Earlier this month HIM launched its Future of Convenience 2019 report that identifies the key trends forecast to impact the channel in the coming year and beyond. Split by established trends vs emerging trends, the report looks at the importance of the trend, the impact on convenience and the opportunity for retailers.

One of the key issues identified in the report is the war on plastic. The plastic epidemic has grown to become an extreme concern for shoppers and our report shows 81% believe it is important to reduce the use of non-recyclable plastics and 70% are actively trying to reduce the amount of single-use plastics they use.

The report highlights the importance of both education and communication in this area. With social media giving consumers the freedom to voice their opinions on plastic use, retailers’ and suppliers’ stance will be in the spotlight more than ever. However, these platforms also give retailers an opportunity to celebrate the great work they do in the war on plastic, as well as work collaboratively with consumers.

A great example of a convenience retailer demonstrating their commitment to the war on plastic is Andrew Thornton, who owns Thornton’s Budgens in Belsize Park in London. He has sourced more than 1,700 plastic-free products that use alternatives to plastic packaging, such as beechwood nets, pulp and paper.

Social media isn’t an emerging trend, but social media shopping is an emerging concept, sitting at the intersection between social media and e-commerce.

Instagram has now created a shopping channel, making it simpler than ever to shop online. Retailers can add product tags or stickers to their photos with a direct link to the Instagram shop.

The social media platform has become very influential in the food industry with users posting recipes and more. It has also played a pivotal role in propelling food trends.

So could this work for c-store retailers? Our research found that 23% of convenience shoppers would be open to buying food through a social media platform, giving retailers an opportunity to create a new route to market for their shoppers.