Grab-and-go options have become a cornerstone of success in noncommercial foodservice operations, spanning various sectors such as healthcare, colleges and universities, business and industry, hotels, and airports. Discover how to elevate your grab-and-go game to meet the evolving needs of noncommercial foodservice operations.

Provide a Variety

Variety is the key to capturing a wide range of customers. To cater to diverse tastes, ensure your micro market or vending area contains products that can be conveniently picked up and taken to the checkout.1 The goal is to offer something for everyone, from tasty snacks to beverages with nutritional value.

Having a large variety is an essential component of the grab-and-go strategy for Pacific Dining, a food service management company that serves California universities.2 

“We realized, post-pandemic, that people appreciate having that [expanded] option and some people preferred to have that ability to grab something right off the shelf,” said Rick McMahon, Pacific Dining’s president. “We also expanded the offerings to include more upscale choices, which would drive bigger dollars per sale.”

In particular, the demand for healthy items, including plant-based products, in vending machines and micro markets is on the rise. According to the 2022 State of the Vending & Micro Market Industry Report, combined revenue gains for these items were up 40%, reaching $2 billion.3 Offering plant-based options appeals to customers seeking nutritious on-the-go choices. For example, V8 +ENERGY®, a juice with the added benefit of energy, can be a great way to target health-minded consumers looking for an energy boost anytime during the day.

In addition, consider what else customers might need depending on the setting of the micro market. From office supplies to toiletries, there are several product categories to consider to fit your customer base. Electronics, such as cellphone chargers, toiletries, and health and wellness products, such as aspirin and antacids, are typically popular with consumers.4

Tap into Impulse Purchases

A significant portion of on-the-go consumers are driven by impulse. According to Technomic, 49% of snacks purchased at foodservice are spur-of-the-moment buys.5 Campbell’s® Chunky® Microwavable Bowls are a great choice for micro market and convenience settings, featuring 9-17g of protein per bowl in a convenient, microwavable format.

Stock your grab-and-go shelves with unique or limited-edition products that catch the eye of passersby, such as seasonal and on-trend flavored items, to drive impulse purchases. Flavor and taste are crucial to appeal to consumers, with 72% of consumers indicating that these attributes are the most important factors when choosing a snack.5 For example, consider promoting Kettle Brand® Backyard Barbeque® chips in the summertime when consumers are craving barbecue flavors.

Effective signage and presentation are also essential for driving impulse purchases. In micro markets where various products compete for attention, brightly lit and colorful signage can draw customers’ eyes.1 Positioning items at eye level also increases the likelihood of them being noticed. Experiment with graphics inside the fridge to promote discounts or specific products. 

Use Promotions and Discounts

Consider promotions and discounts to entice customers. Pairings and combinations that consumers are accustomed to, such as soup and sandwich or snacks and beverages, can boost sales. Seasonal discounts or buy-one-get-one-free promotions can encourage customers to make additional purchases.

For example, in the fall and winter seasons, promote a popular pairing like Campbell’s® Chunky® Creamy Chicken and Dumplings Soup and Lance® Saltine Crackers to attract customers with a combination they are accustomed to.

Leverage Well-Known Brands with Campbell’s Foodservice

Offering products from recognizable brands is key in grab-and-go settings where consumers are making quick decisions about their purchases. More than half (56%) of consumers consider the brand of food or beverage a crucial factor when choosing a snack, for example.4

For micro market and convenience settings, Campbell’s Foodservice has a wide range of well-known brands and products. From Campbell’s® Chunky® Microwavable Bowls and V8+ ENERGY® to Snyder’s of Hanover® Pretzels and Lance® Sandwich Crackers, these brands have established themselves as consumer favorites. Leveraging well-known brands can enhance the appeal of your grab-and-go offerings and boost customer trust.

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1 Skyba, Randy, “6 Tips for Implementing Grab-and-Go Fridges for a Micro Market,” Vending Market Watch, June 15, 2023

2 Crain, Jennifer, “Energizing a Grab-and-Go Menu,” Food Management, June 7, 2023

3 2022 State of the Vending & Micro Market Industry Report, Vending Market Watch, 2023

4 Stroka, Mary, “Striving for Wellness Along the Northeast Coast,” Vending Market Watch, January 9, 2020

5 Consumer Trend Reports – 2022 – U.S. – Snacking – Technomic, February 2022, Technomic