Five things you need to know about the forecourt food-to-go shopper

Date : 18 March 2019

Food-to-go ranges aren’t new to forecourts, but they are receiving more focus. For example, we’re seeing new partnerships, like Shell’s collaboration with Jamie Oliver, as forecourt operators improve their ranges.

Our data shows some important differences between food-to-go shoppers in general and their forecourt counterparts. We investigate what makes forecourt food-to-go shoppers stand out. 

1. Buying a drink is the number-one mission

Our research shows 59% of forecourt shoppers bought a drink on the go in the last four weeks. Hot drinks are also a popular impulse category; some shoppers see them as a treat to break up their journey. 

2. Shoppers visit even when they don’t want fuel

It’s not always about filling the tank. Over half of shoppers (54%) say they stop at a forecourt for food or drink regardless of whether they need fuel. Plus, 46% told us they sometimes visit their local forecourt on foot. 

3. They have their favourite forecourts

Just over two thirds (68%) of forecourt food-to-go shoppers claim to be visiting the same forecourts every month. And 44% said they prefer to visit specific forecourts because of the shops. We’ve found supermarkets’ appeal extends to forecourts. For example, 25% of shoppers prefer to visit a Tesco forecourt. 

4. Products aren’t always for immediate consumption

Shoppers do tend to immediately consume drinks, snacks or breakfast products bought on a forecourt. However, a significant proportion (36%) are buying lunch for later that day and 56% buy for an evening meal. This highlights the need for forecourts to be able to serve multiple missions throughout the day. 

5. There’s a big opportunity to influence their choices

Shoppers do tend to plan the most popular forecourt missions (drinks and breakfast). But for others, like snacks or an evening meal, they’re less decisive. Only 29% of snack shoppers knew exactly what they wanted and only 30% who were buying an evening meal knew. 

(All data source: IGD ShopperVista, Forecourts December 2018, 1,032 base size)

To explore the food-to-go opportunity, visit our channel hub for reports, articles and infographics.

Food-to-go and convenience are two of the insight streams at IGD Live, our major new event. We’ll cover the biggest trends in these channels, including food-to-go consumers and the future of forecourts.