Gummies May Be Soft, But Sales Aren’t

bummy bears

Gummies were the candy of the ’­80s—even sparking the creation of the children’s TV show “Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears,” one of the only, if not the only, type of candy to hit the small screen, according to the National Confectioners Association.

But gummies are also the candy of today. Shipments of gummy fruit snacks grew 11.1% in 2015 vs. the prior year, according to distributor data from McLane Co., Temple, Texas.

2016 Retailer Survey

second annual Convenience Store Products retailer survey

This time last year, I was in my Subaru with the crushed Cheerios and half-drunk sippy cups, family in tow, driving five hours north of my Chicago home base to my hometown in Wisconsin. I was struck by how the changing geography brought with it changing retail strategies, how the regional dynamics in Wisconsin somehow differentiated those retailers from their Chicago-based comrades.

My Answer Is ‘No’


Q: I have been running convenience stores for many years and understand the importance of cash flow and inventory. But seriously, aren’t there some items that we just have to carry because we are a convenience store? You know, part of the customer-service experience?

A: No!

That might sound harsh, but in Meghan Trainor’s song “No,” she is correct: “You need to let it go” if you want to grow and maintain a pro­ table business with a healthy cash flow.

Blog: Hot Products in the Summertime

Goose Island sample bus

I­ find products everywhere. Call it a hazard of the job; I have a knack.

I was at an outdoor music festival recently in Chicago. This particular festival attracts all ages. The music is eclectic, the people-watching fascinating and the temperature usually 100 degrees.

But this year it was balmy. It even rained a bit, calming the dust from the ­fields that usually play host to Chicago 16-inch softball games and family barbecues.

So Long, Sriracha?


Rare is the food trend that’s actually new—just ask those in Southeast Asia who have been dousing their food in Sriracha for generations. In fact, unless we begin discovering entirely new plants and animals, the latest food trends will always be found by exploring the underexposed or long-forgotten.

The latest Flavor Forecast from McCormick & Co. identifies among its big menu trends of the year familiar ingredients used in new ways, untapped ethnic ideas and better-for-you bene­fits.

Foodservice Equipment: Choosing the Best

Vollrath Co. Stoelting AutoVend System

Every year, the National Restaurant Association (­NRA) announces the 25 recipients

of its Kitchen Innovations ­(KI) Awards, which honor groundbreaking equipment and technologies that have the capacity to vastly improve foodservice operations.

“KI Award recipients exemplify the advancements from foodservice industry professionals that solve the complex challenges of day-to-day back-of-house operations,” says Lisa Ingram, president and CEO of White Castle System Inc. and NRA convention chair.

Blog: From Ear Worm to Gummy Worm

Albanese Confection

I have to admit to something: I have any one of five songs stuck in my head all the time. One is “Bunny Hop,” one is “Yakety Sax,” two others are too embarrassing to mention, and the other is this lovely song I learned at Girl Scouts camp.

“Make new friends, but keep the old …”

Technology Product Helps Retailers Tailor Promotions


People may profess their love for exotic products from distant lands, but in the end most are captivated by all things local.  

Nashville, Tenn.-based Tri Star Energy found recent success implementing a locally driven operating strategy to leverage customer loyalty at 65 Twice Daily stores. Working with Knoxville, Tenn.-based NewsBreak Media, a technology and merchandising expert, Twice Daily now operates its own TV network at the dispensers and inside the store. 

What’s Driving All That Snack Sales Growth?


Snack foods grew dollar sales 3.5% in 2015, which outpaced total retail sales of consumer packaged goods (3.2%) and total food and beverage sales growth (2.9%), according to research from SNAC International (formerly the Snack Food Association) and Chicago-based IRI.   

The diverse sizes of snacks, innovation, intriguing flavor mashups and retail/online channel efficiencies—all combined with dynamic tiered pricing inducements—led to an upward trend of dollar sales and, to an extent, units. 

Shopping Outside of the Box

convenience store drone delivery

Convenience stores always seem to be fighting for share from bigger industries with fewer stigmas and stereotypes. But as grocery sales move online and technology and related services innovate, c-stores may find themselves with distinct advantages. Here’s a look at the latest trends in online grocery and some innovations on the fringe.

More Markets

Los Angeles-based research firm IBIS World predicts $9.4 billion in revenue for online grocery in 2017, a total



Candy makers seize on popular gift-giving holiday with new product types and flavors

Report shows trending food types prove ideal for global flavors

This month’s new snacks include dried fruit and vegetables, new chip flavors