Independent convenience stores are missing out on the food to go category, according to new HIM research.

Its Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP) found that the average spend on food to go within independent convenience stores was £1.40; over 50p less than the market average and more than £1.20 behind forecourts.

The survey of over 20,000 respondents across 1,400 different convenience stores also found that forecourts - the channel with the highest FTG spend across convenience - perform better than independent c-stores across all FTG categories.

One in 10 shoppers’ baskets within forecourts contain hot drinks, compared to less than 1% for independents, while 7% of forecourt baskets include sandwiches versus 2% for independents.

HIM senior insights manager, Blonnie Walsh, said: “FTG has long been cited as a huge opportunity for convenience retailers to differentiate from competitors and create their own USP. However, our data shows that many independent retailers are failing to maximise this opportunity and are far behind their competitors.”

“Food to go shoppers choose stores based on different criteria and retailers need to capitalise on these opportunities. For example, proximity to work, range of products and friendliness of staff are more important to the FTG shopper than the average shopper.

“Retailers need to place extra focus on these areas in order to compete better and suppliers and wholesaler must support retailers with the latest shopper trends to ensure that their offering remains relevant.”