Customers are seeking quick and easy meal time solutions from their local c-stores, according to research from HIM Research & Consulting.

The Future of Convenience study revealed that two in three shoppers at c-stores were looking for quick and easy meals, with 36% wanting to purchase food that required a minimum preparation time, while 28% preferred a fully-prepared meal.

Shanti Kotecha, of Costcutter Gravelly Park service station on Tyburn Road, Birmingham, said: “The main draw for consumers has always been convenience, and customers don’t really come in for a weekly shop; they tend to buy food for either immediate consumption, or for their evening dinner.

“Our range of fresh and frozen ready meals remains a strong seller. Our chilled meals are popular as customers are now making healthier choices and want the freshest products while saving on preparation time,” he added.

The study showed that only 32% of people have an evening meal around a table with their family or friends, with 23% opting for an evening meal around the television, while 21% ate on their own. HIM found 30% of consumers didn’t do a weekly shop and 60% shopped just to top up, with 85% topping up each week. Only 17% said they went to c-stores to top up, highlighting a big area of growth to be targeted by c-stores.

Justin Tull, manager of Spar St Neots, Cambridgeshire, said: “Over the past few years customers have increasingly been doing smaller and more regular shops, buying food for their dinner that evening. Across demographics the trend is for quick and easy-to-prepare products.”