American consumers look for both convenience and variety in their on-the-go meal options, according to NCSolutions.

NATIONAL REPORT — Despite all of the changes in working Americans’ lives in the years since the start of the pandemic, the majority of consumers will still eat meals or snacks on the go at least sometimes.

[Read more: Consumers Crave Fruit Options for Snacking Occasions]

The findings came from a new consumer sentiment research survey commissioned by NCSolutions, a company focused on advertising effectiveness for consumer packaged goods brands. 

Of those surveyed, many quoted a hectic schedule as a key reason to rely on convenience foods for meals while traveling or commuting. Overall, 75 percent of respondents still eat meals or snacks on the go either “sometimes” or “always.”

Even with changes to commuting schedules and remote work becoming more common, the most popular times for grab-and-go foods remain the morning and midday. Lunch (52 percent) and breakfast (50 percent) are the most popular grab-and-go convenience item meals, followed by snacks (41 percent) and dinner (36 percent).

The report also found that customers often crave variety in their options, opening a possible channel of opportunity for c-stores and other retailers to tap into underserved markets. Just under half (48 percent) of Americans are only somewhat satisfied with the variety of flavors and options for convenience foods available, while almost one in three (31 percent) say they aren’t satisfied with the options for diet-specific choices offered in the grocery store, such as keto or gluten-free. 

Consumer dining habits continue to react and remain in flux due to the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown even three years on. Recent research by US Foods found American adults still prefer to eat at home and will more often choose takeout or delivery options over eating out. In the meantime, customer satisfaction with convenience foodservice has risen overall by seven percent year over year even as those who consider themselves “very satisfied” with c-stores’ prepared foods fell by 11 percent.

More information on NCSolutions’ research can be found here, along with a recent case study.

Source: Convenience Store News