Archives for 2013

Potato Chips Continue Reign Over Salty Snacks

Even with the health and wellness trend continuing, consumers are still reaching for bags of potato chips in large numbers, which is good news for c-store retailers. Technomic, in its March Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend report noted that consumers are snacking significantly more now compared to 2010, with 48% of consumers polled saying they’re now

Candy is Dandy on C-Store Shelves

Candy sales have remained sweet over the past several quarters. Candy, gum and mints contribute $32 billion annually to the U.S. economy, with the convenience channel controlling 21% of the market, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) reported. “The incidence of candy and gum purchases in convenience stores was up 4% in the fourth quarter of

Gum and Mints: Still a Sticky Category

The sputtering economy has taken a bite out of gum and mints, a category that has seen steady declines since 2010. As of 2012, gum and mints remained a $4.3 billion business, but sales are expected to drop by 1.7% through 2017, according to Mintel, a global consumer research firm. Some industry observers, such as

Taking Back the RYO Business

It has been a wild 12 months for the roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco segment, but the good news for convenience store retailers is that legislation passed in 2012 will actually help the industry hold onto to its RYO market share. In the wake of the 2009 shift in tax rates, pipe tobacco is taxed at a

Wholesale Costs Set to Reverse March’s Lower Trend in Retail Prices

By Brian L. Milne, Energy Editor, Schneider Electric After four consecutive weeks with a decline, and 23 out of 29 days in which retail gasoline prices have fallen, higher wholesale costs could reverse the recent trend observed in March and push prices at the pump higher in early April. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported

Website Fights Unfair Swipe Fee Settlement

Merchants Object! Launches Website so merchants who take credit card payments can voice their side. Everyone who accepts credit cards—from small store owners to neighborhood restaurants—now has a way to speak out about an unfair deal that helps big banks and the credit card companies. Merchants Object! ( is a new nationwide campaign to inform

Kum & Go Signs Deal With PUGS Inc.

PUGS Sunglasses headed to more than 400 Kum & Go locations. Kum & Go and PUGS Inc. have agreed to bring PUGS branded sunglasses to more than 400 Kum & Go convenience stores in 11 states. PUGS began installing their new sunglass racks and product line in Kum & Go stores in February. “PUGS delivers

Miller High Life Returns As Official Beer of Bowling

Multi-tiered sponsorship contract includes specialized point of sale merchandise. Strike Ten Entertainment (STE), the bowling industry’s marketing and sponsorship division, has struck up a partnership with Miller High Life, a cornerstone of the MillerCoors portfolio, to become the “Official Beer of Bowling.” Strike Ten Entertainment and Miller High Life have inked a new two-year agreement

The 2013 Convenience Foodservice Outlook

Thanks to an increasingly busy lifestyle, today’s c-store customers regard food prepared away from home as a necessity, and the industry’s top-quartile retailers have benefited handsomely from meeting the growing demand for fresh foods. By David Bishop, Managing Partner, Balvor LLC Convenience store retailers are battling even harder for their share of the retail foodservice

Sports Drinks Fuel Beverage Sales

Sports drinks manufacturers are keeping pace with consumers who are seeking added benefits in their beverages. Gatorade enhanced its brand lineup—not just with new packaging—but blends that promote specific health benefits. Their efforts are paying off with increased sales. According to SymphonyIRI, sales of single-serve sports drinks in convenience stores jumped a healthy 8.85% to

Strong Year for Juices and Teas

Customer demand for cold beverages is heating up and few categories grew as much in 2012 as juices and teas. Sales of canned and bottled teas surged 8.52% to $1.22 billion for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 31, 2012, according to SymphonyIRI. AriZona and Lipton were the two most popular brands in convenience stores, accounting

Opportunities Abound in Beer

While domestic beer brands account for the bulk of c-stores sales in alcoholic beverages, smart and aggressive convenience store operators who haven’t already done so will begin to put more mental energy and elbow grease behind building their craft beer business. Many will face the same stigma they had to overcome with food: too many

EPA Proposes Cleaner Fuels and Cars Standard

By 2030, EPA estimates that the proposed cleaner fuels and cars program will prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths. Based on extensive input from auto manufactures, refiners, and states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed “sensible” standards for cars and gasoline that aims to significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths

Tesco Seeks Fresh & Easy Exit Plan

Tesco’s struggling Fresh & Easy chain, which opened in 2007 and has failed to make a profit, appears to be weighing its exit options, the UK Telegraph reported. The chain reportedly has held talks with rivals Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Tesco Chief Executive Philip Clarke in December called for a strategic review of Fresh &

IDDBA Sets FSCRP Scholarship Deadline

The next application deadline for the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) Food Safety Certification Reimbursement Program is Aug. 1, 2013, for training completed May 1 – June 30. The IDDBA reimburses a portion of expenses to IDDBA-member retailer companies that certify dairy, deli, and bakery department-level managers and associates in food safety. Since the program began

NACS Show Retailer Registration Opens

Exhibition space for the NACS Show is almost completely sold out, which is unprecedented so far in advance of the event. Retailer registration and housing is now open for the NACS Show, set for Oct. 12-15 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The NACS Show is ranked as one of the 50 largest

Miller Lite Offers Ultimate “Internship”

Group of legal-drinking-aged friends to win cross country adventure. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are taking on a dream internship this summer. They’re not the only ones. Miller Lite is partnering with 20th Century Fox’s summer comedy movie “The Internship,” which arrives in theaters everywhere June 7 and stars Vaughn and Wilson. Inspired by the

Energy Drink Sales Still Buzzing Along

During the latest 52 weeks ended Jan. 27, 2013, dollar sales for energy drinks increased 13% and volume sales grew 23.9%, said Jamil Satchu,  a partner with Symphony Consulting, part of the SymphonyIRI Group.  Not surprisingly, he noted, Red Bull and Monster were the biggest drivers of growth in this category. Despite widely publicized health

Shots Still Deliver Energetic Sales

Between 2008 and 2012, the energy shots category took off like a rocket, experiencing 168% growth over that period, said a recent report from Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts research company. But, as with most products, growth has begun to slow down as the category has been maturing.  Proof of that maturation can be seen in

New SKUs Challenge Packaged Carbonated Beverages

Today’s huge selection of drink choices is taking a toll on the sale of packaged carbonated beverages. In 2007, packaged carbonated drinks made up 25.4% of the U.S. beverage segment, but that figure dropped to 22.1% by 2012, according to Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC). “The category has been soft for a number of years, and

Cold, Frozen Beverage Sales Heating Up

Frozen and cold dispensed beverages are in demand, with operators appealing to new audiences with product innovation. “The No. 1 reason that consumers go to a convenience store for foodservice is for the dispensed beverages. This is the primary draw,” said Tim Powell, director of c-store programs at Technomic. In 2012, cold dispensed beverages sales

Demand for Coffee Soars

Sales of coffee dominate sales of hot beverages, making up 83.3% of the total hot beverage market in the U.S. Coffee consumption is expected to increase through 2015 at an average annual rate of 2.7%, while tea consumption is expected to increase through 2015 at an average annual rate of 3.1%, according to the National

Snacking Opportunities Boost Bakery

Packaged bakery sales jumped nearly 6% in 2012, according to SymphonyIRI, as time-pressed customers gravitated toward lower-cost indulgences for breakfast and throughout the day. For the 52 weeks ended Dec. 31, 2012, packaged bakery sales in U.S. convenience stores reached $705 million. Overall unit sales increased 1.98% to 539.54 million. “People still talk skinny, but

Fresh Focus on Sandwiches

As the grab-and-go trend continues, convenience stores looking to cater to hungry customers are increasingly turning to both made-to-order and direct store delivery sandwich programs.  In 2013, Technomic expects to see better quality deli and grab-and-go sandwich items at c-stores, as customers continue to grow more food and ingredient conscious.   “Meats, condiments, cheeses and

Reviving The Roller Grill

Look for portability and value to drive the roller grill category in 2013. Hot dog sales were up 1.5% from 2008-2012 and are expected to be up 3% from 2012-2015, according to Technomic. Operators are improving hold times and attracting customers with new varieties. “Consumers choose the roller grill many times because it is quick