Evolve Meals

Meals are a huge part of people’s lives. And with meals, naturally come drinks, so every meal is an opportunity for the beverage category!

Different types of meals call for different beverage choices. Today, alcohol is consumed in just 5% of all meals. And yet, meals is still the largest, and most important occasion for the beer category. If we can increase alcohol showing up in 5% of meals to just 6%, it would be $2.8B in incremental sales across total alcohol, and $1.2B for beer. To encourage more people to broaden their drink choices at mealtime, we need to understand that there are various types of meals, ranging from everyday meals to social or celebratory meals.

everyday meal

In c-store, there is one primary meal occasion that shoppers are buying for: The Everyday Meal. When we talk about everyday meals, we are referring to your standard, weeknight meal, at which you are either alone or with your immediate family.

This need has fueled growth in convenient, quick meals and the desire to stay close to home. With busy schedules, parents eat 156 meals a year standing up2 and are always looking for more convenient options. One-third of shoppers visit c-stores to grab something to eat because they’re hungry, and are often looking for both something to eat now and something to take home for later.

1 Kantar Demand Landscape, 2020
2 https://nypost.com/2018/05/14/parents-are-so-busy-they-eat-156-meals-a-year-standing-up

So What Is It That People Are Looking For In A Beverage For Their Everyday Meal?

With any meal, people want a drink that is refreshing and compliments the food. However, a unique need for these weeknight meals is that people want something that won’t affect them the next day when they get up and go to work. Beer, especially balanced choices such as lagers and light lagers, deliver exactly what people are looking for in these moments: Sessionable, goes with any food, and has a low ABV.

This is exactly why beer makes up more than half of what people are drinking in this everyday meal occasion.  Spirits also play an important role in the everyday meal, often as a mixed drink such as a vodka soda, or a small pour of a favorite spirit.

The closing rate for hungry c-store shoppers is high. One third of people who go into the store hungry end up purchasing prepared food almost 90% of the time.4 So, we know if they’re looking for food, they’re almost always going to buy something. However, even though a majority of these shoppers are beer drinkers, they’re not buying beer, because only 1.8% of those trips include beer.5

4 Numerator Basket Affinity (Prepared Food basket within Gas & Convenience Deli &) - latest 52 weeks ending 3/14/2021
5 Numerator Basket Affinity (Beer within Gas & Convenience Deli & Prepared Food basket) - latest 52 weeks ending 3/14/2021

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Keys to Unlocking Growth

In order to unlock growth meals, we need to find ways to encourage c-store food buyers to also purchase beer on the same trip. Educating the consumer on food and beer pairings with in-store signage is a great place to start. Displaying beer near the prepared food is another way to drive purchase and increase basket ring. Almost all c-store food buyers are beer drinkers, so there’s a huge opportunity to capture growth by connecting the two together.

Anheuser-Busch knows it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Contact your local Anheuser-Busch Category Management representative today to learn more about igniting category growth through the Evolve Meals growth driver.