New Products Drive Chocolate Sales

Despite a host of new product introductions and package sizes, chocolate SKUs are holding strong at convenience stores. At Zarco 66, different product configurations and package types and sizes of long-time favorite brands are keeping the category fresh and appealing to a wide range of consumers, said Scott Zaremba, owner of the 10-store Kansas chain.

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Capitalizing on Health and Beauty Trends

With healthcare capturing so many headlines these days, the health and beauty category (HBC) has taken on added importance in the c-store set. Fueling much of the growth: smaller package sizes that save shoppers money and stimulate impulse sales. The category—from shampoos and skin creams to cough drops and cold remedies—has always had its rightful

Mixed Results for the Dairy Business

With dairy consumption in America trending downward, c-store operators will need to sharpen their merchandising and promotional skills, and provide consumers with alternatives, to keep business brisk. “I can tell you that while the ice cream business is solid, the overall dairy business is declining rapidly,” said Richard Reilly, president of family-run Reilly’s Dairy Inc.

Tea Sales Remain Solid While Packaged Juice Falters

While innovation is a valued component to every category, the juices and teas segment of packaged beverages seems to be particularly prone to new twists and creative concepts. Largely in response to consumers looking for more functionality and added value in their libations, drink manufacturers have been rolling out juices and teas infused with vitamins,

Energy Shots Growth Slows, But Remains Steady

Selling energy shots is highly advantageous. The small package size means retailers can place them in multiple locations without taking away from other items. Because most people drink them warm, they don’t need to take valuable cooler space. And the standard $2.99 price gives them a nice ring. Retailers report brisk sales to everyone from

Big Brands Boost Energy Drinks Success

Soft drink sales might be flat, but thanks to energy drinks, the convenience store cold vault is as popular as ever. The energy drinks category saw dollar sales in convenience stores of $6.67 billion for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 1, 2013, according to IRI Convenience All Scan data. Dollar sales were up 5.94% from

Innovation Drives Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages

More than ever, consumers are looking for variety, convenience, speedy service and value when it comes to purchasing cold and frozen dispensed beverages, said Tandy Arrant, business manager for Lubbock, Texas-based United Express convenience stores.   Over the past year, Arrant said, the stores have experienced double-digit sales increases in this category, and he expects

Despite Popularity, Carbonated Soft Drinks Facing Challenges

Not very long ago, carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) were the rage of a young Baby Boomer generation. Coke and Pepsi ruled the cold door, and life was good for convenience store retailers. But that day has passed, as the category has been flat—or even in decline—for several years, forcing retailers to reset coolers to capitalize

Bottled Water, Sports Drinks Remain Strong

Make no mistake—the move away from carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) to what consumers perceive as healthier beverage options is for real. This includes a shift from diet CSDs as well as full-caloried offerings. And one of the major beneficiaries of this move has been the bottled water category, including flavored and enhanced offerings. According to

Craft, Imports Propel Beer

Beer has long been a staple of convenience stores—a destination stop for adult consumers looking to pick up a 6- or 12-pack on the go. But over the years, consumer trends have changed exactly what they’re picking up. The first change came in the 1970s and early ‘80s, when the Baby Boomer generation matured, and

The 2014 Category Management Outlook

With the industry facing heightened competition and shrinking margins, CSD offers retail insights, expert analysis and emerging trends from more than 30 key in-store categories. A CSD Staff Report While other retail channels have endured sluggish sales and numerous other customer challenges over the past three years, the convenience store and petroleum industry hasn’t missed

C-Stores Bullish on Chicken

When Larry Miller started in the c-store business in the 1960s, he cut up chicken for the store’s meat market section. But most stores were skittish when it came to prepared products. Handling raw chicken and properly cooking presented minefields. No longer. “The supply chain is safer and the equipment makes it easier to prepare,”

Roller Grill Trends Toward Innovation, Made to Order

In 2014, convenience stores are finding they can up their foodservice profile with specialty sausages, a range of breakfast options and different bun types, such as biscuits. “Roller grill offerings have really evolved and expanded in recent years. While hot dogs remain a staple, c-store operators are offering a broader range of items that meet

Sandwiches Made Their Way

In 2014, sandwiches continue to be in high demand among convenience store consumers. Whole grain breads—as well as flatbreads, wraps and all kinds of artisan breads—and specialty cheeses and meats are among options grabbing customer attention. Rutter’s Farm Stores, with 59 locations in York, Pa., has seen success with a number of sandwich items. “Grilled

Building the Bakery Business

Over the past 12 months, sales of packaged sweet baked snacks and desserts came close to the $13 billion mark, according to a report released by market research publisher Packaged Facts. The report, entitled “Packaged Sweet Baked Snacks and Desserts: U.S. Market Trends,” projects that sales will exceed $14 billion in 2017. That growth in

Pizza Fans Split Over Indulgent And Healthier Pies

Still one of the most popular foodservice destinations, pizza is trending in two directions: indulgent and better for you, noted Donna Hood, Crecca, senior director of Technomic. “On the indulgent side, we see items such as the recently-introduced bacon cheeseburger pizza or Buffalo-style pizza. But on the better-for-you side, we’re also seeing pizza chains rolling

E-Cigarettes Expanding At Retail

While FDA regulations remain to be seen, e-cigarette companies are self regulating, and technology continues to evolve. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In a conference call yesterday with Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage and tobacco analyst at Wells Fargo securities, and Andries  Verleur, co-founder at VMR Products, parent company of V2 Cigs, discussed trends

Sweets And Snacks Expo Showcases 2013 Trends

Comfort, spice and little bites dominate candy and snack category trends. The 2013 Sweets and Snacks Expo, presented by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) took place in Chicago at McCormick Place May 21-23. The show brought together more than 15,000 manufacturers, buyers and industry leaders from 70 countries. More than 600 companies debuted treats, and

NACS SOI Summit Reveals Industry Performance, Opportunities

A strong 2012 brought $700.3 billion in sales, but opportunities exist to grow foodservice, and drive customer spending on trips in 2013. The NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit took place in Chicago on April 10-11, giving retailers an overview of the economy, industry statistics, and the challenges that are just ahead. Glenn Plumby,

Tracking the Trends in 2013

Despite a weakened economy, the convenience store industry posted healthy sales gains in key in-store categories, such as foodservice, snacks, beverages and tobacco products, raising optimism for an even stronger 2013. For all the concerns about reduced consumer spending over the past 15 months, convenience stores experienced another strong year in 2012. Core categories, such

Meeting the Needs of Today’s C-Store Customers

CSD‘s 2012 Category Management Outlook offers trends and analysis from more than 25 key in-store categories. By John Lofstock and Erin Rigik. Tough economic times and stiff competition across the supply chain are making it critical for convenience store operators to have a solid understanding of their customers, particularly their high-frequency, high-value shoppers. Armed with

Raising the Bar on Breakfast Sales

The first sports and energy bars in the U.S. were marketed primarily to serious athletes, through alternative channels such as health food stores.                      These bars did not have wide appeal or distribution as recently as 1990, but over the past two decades these products have since gained mass appeal and distribution after greatly improving flavor

Healthy Trends Extending to the Cold Vault

New products and core beverages will always drive cold vault sales. So when is the right time—and how often does that right time come—for category managers to reset them? “We do cold vault resets twice a year, which means we’re making fairly minor adjustments all the time,” said Richard Ginther, category manager for Kum &

Car Wash Upgrades on Deck for 2012

Convenience store and petroleum retailers with car washes have faced a challenging 3-4 years in the car wash industry, and as a result have mostly refrained from new development of car wash sites. “We know from our equipment sales reports that there have been low levels of investment, particularly at petroleum c-store car wash sites,”

Product Innovation & Marketing Fuel Dispensed Beverages

The cold frozen dispensed category is undergoing some major changes these days with many c-stores adding milkshakes and even energy slushees to their offerings. The additions continue to make the cold and frozen dispensed category one of the hottest in the convenience store industry. Digging down into the category even more, the fourth annual CSD/Balvor

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