Forecourt shops are the home of snacking for the UK’s peckish drivers, new research from Palmer and Harvey has revealed. Compared with regular c-stores, petrol stations sell two-and-a-half times as many sandwiches, one-and-a-half times as many savoury slices, 13% more confectionery and nearly double the number of energy drinks.

The analysis found that snack items such as confectionery, soft drinks, sandwiches and crisps average 29% of a forecourt shop’s annual sales, compared with 17% in c-stores. Among confectionery, Duo bars such as Bounty and Mars are among the biggest sellers, with nearly 300% higher sales at petrol stations than at c-stores. According to Palmer and Harvey, drivers tend to buy these two-bar items so they can eat one straight away and save the other for later.

The research also uncovered other categories where forecourt sales are leading the way. Petrol stations sell nearly twice as much chewing gum as c-stores; six times as many ’grab bags’ compared with standard bags of crisps; and 100% more 500ml bottles of soft drink.

Martyn Ward, managing director of commercial and sales at Palmer and Harvey, said: "Motorists want to snack and petrol stations are more likely to succeed if they understand and cater to that market."