With a current value to the convenience sector of £4.8bn and growth forecast to hit 10% over the next five years, the food-to-go mission is one not be ignored. Recent research from HIM shows one in four UK adults bought food to go from c-stores within the past seven days, writes Katherine Dixon.

Busy lives and limited time mean that providing a relevant offer to the food-to-go shopper while they are already in your store could be key to unlocking this growth potential. So how do you become the one-stop shop for your customers?

Convenience stores have always played their part in providing a great range of soft drinks, chilled and ready to drink on the move; a third of convenience shoppers purchase a drink to go at least once a week from their chosen store. One of the main reasons for this purchase is to hydrate, so make sure you are offering the appropriate items, communicate this well, and ensure your store is top of mind for when this need arises.

Once in store, meeting the needs of shoppers in quality, price, freshness and range to satisfy their needs at various times is important. Tailor offers depending on the time of day and day of week. With breakfast to go peaking on Sundays, satisfying shoppers looking for a weekend treat can drive revenue at those times. Understanding that the same shoppers may be on a different mission and expecting a different range of items on a Saturday than Thursday lunchtime is key.

Beat the competition by providing great meal deal offers. Just under half of those buying food as well as drinks are buying a meal deal in food-to-go outlets, compared with just 12% in symbol stores. HIM’s research found that three-quarters think that meal deals should consist of three items and that branded items are important.

We know that shoppers like and need variety. Some 63% of shoppers switch between fresh and pre-made sandwiches; if you can provide both options this makes your store an easy choice for customers. One in five shoppers would like to see healthier options, an increasing aspiration today. Thinking about your range and planning for a variety of needs will go a long way to making your store the only choice for them.