Meal Time

Meal Time

May 2022   minute read

By: Kim Stewart

A quick scroll through my c-store social media feeds left me feeling hungry and wishing I lived near enough to sample the great food on display. Cumberland Farms was touting breakfast pizza and a waffle sandwich, 7-Eleven was showing off Taquitos, Weigel’s Stores beckoned with new cheese sticks and Spinx teased me with its Nashville Hot chicken sandwich. 

Foxtrot Market’s pastries and Urban Counter’s burgers are good eats.

One of the best burgers I’ve ever had at a c-store (or fast-casual restaurant for that matter) was from Urban Counter at The PRIDE Stores in St. Charles, Illinois. A hand-pressed all-beef burger served with cheese curds and deep-fried bacon on a pretzel bun. So good! There’s a new Foxtrot Market in Alexandria, a nice lunchtime stroll from the NACS office, so on a recent sunny afternoon I stopped in and walked out with a grab-and-go sesame chicken salad and two doughnuts. Urban Counter/The PRIDE Stores and Foxtrot are among the convenience retailers differentiating their offers with food and carefully curated goods. 

Foodservice done well is the convenience retailing industry’s future. Our cover story this month, “The Main Course,” delves into how the key category performed in convenience stores in 2021 and looks at how things are going so far this year. Overall, foodservice sales rose 24% in 2021, compared with 2020, according to preliminary data from the NACS 2021 State of the Industry survey, and prepared food drove much of the growth. Foodservice sales beat 2020’s pandemic-battered performance but are still short of 2019’s performance. 

Foodservice done well is the convenience retailing industry’s future.

A push to win crucial “share of stomach” against the pull of QSRs is an ongoing battle. Nearly 29% of c-store shoppers plan to go to a QSR within 30 minutes of visiting a convenience store, according to the 2021 NACS Convenience Voices survey. See how retailers like Kum & Go, Neon Marketplace, Rutter’s and TXB are fighting back in “Competing With QSRs.” 

At the soda fountain and in the cold vault, consumers seeking carbonated drinks with better-for-you ingredients and natural flavors are gravitating toward craft sodas, as we share in “Craft Soda Pops in C-Stores.” The better-for-you trend is even having an impact in the candy category. “Candy, But Better” explores how confections can and do fit into health-conscious lifestyles. 

If you have a few minutes, please check out the NACS annual report: A Look Back at Where We Are Going—a digital first for NACS. You can find it here:

Keep them fed and fueled, my friends.

Kim Stewart

Kim Stewart

Kim Stewart is NACS editorial director and editor-in-chief of NACS Magazine. She can be reached at kstewart@

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