Products on Parade

Product highlights from the 2014 Convenience Retailing University

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As the 2014 Convenience Retailing University (CRU) wraps up today, Convenience Store Products takes a look at the items that were on display in the C-Store Product Gallery.

Open Road Snacks brought its three brands to CRU. Diego’s Chips targets the Hispanic and millennial consumer (and any shopper who likes a kick to their snacks) with Red Chile and Habanero varieties. These chips do a nice job of not just delivering a kick of heat, but also allowing the flavor of the pepper to come out. The company also had on display its Rocky Mountain Popcorn line and Poplets, a new corn-nut snack that is “super-convection-baked,” not fried. Flavors include Asiago Ranch, Chile Picante and Sea Salt and Butter.

Argo Tea was at CRU for the first time showcasing its bottled teas. The company is entering the c-store industry with its ready-to-drink beverages, an offshoot of its café business. Offerings include Pomegranatea, Mojitea and Hibiscus Tea Squeeze. The SRP for the 13.5-ounce bottles is $1.99 to $2.59, what the company considers the “sweet spot” between traditional teas and the more premium, functional teas entering the market.

Prairie City Bakery highlighted its Ooey Gooey Butter Sheet Cake—a products it’s had at retail for some time, but is now offering in bulk, half-sheet cake trays. The foodservice option allows for flexible portion sizes and proprietary branding options.

Kellogg Co. has rolled its Bear Naked line out to the c-store channel. The line includes energy bars and trail mixes, the latter including Cran-Beary Almond with almonds, raisins, apples, cranberries and granola clusters. Soft-baked energy bars come in Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter.

Helping take c-store operators to the next stage of foodservice, TurboChef was showing off a handful of new items, with hints of yet another one on the horizon later this spring. The Panini takes high-speed cooking technology and applies it to an oven that will toast a sandwich--complete with grill marks--without the need for a hood and in the same footprint as a panini grill. Actually, anything can be cooked in the Panini, which is also considerably faster than a panini grill. TurboChef also had its newest conveyor oven on display, a ventless option that provides the same technology as the company’s existing conveyors, but in a smaller footprint. It makes a 16-inch pizza in two and half minutes.  Finally, the TurboChef Encore is the latest version of the Tornado--20% faster and with a 30% reduction in energy use.

Barry’s Gourmet Brownies was highlighting a hermetically sealed cup with six brownies that can be heated in the microwave for 10 seconds for a warm treat. The brownies have a 60-day ambient shelf life and an SRP of $1.99 to $2.49.

Insight Beverages had its new Hydralive Coolers available to sample, which contain natural energy from green coffee extract and vitamins B and C. It’s available in a dispensed format as well as packaged stick packs. Several flavors include Hibiscus Berry, Citrus Melon, Blueberry Lemonade, Apricot Vanilla, Prickly Pear and Apple Melon.

McCain Foods USA has a new line of snacks inspired by its portfolio of appetizers and sides for the restaurant industry. The lineup includes Mini Mozzarella Sticks, Cheddar Jalapeno Bites, Onion Rings, Santa Fe Chicken Egg Rolls and Double Chocolate Brownie Bites.

Other products on display included a new jalapeno variety in Oberto Brands’ Bacon Jerky line, a chicken soft taco in Ruiz Food Products’ El Monterey Butcher Wrapped line, Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Nuts from Kraft Foods Group, and MOJO Fruit and Nut and MOJO Dark Chocolate Varieties from Clif Bar & Co.

Click here to view even more products from CRU’s C-Store Product Gallery.