August Wrap Up: The Month in Product Launches (Slideshow)
OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill.-- Convenience store retailers, make space on your shelves for Hispanic beverages, kids’ snacks, granola, protein, multi-product vaporizers, high-end cigars and all things pumpkin. These trends percolated among last month’s group of new-product rollouts, setting the tone for the selling season to come.
One sure sign of fall is the onslaught of pumpkin-flavored products. General Foods International rolled out its pumpkin spice dispensed cappuccino for a limited time. For crew-serve beverage programs, DaVinci Gourmet is offering a pumpkin pie sauce that pairs with espresso and blends well with milk and other liquids. In the candy aisle, new Jelly Belly Holiday Favorites laydown bags feature an assortment of flavors in 7.5-ounce laydown bags, including Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry Sauce, Hot Chocolate, Egg Nog and Candy Cane. Retailers trying to capture dessert or indulgent-snack occasions should look to McCain Foods USA’s Sweet Classics Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites, a finalist in the CSP Retailer Choice Best New Product Contest.
Hispanic flavors are abundant in the beverage category this month. Alpina Foods rolled out new flavors and packaging for its Avena oat-based smoothie line. A recipe that follows the tradition of El Espinal, a region in the company’s home country of Colombia, Alpina Avena is available in original, light and cinnamon, dulce de leche, strawberry and chocolate. In the beer cooler, Anheuser-Busch InBev is bringing its first Mexico-originated beer to the states with Montejo golden lager. MillerCoors is launching Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale, based on the popular Mexican drink.
Manufacturers put an emphasis on kids’ snacks and drinks last month, with a focus on better-for-you options. Bolthouse Farms launched Bolthouse Farms Kids with seven products across three categories—Smoothies, Fruit Tubes and Veggie Snackers—designed to appeal to parents of children ages 4 to 11. The pouch-based snack pipeline remains robust, with Dole Packaged Foods highlighting its Fruit Squish’ems in Apple, Apple Strawberry and Apple Mixed Berry, and Musselman’s touted itsSqueezables in Honey Cinnamon, Strawberry and Unsweetened varieties. For kids who earn a sweet treat, Big Train’s Kidz Kreamz shelf-stable blended beverage mixes come in cotton candy, orange cream and bubble gum flavors.
The quest for more protein continues unabated—or at least manufacturers are banking on it. BPI Sports has rolled out Funnbar, candy chews that pack 15 grams of protein in 10 individually wrapped chews. Quest Nutrition added to its popular roster of protein bars with a line of protein chips that contain 21 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbs. Recovery-drink maker Kill Cliff diversified its portfolio with KC Bar protein bars in flavors such as Salted Caramel and Almond and Strawberries and Cream.
Granola continues to migrate out of the cereal aisle and into the snack set, following last month’s launch of Renola from Larabar. Funley’s Delicious offers Wholly Granolly Clusters in resealable standup pouches, while Nana’s Nola granola bites has already made a dent in the c-store industry at more than 20 Mirabito stores in New York.
Craft sodas and sparkling waters keep the beverage category fizzing. Inspired by the variety-pack trend in the craft-beer sector, Dry Soda Co. launched its first Discovery Pack with Vanilla Bean, Blood Orange and Cherry flavors. Nestle Pure Life expanded its product portfolio with Nestle Pure Life Exotics Sparkling Water in Mango Peach Pineapple, Strawberry Dragon Fruit, Tangerine and Key Lime. Newcomer VitaminFIZZ is a naturally flavored and vitamin-enhanced sparkling water that’s available in three flavors: Lemon-Lime, Mango-Orange and Strawberry-Watermelon.
On the vaping front, manufacturers continue to migrate along the spectrum from e-cigarettes to e-liquids and tanks, and from there to devices that can vaporize e-liquids, waxes and—the next big thing—dry product. S&M Brands has done both, rolling out a line of e-liquids and the LEX12 Staple unit for use with e-liquids, and the LEX12 10 Penny and 20 Penny dry-herb vaping units. At the end of July, NJOY launched a line of pens, tanks and e-liquids, while CB Distributors added to its line of e-liquids and vaping pens with a unit that vaporizes liquids, waxes and dry herbs. Others joining the multi-product vaporizing category include Vapor Group Inc., Cigalectric, White Rhino, and VMR Products.
The recent rollout of cigar varieties reflects a consumer looking for a higher-quality experience. Commonwealth-Altadis Inc.’s new Dutch from Dutch Masters features a natural leaf wrapper in sleek packaging. Drew Estate Tobacco Co. is crafting ultra-exclusive varieties that are made for and available to just one retailer. Swisher International’s new King Edward VII cigarillos are hand-rolled and come in vanilla and natural varieties.