to a variety of tastes and preferences.

    Focus on Intense Flavor: Consumers are increasingly interested in savory snacks with strong flavors and the lineup of products offered in 2017 has responded to this demand. More flavored chips, limited edition flavor blends and exotic combinations are designed to appeal to buyers. As a bonus, these strong flavors often require a beverage, an easy up-sell for the c-store owner.

    Grab and Go Setups: Not a single product, but a group of them designed to appeal to the consumer in need of a meal – who does not have time to hit a busy drive through or head into a chain restaurant. According to C-store Decisions magazine, consumer interest in quick service food is at an all time high, particularly in the morning, making a grab and go station a natural go-to for the busy C-Store.  Fresh options already portioned out in resealable containers dominate this market.

    Single Origin Coffee: Those same consumers who are craving a quick morning meal also want to pick up a cup of coffee to go. Brands like 7-Eleven are making a splash by elevating their coffee offerings with fair trade, single origin and other appealing options.

    Order Ahead: Advances in technology make it easier than ever for the C-Store customer to swiftly pick up the items they need and get on their way. Integrations that make order ahead possible are some of the most innovative additions to the C-Store lineup and rival technology used by Amazon’s Grab and Go campaign. The goal? TO provide customers with an unbeatable, frictionless purchasing experience. 7-Eleven is already testing this technology in stores.

    Pay by Phone: Proving customers with more ways to pay makes the C-store more accessible and brings it in line with what larger retailers are doing. Devices and technology that make the payment process smooth and seamless improve the experience for both customers and store owners.

    Flexible Snacking Options: Recent consumer research says that buyers want easy to pick up, easy to eat, light snacks in the C-Store setting. An increased interest in this time of food means that suppliers are rolling out more pretzels, flavored crackers, hard-boiled eggs and other quick packaged foods as 2017 draws to a close.  Salty, healthy snacks dominate this category, which is often used to appeal to health-conscious consumers focused on grains, natural foods and “good for you” fats.

    Kid-Friendly Lineup: Kid-sized servings, juice boxes, milk jugs and other. Kid-friendly options are becoming hot products for the c-store market in 2018 and beyond. What makes these items so appealing? Parents stopping for a quick snack for themselves can easily feed the little ones at the same time.

    Electronics: Chargers, headphones, portable batteries and other technology helpers continue to be strong product lines for the c-store industry. Mobile device use is at an all time high across all age groups, so having a ready supply of common, universal chargers and accessories helps drive sales and makes for easy impulse purchases, too.

    The latest trends in c-store products are designed to enhance the customer experience and allow the visitors to your store to find a greater variety of items and increase both the number of items they buy, and the total amount spent.