Tyson Foods' C-store Push Gains Attention

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Tyson Foods' C-store Push Gains Attention


SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- The recent efforts of Tyson Foods -- the largest U.S. commodity beef and chicken supplier -- to sell prepared foods through the nation’s more than 149,000 convenience stores was spotlighted yesterday in a report by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The report notes that in seeking to expand its sales beyond the supermarket meat department, Tyson is building up its line of prepared foods to go head-to-head with such competitors as Hormel Foods and Hillshire Brands.

Convenience store “locales may not be sexy or even particularly appetizing, but their sales are growing while revenue at traditional food stores is falling. The profit margins of prepared foods — even those sold alongside cigarettes and condoms — “can be bigger and more stable than those for raw meat,” according to the report.

The report cites Convenience Store News market research along with other data to illustrate how prepared foods sales at convenience stores are significantly outpacing the sales growth of the fast-food industry.

Eric Le Blanc, Tyson Foods’ vice president of marketing for deli and convenience store foods, explained that Tyson’s prime targets are moms rushing to pay for a tank of gasoline or a quick cup of coffee. While men have been the traditional consumers of prepared foods at c-stores, women are often more discerning.

“The No. 1 thing that’s important to her is, ‘Will I be proud to serve this to my family?’” Le Blanc told Bloomberg. “We have to convince her.”

In addition to getting busy moms to accept convenience store food, Tyson has had to increase the number of hot entrees and snacks it sells at such outlets. Consumers today would be hard-pressed to find more than one Tyson product in a convenience store, Jon Kathol, the company’s vice president for investor relations, told the business news outlet.

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