Coming soon to a convenience store near you
The last time you visited a convenience store you were probably in and out in a matter of minutes, right?
You’re the person Kelly Fulford has in mind when she works with convenience stores (or c-stores) nationwide to help them organize their stores and make decisions about what products are offered. As a senior category development manager for General Mills Convenience, Kelly makes sure that when you’re in a convenience store, you quickly see what you want and need.
“Whether you’re in the salty snacks section, the packaged sweets aisle or the frozen foods section, there are a number of General Mills products in convenience stores today,” says Kelly. You may recognize products from other retail locations, like the grocery store. “But there are also innovative products customized for c-stores like Chex Chips, Pillsbury Soft-Baked Mini Cookies and Nature Valley Nut Clusters.”
Kelly leads a team that works closely with c-store retailers and distributors to ensure stores have the right types of products and the correct assortment. She and her team analyze data along with consumer insight research to identify how retailers can drive sales and profit throughout their stores.
“For instance, we analyze how people are shopping when they come into a store, how long they are inside, what they are buying, etc.,” says Kelly. “More consumers are eating away from home and snacking is on the rise. The challenge is ensuring you are meeting the needs of these busy shoppers who, on average, spend only three minutes in a store.”
Kelly says that if shelves are adequately stocked, items are hidden out of sight or a store doesn’t carry a popular product, c-stores are missing out on opportunities.
The next time you head into a convenience store, you’ll see a larger selection of nuts, seeds and energy/protein bars to help meet demand for healthier options. You may also see hot and custom-made options prepared on site like yogurt parfaits and salads to help make life more convenient for hurried shoppers.
When you’re looking for a treat, Kelly says to look for new Pillsbury Minis – a line of premium bakery items designed for breakfast on-the-go in a mini size with less mess.
And when it comes to c-store trends, Kelly really knows her stuff. So much so, that she was just named one of BakeryandSnack.com’s Personalities of the Year!
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