As fast food continues to lead the market in offering prepared meals, many c-stores have already started to evolve their store to include food service options to compete and appeal to customers that want quick and easy service when it comes to meals, snacks and beverages.
Out of 589 c-store shoppers, only 9.5% said they were not influenced by product labels, according to Carbonview Research. Additionally, these same participants say they buy food or beverages at a c-store at least 2-3 times a week.
As the food industry evolves and expands to include healthier food options, offer products that go beyond chips and soda and implement an actual food service option, it can be beneficial to keep an eye on the market and the ever-changing trends of industry when it comes to buying habits. For example, Choice Magazine states that 54% of consumers use the food label when buying food and that 30% of consumers changed their minds about buying a product because they read the nutritional label.
If you are a c-store that offers or plans to offer food service options, it can be a great benefit to go ahead and provide not only nutritional labels but calorie markers as well. You will not only appeal and help those health-conscious customers make diet-related decisions, but possibly create a loyal customer base. Customers that do care about the nutritional labels will come back for more if they understand that what they are putting into their bodies falls in line with their lifestyle and/or diet choices.
On the flipside, some research shows that having nutritional labels easily available doesn’t have impact on a consumer’s purchasing decisions. With that said, do people really care about labels?
Despite these conflicting sources of information out there, it is important to focus not on whether it makes a person buy a product but more on how being transparent as a business affects your relationship with your customers.
Several large companies are already implementing nutritional labels like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway. All these major businesses know that not all of their food items are the healthiest, but still aim to display what is in their food in an attempt at being transparent and building trust with their customers.
Alternatively, displaying this kind of information can even make you as an owner more aware of your products and understand the range of products you are offering to your customers.
Do you have enough healthy options for your area? Does your food service provide a variety of choices nutritionally? Is there something for every diet (ex. Vegetarians, gluten-free, etc.)? All these questions and more are important to understanding your customers and ensuring you are optimizing on every selling opportunity.
Leveraging technology can help your business grow on this topic as well. For example, by integrating digital menus to display calories and nutritional labels, you will not only be ahead of the industry standard but you will have the ability to update your information easily without added costs. Having digital menus will also help your image as a trending c-store and by using technology like Gilbarco’s Express Ordering to display FDA nutritional requirements.
Sometimes, it is the little things customers appreciate. You don’t need to an employee stand in front of the store with an iPad to take an order, have a full restaurant, or even have your own phone app. All you have to concentrate on is service.
At the end of the day, customers go to stores they trust, feel are respected, and more importantly, fit their needs. Offering food labels isn’t just about selling, but also about appealing and giving customers what they need as a service. You are offering much more than just labels. You are helping customers in their everyday, hectic lives by alleviating the need to search for this information. Instead, they can rest assured that with your business, they are making good choices for themselves that falls in line with their values.
Comment down below about what you think about nutritional labels and the technology you can use.