By: Jennifer Childers | Data Analyst

Edible Grocery has been, well…uninteresting for a few years pre-COVID. Post-COVID this category has had a resurgence within the c-store arena. For so long, Grocery was a place for shoppers to grab an item they may have forgotten at the store or grab something they may not have realized they were out of until they were cooking. The c-store provided a quick in and out experience for staple items. With the restrictions and supply issues COVID created, shoppers sought out alternate locations to shop. C-stores stepped in to provide the shopper with a mini-grocery shopping opportunity. They could get a short list of items in less time and meet fewer people than going to the actual grocery store. This shift created a need for more take-home sized items than c-stores previously carried. Today, 2 years past the worst of the pandemic, we find that the trend of take-home is still going strong across all categories.

Growth in cereal highlights this trend. Let’s look at some data starting with the McLane APSW and LIC$.

As indicated by the numbers, the Grocery category is healthy and growing double digits. Though some of the growth is due to price increases, we can see below it is also growing in units.

General Mills stated similar data from Nielsen. The last 26 weeks showed Edible Grocery up 20% in dollars and up 9% in units.

As you can see by the data, the breakfast foods subcategory (take-home cereal and pop tarts) is up 4% in units while the cups segment is down 5.3%. The breakfast segment has always led in convenience stores and as we see more and more businesses open back up or ask employees to work in the office again, we see that shoppers are returning. To combine the breakfast shopper with the take-home shopper, we leaned into adding more multi pack items into the set. You will notice we added a second take home pop tart flavor along with a multi pack of cereal.

Kellogg’s has seen the same trend of take-home items growing. They added a take-home pack of Rice Krispies Treats and, in a large-retailers’ set, it quickly became a top performer within their Grocery planogram. Due to this development, we added it to the Edge set as well. McLane carries multi packs of other brands such as Nutri-Grain and Quaker cereal bars, however, they have limited distribution. If a customer is interested, more cereal bar options could be added to the item selections McLane carries. I will keep my eye on this trend and may update the set mid-year to include more options. An additional item I would like to include is a Welch’s fruit snack multi pack. We are setting it up now.