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Strategies to Make the Most of Peak Summer Season

MINNEAPOLIS — Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, signaling the unofficial start of summer. Many U.S. consumers will be hitting the roads for vacation in the weeks to come, and that spells a perfect opportunity for convenience stores.

To help c-store retailers make the most of the additional traffic coming through their doors, the consumer insights team from General Mills Convenience & Foodservice prepared an infographic, "Making the Most Out of Summer Snacking in C-stores," that showcases the top snack products summer c-store shoppers are looking for. 

"Summer is an exciting time for c-stores. However, retailers need to ensure they are prepared and plan ahead with their promotions to maximize their potential for success," said Kelly Kees, global consumer insights researcher at General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. "If nothing else, retailers need to take stock of their snack selection and optimize shelf space for the top summer categories, which may surprise them."

For example, Kees explained that the warehouse salty snack and grain bar categories actually index higher during the summer than soft drinks and candy, traditionally popular summer categories. 

In addition, there are a number of categories that decline in the summer, such as soup, baking products and other grocery items. As a result, it may make sense to re-prioritize some categories during shelf reset time, Kees advised. 

"Summer is all about snacking and there are certain snacks that c-stores will want front and center in the high-traffic areas of their store," Kees said. "Categories with higher sales in summer include seeds, nutritional bars, yogurt, trail mix, granola bars, nuts and meat snacks. Retailers should highlight these snacks whenever possible, and time promotions and in-store marketing activity around the summer months to drive even more sales."

With lower gas prices translating into more disposable income for shoppers, Kees noted that retailers should take advantage of the increase in disposable income by co-promoting "hot" snack brands alongside average-performing category brands, such as pairing nutrition bars with soft drinks in order to incent an increased basket size.

The General Mills Convenience & Foodservice division serves the convenience, foodservice and bakery industries. Its brand portfolio includes Big G Cereals, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Gold Medal, Pillsbury, Annie's, Chex Mix, Bugles and Gardetto's. 

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