C-store seafood sales surprising, encouraging

Published on
August 17, 2010

While buying seafood is not the first thing most people think of when they stop to pump gas or grab a quick bite at a convenience store, the format is becoming a more popular spot for sushi, frozen seafood and even fresh fish.

The convenience store (c-store) format has become a hotbed for foodservice of all types over the past few years, as consumers seek fast, inexpensive meals or snacks away from home. While the industry was challenged by harsh economic conditions last year, some chains are thriving ?by offering restaurant-quality food to their shoppers. In fact, c-store foodservice sales grew by around 1.5 percent in 2009, according to foodservice consulting firm Technomic of Chicago.

In addition, foodservice contributed 20.2 percent of overall c-store/gas station profits last year, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), also in Chicago. Foodservice accounted for the most (close to a whopping 30 percent) of in-store gross margin dollars, says NACS data.

“The importance of foodservice — a category that includes food prepared on site, commissary items and hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages — continues to grow,” according to a statement from NACS.

Sushi, perceived by many consumers as a quick, healthy snack or meal, is the most common seafood-related item in c-stores. Nearly 1,850 7-Eleven stores in California and the Chicago area now sell five varieties of sushi.

To read the rest of the story on selling seafood at convenience stores, click here. Written by SeaFood Business and SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Christine Blank, “Big gulps” ran in the August issue of SeaFood Business magazine.

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