Food to go’s relevance to petrol forecourt convenience stores is on the wane in favour of top-up and treat missions, research from MCA’s sister company Him reveals.

Him’s Winning in Forecourts 2018 reports the volume of shoppers highlighting food to go as their main reason for visiting a forecourt falling from 22% to 19%.

Top up has grown from 12% to 21%, usurping fuel which has dropped from the leading mission to fourth place.

Treats, although the smallest mission, has doubled share to 14% since 2013.

The research, which was based on 2,000 forecourt shopper interviews across 10 different fascias, relied on shoppers’ perception of “food to go” and “treat” as missions and there is an overlap between food to go and treat.

Val Kirillovs, research & insights director at Him, said: “Forecourts haven’t been able to rely on purely fuel to drive footfall for some time. However, food to go has long been considered as key to forecourt retailers and a huge area of focus. While both missions still remain important, the main reason that shoppers are visiting is changing.”

“It is vital that forecourt retailers understand their individual shoppers and adapt to their needs. Retailers need to place greater focus on range and merchandising in order to inspire shoppers. Stocking core top up lines and using in store theatre to drive the treat mission are key to success.”

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