Racetrac Sweetens Set With Private Label

The company's senior category manager for confection talks changing seasons and private label

Hilary Freeman, senior category manager for confection for RaceTrac, Atlanta, develops the candy set for the retailer’s 430 stores by studying the category across all channels. This strategy has helped the company stay ahead of the trends, even allowing it to create its own private-label confection brand.

Q: How do you approach new confection products?

A: RaceTrac strives to carry an innovative, progressive assortment of confection products. We don’t wait to see how certain products perform at other retailers, but instead review the entire retail landscape (not just c-stores) when determining whether or not to bring in an item. We evaluate a variety of variables, including whether a product is a line extension or a completely new innovation, its packaging, its SRP and its value for amount of product.

Q: What was your best new candy product intro for 2016?

A: We had quite a few strong, innovative items that performed well for us in 2016, primarily in the chocolate category. RaceTrac also launched its own private-label candy line in 2016, which was very exciting for us. Our new brand of candy, called Crazy  Goodness, consists of peg candy that includes gummy bears, gummy worms, peppermints and neon sour worms, and premium candy that includes chocolate pretzel balls, chocolate-covered blueberries, chocolate raisins, chocolate almonds, chocolate-covered peanuts and chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Q: What’s your fastest-growing subsegment in confection?

A: While the confection category remains an important part of [our] offerings, we and many others across the industry have seen consistent performance instead of fast growth.

Q: How do you approach seasonal confection?

A: At RaceTrac, you’ll see an endcap with extensive signage dedicated to bringing attention to our seasonal offers. Seasonal moments in time, like the winter holidays, are a huge opportunity for convenience; we will continue to focus on the “heavy hitter” seasonal SKUs in the c-store space during those times, while also pulsing in seasonal offerings from new vendors and other innovative seasonal products.