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How Americans Deal with Inflation: Less Gas, Lots of Frozen Pizzas and Cheap Coffee

New York (CNNBusiness)Americans are reducing not only the amount of fuel they put in their tanks, but also their gasoline pumps. .. Consumers are also changing the way they put restroom food and other necessities in grocery bags.

The average price of gas has been around $ 5 per gallon since it recently crossed the mark for the first time on record. At the same time that inflation makesgrocery purchases more expensive, households are paying much more for gas.

Gas station convenience stores usually serve as an ideal alternative to grocery stores. For water, all you need is two bags of chips, a carton of milk, or a midnight coffee grab along the way. From work to home. This impulse buying behavior is always a good barometer for consumers' health.

"The price of gas and everything is much higher, but people have to drive," said Arie Kotler, president and CEO of convenience store operator Arko Corp. .. "Recalculate road trips."

Kotler observes shopping patterns at convenience stores connected to ARKO-operated gas pumps. The company operates nearly 1,400 convenience stores in a small town.

During a shopper's visit to a gas station, I noticed two trends.

"People are coming to the pump more often than at the same time last year, but instead filling the tank completely fills half or a quarter of the tank at a time. "He said. At a convenience store at a gas station. She said. "Instead of buying one or two items, I'm probably making more buying baskets for a week."

Large chips bags, lots of frozen pizzas&99 St. Coffee

Kotler said ARKO is re-adjusting its offerings as consumers focus on more valuable pricing, services and promotions , Try to lower prices and increase sales.

"Previously it was a glass of drink and a bag of small chips," he said. "Now they are shopping for value. So, for example, it's a big chip bag for $ 4.59, while it's a small bag for $ 2.29. They can get a few servings from it. You can. "

Similarly, for drinks, a 2 liter bottle is better than a small size as well as a 12-pack and 15-pack drink can, he said.

Cheap coffee, grab-and-go sandwiches, and frozen pizzas are also popular with budget-constrained shoppers.

And since the beginning of this year, Kotler said ARKO has added a fully automated bean-to-cup coffee machine to more than 500 store locations. "These are self-service and reduce labor costs, so you can sell hot and iced coffee for 99 cents," he said.

The company has also invested in additional grab and go coolers in more than 600 locations where shoppers can get frozen foods such as sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and TV dinners.

"Our peanut butter and jelly sandwich is $ 1.29 and ham and cheese is $ 3.99," said Michael Bloom, chief marketing officer of the company. "We're similar to grocery prices, but probably $ 1 to $ 3 cheaper.

Pizza is usually one of the most purchased items at gas stations.

"Many people can't afford to go to the restaurant right now. Mr. Kotler says the frozen family pizzasis currently a very popular item for $ 5.69 to $ 9.59." It states. Kotler consumes gas when customers enroll in the company's loyalty program.

"All of these savings build up for consumers. Every few months, stay competitive, stay in business, and stay in touch with shoppers in this environment.