Fuel and food to go missions are continuing to lose relevance for forecourt stores, according to exclusive research from the shopper insights agency HIM.

The insight, from HIM’s Winning In Forecourts 2018 report, highlights a consistent decline in the relevance of fuel and food to go (FTG) to a forecourt store over the last five years. In contrast, the top-up and treat missions have consistently grown share, indicating a shift in consumer behaviours towards forecourts.

Conducted through more than 2,000 forecourt shopper interviews, across 10 different fascias, the Winning in Forecourts 2018 report benchmarks competitors in the forecourt channel across different formats and for numerous categories within food, drink and tobacco.

Since 2013, the volume of shoppers highlighting fuel as their main reason for visiting a forecourt has declined from 33% to 15%. This drop has seen it fall from the largest forecourt mission to fourth. Over the same period the FTG mission has fallen from 22% to 19%.

Both of these missions have been losing share to the top-up and treat missions. Top-up has grown significantly, from 12% to 21% and is now the largest mission in the forecourt channel. Treat remains the smallest mission, but has seen its share double from 7% to 14% since 2013.

Val Kirillovs, research and insights director at HIM, said: “Forecourts haven’t been able to rely on purely fuel to drive footfall for some time, however FTG has long been considered as key to forecourt retailers and a huge area of focus. While both missions still remain important, the main reason that shoppers are visiting is changing.

“It is vital that forecourt retailers understand their individual shoppers and adapt to their needs. Retailers need to place greater focus on range and merchandising in order to inspire shoppers. Stocking core top-up lines and using in-store theatre to drive the treat mission are key to success.”