Make Like a Banana and Split

oktoberfest parade

They actually stood and cheered when the man in the walking banana costume marched by.

He was also throwing candy from a bucket, but I like to think the day-drinking fest-goers and rowdy college kids were applauding the banana man. Under normal circumstances, it would take a lot of guts to dress up like a banana and walk down the middle of a busy thoroughfare. I certainly wouldn’t expect to get a standing ovation.

What Are Your Daily Specialties?

specialty foods

An energy drink, bag of chips, pack of smokes and beef jerky meet hemp heart bites, hibiscus green tea mixer, acai berry chocolate truffles and blackberry sheep milk yogurt.

It might not sound like these items belong together; but specialty/gourmet foods have a bona fide reason for being in c-stores.

Cash In with Beer Caves

beer cave

The U.S. beer industry is awash in billions of dollars.

For brewers and retailers, and beer importers and distributors, it generates nearly $253 billion in economic activity and produces $48.5 billion in tax revenue, according to a study by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

The Chips That Made The Trip

southport go gas

In mid-September, I drove 1,012 miles from Chicago to the North Carolina coast for a 3.8-ounce bag of Utz potato chips. It was an impulse purchase.

Cover Story: You Saw It Here First

NACS Show 2015 Las Vegas

This year, Oct. 11 to 14, more than 23,500 people from around the world will arrive in Las Vegas for the show. They will walk the 400,000 square feet of expo space, perusing the products and services from more than 1,100 vendors.

There will be showgirls. There will be sausages, pizza and coffee. There will be a man dressed like Sasquatch.

And there will be plenty of new products promising to lure in customers, expand market baskets and boost sales in the year to come.

Craft Sodas, Meat Snacks, Burgers and More

two trending product categories: burgers and beverages

Health and variety continue to drive trends in the convenience-store and foodservice space.

Craft sodas, tea and meat snacks are seeing increased success among customers seeking healthier fare. While tea has long been deemed a good-for-you beverage, craft soda’s natural ingredients are contributing to piqued interest. And manufacturers of meat snacks have seen category growth as they highlight the benefits of protein.

The 3-Minute Drill (Infographic)

convenience-store retail visit statistics

Three minutes: It’s the length of the average commercial break, and it’s a little more than the amount of time it takes you to brush your teeth. Unfortunately, it’s also the amount of time retailers and suppliers have to trigger sales inside the c-store.

Editor's Letter: Convenience on Steroids

I always thought I’d work in newspapers.

I got the degree in journalism. I had a bright-lights-big-city mentality. I was ready to take on the world.

So I moved to Chicago. Some of the media trade’s biggest and most important names came from this town. Mike Royko. Roger Ebert. Even Langston Hughes wrote a weekly column for the Chicago Defender for a period of years. The city has pedigree.

Life Line Potential

convenience store aisle

CHICAGO – It can seem like a no-brainer. They have built-in consumer loyalty right off the shelf. But convenience-store retailers are finding that line extensions are not always the hole-in-one they should be.



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