Breakfast Barons and Pit Stoppers? General Mills breaks down c-store segments

by Eric Schroeder
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Inside a convenience store
Breakfast Barons, Vice Squaders, Pit Stoppers and Meals & More have been identified by General Mills Convenience & Foodservice unit as the four convenience-store consumer segments with their own attitudes, behaviors and needs.

MINNEAPOLIS — Breakfast Barons, Vice Squaders, Pit Stoppers and Meals & More have been identified by General Mills Convenience & Foodservice unit as the four convenience-store consumer segments with their own attitudes, behaviors and needs.

General Mills described Breakfast Barons as those individuals who seek convenience stores to fulfill their breakfast needs. Approximately 22% of convenience-store shoppers fit this definition, General Mills said. Breakfast Barons are more likely to look for baked goods, granola bars and coffee. Their visits are most frequent on weekday mornings, and they are more likely to be employed at high-paying jobs and frequent c-stores in urban business districts, the company said.

General Mills said retailers can win over Breakfast Barons by exceeding their expectations on their key occasion: weekday breakfast.

“They should focus on variety and quality of breakfast offerings to delight them,” General Mills said.

The second segment is Vice Squaders, which make up 18% of convenience-store shoppers and are described by General Mills as individuals “who hit up their local c-store for liquor, cigarettes and lottery tickets.”  Vice Squaders are likely to make late-night visits during the week to a c-store near home, General Mills said. They also are older and have lower incomes, and they are more likely to be found in rural and residential locations.

Retailers can maximize Vice Squaders shoppers with an expansive selection of alcohol and tobacco products. Retailers should plan to reach them at the counter when waiting for cigarette or lottery purchases, General Mills said.

Comprised of 38% of convenience-store shoppers, Pit Stoppers are “on-the-go shoppers whose quick in-and-out trips center on gas, the restroom and the ATM,” said General Mills. They visit most often on weekends in the early afternoon, usually while traveling, and typically visit stores in small towns and residential areas. Pit Stoppers are more likely to purchase cold fountain beverages and gum, General Mills said.

“Retailers can draw Pit Stoppers in starting at the pump and capture their interest along their short path from the restroom to the checkout with deals on fountain beverages, gum and video rentals,” General Mills said.

The final group as defined by General Mills is Meals & More. Making up 22% of convenience-store shoppers, Meals & More are described as young shoppers who head into the c-store in search of meals, particularly lunch and dinner. According to General Mills, Meals & More shoppers seek hot and fresh foods, but they also like to indulge in candy and salty snacks. They also frequent urban residential areas closest to where they live and often will visit c-stores that do not offer gas.

General Mills said retailers can reach Meals & More shoppers by offering a variety of fresh, hot meal options and substantial snacks over dinner and lunch, as well as basic personal and household items for when they are in a rush.

“These macro consumer segments help convenience retailers get into the mindset of the different types of consumers coming through their door,” said Amy Woulfe, consumer insights associate for General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. “By understanding the nuances of each distinct c-store consumer segment, c-stores can evaluate their product mix, merchandising and promotions in order to win each segment over.”

General Mills based its findings off an on-line survey of nearly 3,200 convenience-store food and beverage shoppers, ages 18 to 64, conducted in November 2014. It segmented consumers based on self-reported shopping behaviors including categories purchased, time of day of their visits and location of their most frequented stores.
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