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Study: Third of Shoppers Shun C-Store Food

CHICAGO — Convenience stores, marketing themselves as the ultimate in expedience, are ignored by a third of food-seeking shoppers, recent Mintel research shows.

Researchers found that 33% of consumers who have never purchased food at a convenience store haven't done so because they believe the food is of low quality.

"When consumers think of convenience stores, food quality isn't the first thing that comes to mind," Eric Giandelone, director of Mintel's food-service research, said in a statement. "Improved quality — not just for products but for service, location and marketing communications — is needed to bring in, or bring back, consumers for whom c-stores aren't top-of-mind choices."

C-stores are most popular for their beverage options, the study shows. Fifty-eight percent of consumers say they purchase fountain beverages, 52% purchase coffee drinks and 44% purchase "slushies" or other frozen beverages.

Those who do buy food at c-stores are most apt to buy hot dogs (38%) and pizza (33%). In addition, 28% buy made-to-order sandwiches, 26% buy nachos, and 25% opt for chicken wings and tenders, according to Mintel's research.