NACS Show Product Preview

Some of the first new-product announcements from the 2013 show

ATLANTA -- The NACS Show is like a trip to IKEA: If you don’t have a game plan, you may find yourself shell-shocked, walking in weary circles and burdened with big bags of loot you never intended to shoulder (lots of meat speared onto toothpicks, too).

Suppliers across the categories are preparing to bring their latest wares to the c-store audience starting this Saturday at The NACS Show in Atlanta. Convenience Store Products has been tracking the launches already announced, finding female shoppers and bold flavors among the first items trending at this year’s show. Read on for some products to watch for as you build your NACS Show game plan.

The Female Focus

Coca-Cola has rolled out a limited-time, collector’s edition can paying homage to Grammy winner Taylor Swift. Available through November, each can is adorned in handwritten style with one of the artist’s most popular sayings: “If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.”

Coke is featuring a bevvy of products at this year’s show, including Minute Maid Drops. Joining Powerade Zero Drops, Minute Maid Drops is the only liquid beverage enhancer in the U.S. made with real fruit juice, according to the company. It will roll out February 2014. Additional new products include Diet Coke Frost Cherry frozen dispensed beverage and Coca-Cola Chill Activated Cans, which are printed with thermochromatic ink that reacts to temperature by changing color.

Catering to the third of its consumers who are female, XYIENCE Xenergy is rolling out a limited-edition can featuring Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s first female champion. Her image will appear on Xenergy Cherry Lime cans, one of the brand’s best-selling flavors. The can will be available through December 31, coinciding with Rousey’s second UFC fight on December 28.

V2 Cigs is launching Vapor Couture, geared specifically at female consumers. The ultra-thin Vapor Couture e-cig features a crystal that glows with each puff, and is available in brushed platinum, deep purple and rose gold. Flavors include Rodeo Drive (American tobacco), Passion Fruit and Arctic Mint, all with 1.2% nicotine.

PepsiCo's Aquafina has launched a new line of sparkling waters and liquid water enhancers geared at parents and teens. The better-for-you options are calorie free and include flavors such as So Strawberry, World Peach and Berry On in the enhancer category, and Color Me Kiwi, Peelin’ Good (citrus) and Berry Loco on the sparkling water side.

Flavor Bombs

Suppliers continue to deliver foodservice items, snacks and beverages with bolder flavors and, in some cases, an interesting narrative within the flavor profiles. Budweiser’s Project 12, its “brewmaster innovation” program that brought Budweiser Black Crown to market, is back with three new beers named after the ZIP code where it originated. Batch 94534 (Fairfield, Calif.) is brewed with a blend of North Pacific hops for a bold lager; Batch 23185 (Williamsburg, Va.) is aged on a bed of bourbon-barrel staves and vanilla beans for a light amber lager; and Batch 43229 (Columbus, Ohio) is brewed with chocolate and caramel malts and finished on Beechwood chips for a crisp, clean amber lager. The beers will be available in a sampler pack beginning Oct. 28.

Land Mark Products’ Piccadilly Circus Pizza is rolling out a chicken bacon ranch pizza, adding to its extensive lineup of pizza varieties as well as breakfast sandwiches and wraps and more.

Diamond Foods will be featuring two new flavors of its Kettle Brand chips: Maple Bacon & Cheddar Beer. The trendy flavors join the brand’s unique roster for the c-store channel that includes New York Cheddar, Backyard Barbecue and Jalapeno. The first potato chip brand to achieve Non-GMO Project verification, it will also be offering new pack sizes at The NACS Show.

If you’re looking to increase your spicy snack offerings, TGI Fridays--the restaurant brand that crossed over to the snack aisle in 2005--is exhibiting its new Jalapeno Poppers Snack Sticks and Extreme Heat Crunchy Fries.

Even tobacco companies are working to satisfy consumer demands for big and bold flavor experiences. Altria is showcasing Marlboro Edge from Philip Morris USA, a non-menthol cigarette that extends the Marlboro Black family with a bold, smooth flavor and a cork tip.

A limited-time offering from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., Copenhagen Long Cut Black is a seasonal variety available through Jan. 6, 2014, that features a rich, dark tobacco blend.

Swisher Sweets, meanwhile, is launching a new resealable, 2-count pouch for its BLK Pipe Tobacco Tip Cigarillos, which feature the aroma of pipe tobacco through a unique black tip.

Sugar Fix

The major candy manufacturers are all highlighting new products at this year’s NACS Show. Announced just today, The Hershey Co. is launching its first new brand in 30 years: Lancaster Soft Cremes. Rolling out nationwide in Jan. 2014, the soft, rich and creamy caramels were inspired by similar candies that company founder Milton Hershey created more than 120 years ago, helping launch his reputation in the confection industry. Lancaster Soft Cremes will be available in three flavors--Caramel, Vanilla and Caramel and Vanilla and Raspberry--and distributed in food, mass, drug and c-store channels. The caramels come in an 8-ounce bag with an SRP of $3.99, and a 4-ounce bag with an SRP of $2.49. The company is also increasing attention on its Brookside brand in the c-store channel. The line features chocolate-covered superfruits (including pomegranate, acai and blueberry), packaged in 3-ounce, impulse bags for immediate consumption.

Nestlé USA is launching its new Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups this January. Each cup features a smooth peanut butter Butterfinger filling mixed with crunchy pieces, all covered in milk chocolate. They are available in a two-cup single pack, four-cup shareable king pack and 40-ounce Best of Butterfinger assortment bags with original Butterfinger and Butterfinger Crisp candies.

Mars announced a few weeks ago its NACS Show lineup, including three new flavors of its unwrapped, bite-sized treats: Twix Bites, 3 Musketeers Bites and Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites. The M&M’s Brand will be showing off M&M’s Mega Milk Chocolate, Mega Peanut and Birthday Cake varieties. And Snickers has its own brand extension with Rockin’ Nut Road, featuring marshmallow-flavored nougat covered with crunchy almonds and dark chocolate.

Continue reading Convenience Store Products’ newsletter throughout the next week for more product news from The NACS Show. And follow @cs_products on Twitter for ongoing updates from the show floor.