Mass Appeal of the Combo Meal

Consider the everyday foodservice customer—the familiar face, the regular—and chances are, c-store staff can predict what that customer is buying from day to day. Their loyalty is secure, and they’re happy with the food and drink offering.

It’s the more elusive consumer, the one who’s more likely to visit a fast-food chain, who is harder to plan for. So how can c-stores influence their traffic?

'A Golden Age of Innovation'

Retailers and consumers are living in “a golden age of beverage innovation,” according to a report from Packaged Facts that looks at packaged-beverage trends.

“Ideas are flowing like perhaps they haven’t in decades, if not a century,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md. “Indeed, until recently, the beverage industry had remained untouched by radical transformation. That is not the case any longer.”

Yes, Whey

The gold standard of healthy snack bars is upgrading to platinum status, marked by ingredients such as whey, superfood seaweed and even cricket protein.

For proof, peruse the three snack-bar finalists in CSP’s and Convenience Store Products’ 2017 Best New Product Contest: Clif Whey Protein Bar, Oatmega Grass-Fed Whey Protein Cookie and thinkThin Protein & Superfruit.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery Enters Energy Category With Unique New Product

Mars Wrigley Confectionery Alert Caffeine Gum

Chicago-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery unveiled its Alert Caffeine Gum on Wednesday at the NACS Show in Chicago. The gum, first released in 2013 and later brought back in-house for further development, contains 40 mg of caffeine, the equivalent of half a cup of coffee.     

And the Winner of Lay's 'Do Us a Flavor' Contest Is ...

Earlier this summer, Lay's produced three new flavors, all vying for a chance to be the next "Do Us a Flavor" contest winner. American consumers tried the varieties and voted. Lay's, a brand out of PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division, has found its winner.

The 2017 Hot 100

Lighting a match

33%.

That’s how many products in this year’s Hot 100 belong to the tobacco, vape and tobacco accessory category.

Across all the in-store categories, major launches from the first half of this year are well represented. But as retailers and consumers alike search through the CStoreProductsOnline.com product database, nearly one-third of them are looking for tobacco products.

Not Just Another Breakfast Sandwich

Empanadas

The ubiquitous breakfast sandwich has owned the morning for years. Whether in a c-store or limited-service restaurant, the egg, cheese and meat build has stood the test of time.

But innovation marches on.

The breakfast daypart is at peak popularity, and breakfast sandwiches are king. Fifty-five percent of c-store consumers purchase breakfast from a c-store at least once a month, and 51% of those consumers say that they choose breakfast sandwiches when they’re there, according to Chicago-based Technomic’s most recent C-Store MarketBrief data.

Cigarettes Remain on Top But Face Hurdles

Don’t count cigarettes out.

This heavyweight category still tops the list of convenience-store merchandise categories in terms of sales, even though it falls behind in gross-profit dollars and margin percentages, according to preliminary numbers released at the NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit, held April 4-6 in Rosemont, Ill.

Counter Cultures

When Alabama c-store operator Narayan Baddam replenishes his refrigerated case with packaged single-serve Dannon yogurts, he owes his stock to his trusty “distributor”: his local supermarket.

Owner of Fuel Zone and Danville Park Shell in Decatur, Ala., Baddam buys yogurt for his c-stores during grocery excursions, eventually stocking them next to the cheese, milk, cottage cheese and sour cream in his refrigerated case. He makes 20% margin on rings of Dannon single-serve yogurt. What he doesn’t sell, he eats.

The Other Shot

nutriblade shot

Repeat after them: “This is not an energy shot.”

Makers of natural/organic supplement shots are on a quest to establish retail relevance and distance themselves from energy shots.

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