How convenience retail is evolving in 2023

There’s no denying that Covid changed the way we shop. Add to that a cost of living crisis and it’s no surprise that convenience retailers are having to think on their feet to respond to the ever changing needs of a demanding, multi-faceted customer base.

And while the pandemic is behind us and many experts are predicting a slow-down of the economic downturn, there are some changes to convenience retailers’ businesses that are likely here to stay.

FROM: In-store or online shoppers TO: Channel agnostic

As shopping habits continue to evolve, developing a strong omnichannel strategy is likely to be key to many of your customers’ ongoing success. Being able to go where the people are, whether that’s a physical location, an online store or a seamless combination of the two, switching their strategy and offering fluidly will create new opportunities in both product, format and delivery. Now the focus is more around convenience and eating well at home, with many restaurants continuing with some of the offers they created during the pandemic. For example, Spring in London turned its eat-in into a grocery store during lockdowns, and has continued to provide fresh produce, as well as meal kits and eat-in offers, now the hospitality trade is open again, to cater to the varied needs of its customer base.

FROM: Long-term NPD TO: Quickly tapping into online trends

Convenience retail is increasingly offering businesses the chance to tap into online trends and flex their offer to maximise sales. For example, a Londis store in Weymouth launched a dessert bar focused on products trending on TikTok, tapping into the Gen Z market and driving footfall from a customer segment that may not have used the store’s standard offer. Baked goods have a high profit margin, plus can increase a convenience retailers’ basket spend as customers pick up essentials alongside their on-trend sweet treat. So, having that on-trend product on shelf quickly can drive footfall that drives much greater sales benefits for your wholesale customers.

FROM: Splurging for a special occasions TO: Everyday luxury for less

As consumers cut back on meals out as the cost of living crisis bites, there are increasing opportunities in the convenience market as shoppers look to replicate dining out at home for a fraction of the cost. Tesco has already responded to consumer demand, cutting the price of its Finest Dinner for Two, with a main, side, dessert and alcoholic drink for just £12, as shoppers demand better value for money, but aren’t prepared to compromise on quality or their little treat.

FROM: Baked from scratch TO: In-store bakeries without the hassle

While in store bakeries offer a point of difference for food retailers, the practicalities of managing multiple mini manufacturing operations across a large estate can be challenging. And while the boost the smell of freshly baked sweet treats can have on sales is undeniable, the need for ‘from scratch’ baking has lessened. Both Asda and Tesco have already scrapped scratch baking in their in store bakeries, swapping to bakeoff products (Tesco) and pre-baked goods delivered daily (Asda) to streamline their operations and respond to a shift in consumer buying behaviours.

If you’d like to explore how you can enhance your impulse sweet bakery offering, please get in touch with us at or call us on 023 8026 9926.