Study: Hispanics Want Groceries, Hot Food From C-Stores

Hispanic customers are more likely to do grocery shopping at convenience stores than non-Hispanics—and more likely to want fresh food if they buy breakfast or lunch there, according to a new report by the NPD Group.

The report, titled The C-Store Hispanic Shopper, found that Hispanic customers tend to use convenience stores to supplement or substitute for conventional grocery stores. Customers for whom Spanish is their dominant language are even more likely to forgo a regular grocer for a C-store.

As a result, the list of Hispanic C-store shopper food preferences reads almost like the antithesis of a classic C-store ready-to-eat inventory: fresh instead of packaged, hot food instead of cold sandwiches or wraps, actual groceries instead of boxes and cans.

Those findings present a problem for larger C-store chains, especially 7-Eleven, which tends to keep tight control over what franchisees can offer. Smaller chains are increasingly adding hot-food items—Wawa has added quesadillas, soups, salads and fruit at some stores, while local chains such as Baltimore's Royal Farms serve up fried chicken and Western-cut fries.

But the bigger challenge may be an actual culture shift. NPD said that the more acculturated Hispanic customers are, the more likely they are to buy groceries at supermarkets and expect packaged snack food at convenience stores. But C-stores that can find a profitable way to do fresh and hot foods may be able to shift that cultural line. Mom-and-pop grocery stores were a staple of non-Hispanic neighborhoods before they were steamrolled by A&P a century ago. C-stores with fresh and hot foods might actually bring them back.

For more:

- See this CSPnet story

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