We thought it would be easy to find a consensus regarding the most popular c-store snacks. We were wrong.

This week the marketing department decided to look into the favorite snacks of c-store consumers. We figured there’d be clear cut winners and we’d write about it.

We were wrong. There was no identifiable trend. Sources were varied. And opinionated. No two lists correlated. Which just speaks to the unbelievable differentiation in what c-stores offer now. Or the differing tastes of their customers. Or the continuing evolution of the snack. Or all three.

We’ll start with Parade, a periodical targeted at the most general audience you can think of. As such, their list of 35 consists pretty much of what you’d expect: chips, candy, ice cream, and other items considered the foundation of c-store snacking. Their #1 pick is no surprise; it’s a product has as good as entered the pop culture lexicon.

The New York Times’ reading audience isn’t as broad as that of Parade’s and tends to place an emphasis on upscale products and services. Despite these leanings, their list of favorites, which concentrates on those gas station items most suitable for a road trip, with a surprising beverage at #1.


Obviously, one of the reasons there is a such a wide range of snack preferences is that tastes vary by locality. Here’s a fairly good attempt to break snack preferences down by region—but finding definitive trends remains elusive . . .

 . . . although one constant across all lists—multiple times—is candy. The category is a competitive one; confectioners consistently pursue innovations to attract the attention of the consumer. This article from Convenience Store Decisions gives us a look ahead at what 2022 holds for candy. It’s hardly a static proposition . . .

. . . but then snacks of all types always evolve. Last year’s NACS was a confirmation of that. Some of these selections look kind of good!

And what kind of article on c-store snacks would be complete without a few of the stranger examples from around the world:

  • If you’re in the mood for snacking on a coconut, these floating c-stores off the coast of Bais in Negros, Philippines, are more than willing to accommodate you.
  • Consumers have shown much ingenuity in combining their favorite snacks on their own initiative, though, frankly, some of these results seem dubious.
  • Here’s one person’s list of the strangest c-store snacks from around the world.
  • If ever there was a country whose consumers understand the appeal of the offbeat snack, it’s Japan, so here’s an attempt at 13 favorite Japanese snacks.
  • Oh, and just for good measure, this bag of c-store snacks showed up at this year’s Grammy Awards. Looks pretty conventional, though. This DJ needs to step up his game.

Fortunately, SSCS customers don’t have to rely on the opinion of the Internet or other third party sources for guidance on what to carry on their shelves; they have, at their fingertips, detailed and site-specific information about what’s moving and what’s not thanks to the Inventory Management module of our Computerized Daily Book (CDB) back office. If you’d like to learn a little more about how it’s done, please give us a call at 1-800-972-7727.

[1] By the way, readers that are fans of convenience store beverages in general should check out next week’s post.