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    The Value of Cultural and Ethnic C-Store Items

    As c-store customers continue to show in increased interest in new flavor combinations (supported by the variety of savory salty snacks now available from major suppliers), the drive to offer a wider range of ethnic and culturally diverse products continues to grow. What makes an ethnic cuisine or beverage so appealing, and how can the c-store take advantage of this growing trend? These tips will help:

    Authenticity: According to C-Store Daily News, the top ingredient for ethnic food and flavor success isn’t a spice at all – it’s authenticity. The right flavors, packaging and taste of the products chosen will help these items perform well. When consumers can get an authentic taste of India, China or Mexico, they will keep coming back for more.

    Focus on Intense Flavor: Strong flavors continue to perform well in the salty snacks, prepared foods and packaged items offered in the C-Store. Ethnic cuisines play right into these strong, intense flavors – customers seeking a punch of strong, exotic taste continue to make intensely flavored candies, snacks and even meals a popular offering for the C-Store

    Hire a Diverse Staff: Those same consumers who are craving an authentic taste of home will also appreciate being able to converse with your cashier and staff. If you know your local area or audience has a strong preference for Spanish, then a bilingual staff will be very welcoming to your clientele and help you build a loyal following.

    Serve the Whole Family: If your store is in an area with a strong cultural interest in family and preserving family time, stocking products that address every age group can help you boost your performance. When parents know they can come to you for not only their own breakfast or coffee, but something authentic and familiar for the kids, too, they’ll make your store a preferred morning or after school stop.

    Offer Healthy Options: According to the NPD Group, 75% of adults are open to trying new foods and flavors – hot, spicy and garlic flavors top the list, with a growing interest in healthy fruits and vegetables used in Asian and Hispanic cuisine. Fruits like lychee, mango and papaya are showing up in convenient grab and go salads, while chili peppers, curries and tikka masala offer more hearty fare for those in search of a quick c-store lunch. Some of these flavors are naturally healthy, with an emphasis on produce and low-fat ingredients; consumers looking for wiser food options appreciate having a variety to choose from, without taking the time to head to a restaurant or QSR location.

    Serving a broader, more culturally diverse group of customers can help c-store sales in a variety of ways. People who are made to feel welcome, with their own recognizable ethnic foods and even staff members who speak their language are more likely to go out of their way to visit your store than one that does not offer these perks. The growing interest in spicy, savory and ethnic flavors means that all customers will appreciate being able to fulfill their cravings for something authentic and new in a convenient setting.