Candy’s Organic Growth

candy

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

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?

Consumers Go Veggie or Go Home

potato chips

Snacks owe their growth in part to consumer sensibilities. Consumers want more options, and they want to eat them more often.

The category is such big business that tried-and-true convenience-store favorites ­potato chips, pretzels, popcorn and jerky‑ aren't even the biggest movers in the category. Healthy alternatives, such as chips made with vegetables, are enjoying considerable growth and revitalizing the category as a whole, according to Packaged Facts' report, Snack Food Nutrition Trends: Pulses, Vegetables and Grains in Salty Snacks and Crackers.

Tobacco Embraces 'Natural'

Natural American Spirits cigarettes

It’s working in other categories in the c-store. Why not in tobacco, too?

Products positioned as “natural” is an attractive subcategory for convenience retailers to consider in the premium-tobacco space. And Illinois retailer Mark Gil is doing just that.

Natural cigarettes are a winner in his single store, he says, because they conjure up a perception of organic, Mother Earthiness—and he considers it well worth the premium price point the subcategory commands.

Equipment to Conserve Energy and Budgets

At this year’s NAFEM foodservice-equipment show in Orlando, Fla., some operators sought upgrades to their tried-and-true kitchen equipment. Others had radical ambitions. But both groups were focused on the same themes: advanced technology and energy-saving features.

Opinion: Spring Cleaning

For a while I just stood back and stared at it.

Its reedy tentacles reached up to the cold Chicago clouds. Its woody roots dug deep into the ground, under the fence, under the garage, under the cement in the alley.

The trumpet vine—aka Campsis radicans, aka trumpet creeper, aka huge pain in the a$$—was pulling my fence apart. It eased a piece of siding off my garage to wind itself around an old bike trailer inside and swallow up an old basketball pump discarded next to the wall.

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How E-Z Stop Foodmarts Is Doing More With Less

mobile technology

Donna Perkins, pricebook manager for 23-store chain E-Z Stop Foodmarts, Maryville, Tenn., is dedicated to making work easier and more efficient for all of her colleagues, from those on the store floor to corporate headquarters.

Q: What will be some of the biggest changes in the back office this year?

Cashing In on Grocery and Dairy

groceries

Patsy Varpula, pricebook manager for eight-store chain Fabulous Freddy’s, Las Vegas, knows that the economy and the weather can upset a manager’s best-laid plans.

But another, rather unlikely factor recently reshaped the chain’s approach to the general merchandise category, as more stringent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations forced Varpula to reduce her grocery and dairy product mix. She tells Convenience Store Products how it affected sales, as well as her forecast for the category in the year to come.

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Customization is driving purchases

In a struggling segment, manufacturers make moves toward the future

Products include cinnamon, peppermint and everything nice