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Foodvenience: The new lifestyle at the service station

Industry expert Sven Wucherpfennig, Alvern Media, discusses the development of quality food services in the forecourt and convenience store market, and how a switch in consumer lifestyle provides new business opportunities for retailers.

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Author: Sven Wucherpfennig

More flexible working hours, new ways of living and changing leisure habits – the list of reasons why the Germans are more mobile than ever is long. The result is that only 42% cook their own meals, according to the "Consumers' Choice 2015" study by the market research organisation GfK. The idea of food "to go" is clearly on the rise.

It started with coffee, but these days new retail concepts are springing up everywhere alongside modern fast food chains. The decline in cooking forces retailers to find new sales channels to prevent lost revenues. Take the supermarket Rewe: its in-store cooking stations have taken off.

The line between food retail outlets and gastronomy is becoming increasingly blurred. People talk of ‘foodvenience’. It won't be long before the concept of open kitchens, high-quality, freshly prepared products and an extensive range of modern convenience products at reasonable prices finds its way into German service stations as well. A glance stateside reveals just how rapidly and widespread this shift is taking place. Service stations are no longer just for fuel: there's also an array of salads, burgers and ice-creams freshly prepared on site, which customers can put together, dress and garnish themselves. All this and a multitude of other daily deli ranges and bakery concepts make life difficult for the independent restaurateur in the USA. And yet, at the same time they also plug the gap caused by the scarcity of retail stores in rural areas.

And in Germany? This development will be echoed here. Here too foodvenience looks set to dominate in the foreseeable future. According to the Crest consumer panel at the market research institute NPD Group, retail spending on food for immediate consumption went up from €897 million in 2010 to approximately €1 billion in 2014. On the back of this, we're looking forward to the first individually prepared vegan pizza or frozen yoghurt topped with fresh berries from the local service station. And it doesn't stop there.

The service station is becoming a principal touchpoint in the life of the consumer and a key element in marketing communications. In the future, those wanting to reach mobile target groups and elicit an urge to buy will give careful consideration in particular to advertising on pump nozzles, service station doors and digital screens in the service station shop.


Written by Sven Wucherpfennig

Sven Wucherpfennig is the Managing Director and shareholder of Alvern Media GmbH. Alvern has been an established provider of innovative advertising at petrol stations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since 1997. Hamburg-based Alvern has established the FillBoard advertisements on petrol pumps as an outdoor medium in 48 countries internationally, including more than 9,600 German petrol stations.

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