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


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 product database, nearly one-third of them are looking for tobacco products.

Not Just Another Breakfast Sandwich


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.

Candy’s Organic Growth


In addition to the buzz around better-for-you products, convenience-store customers are also looking to satisfy their indulgent cravings. Because of this and other cross-channel candy consumerism, the global confectionery market, which was valued at ­$184 billion in 2015, is projected to reach $232 billion by 2022.

Predicaments and Predictions in Alcohol


There is no shortage of innovation in the alcohol-beverage category: New products and flavor extensions “keep things interesting for myself and the shoppers,” says Chris Kaden, category manager for Odessa, Texas-based Alon Brands. But with space at a premium, it’s also a challenge.

Here’s how Kaden approaches new-product pitches and how he thinks the category will take shape.

Q: How do you approach new alcohol-beverage items?



clif energy granola blueberry crisp

 Snack mix, granola, pickles and more


New innovations across packaged and foodservice

jelly belly candy cones

Sour treats are trending in the confection world