C&I sat down with Ampol to learn more about their foodservice offer, discussing the category’s performance, how it operates, and what they’re doing differently.
Last year, Ampol’s food-to-go offer had a reset, where it focused heavily on driving volume into its hot bakery offer through new product development and attractive promotional price points.
“In fresh food-to-go, we have tried to differentiate ourselves through the introduction of a new (and channel exclusive to Ampol) ready meals brand, The Street Food Co, to drive trial, offer customer choice, and diversify our portfolio of brands. As an Australian business ourselves, we have worked hard to support fellow Australian brands and businesses, as we know these resonate strongly with our customers.”
The company has seen strong value growth in foodservice, with the category hitting $1 billion for the first time in 2022 (up 21.4 per cent vs. prior comparable year), with food savouries and take-home food driving overall category value.
When selecting which products to range, Ampol looks to consumer trends. Ampol has identified that consumers are making efforts to choose seasonal and local produce and reduce carbon emissions, making products from small and independent businesses more attractive options, while becoming increasingly focused on healthier options.
“Meal prep kits are one of the big success stories in the food and beverage industry in recent years, with pandemic lockdowns kick-starting their popularity.”
Supporting local businesses is also something Ampol is proud of, and they believe there’s an element of theatre in the way they present these businesses that their competitors are unable to replicate.
“After a successful pilot launch in Victoria last year, our partnership with Doughnut Time has now expanded nationally to over 500 Ampol Foodary and has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We have also introduced freshly baked in-store cookies in Victoria and New South Wales and displayed them for self-serve consumption in Bennett Street Dairy-branded units.”
Similar to Ampol, these Australian brands are often putting innovative spins on classic products to keep consumers engaged and returning.
“Bennett Street Dairy has elevated the cookie beyond ‘just choc chip’ through joint ventures with the likes of other great Aussie brands like Darrell Lea. Patties had great success evolving the humble sausage roll through their Loaded! sausage roll products, which embed the sauce in the roll.
“We also saw some innovative new product development from The Street Food Co. who moved away from traditional ready meal offerings to more ‘hawker food’ style flavours to attract the younger generation.”
Despite the positives, cost pressures remain a key challenge for Ampol’s retail convenience network, whether it be the increased costs of business operations or in-store products.
“Shopping habits have changed and are directly linked with the cost of living, meaning shoppers are searching for promotions and value more than ever before. We are currently heavily focused on working with our key supply partners in order to continue providing our customers with great value.”