mintel

Mintel Notes Top Social Media Trends

Employees and top executives are moving front-and-center of their brands’ social media strategy. Mintel has released its latest social media trends update from social media analysts Gabi Lieberman and Lizz Martinez. They have once again singled out the top five trends in online consumer marketplace behavior this quarter, identified from high-level research into the strategies

chocolate

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.

health and beauty

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

milk splash

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.

iced tea

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

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

Energy

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

fountain4

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

carbonated

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

water

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

Beer2

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

BEER

Roadrunner Pushes Forward with Innovative Retail Programs

A growler beer program and self-serve frozen yogurt bring fun concepts to the chain’s customers in four states. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor /News & Online Innovation is the corner stone of all successful retail offerings and Roadrunner Markets is fully committed to keeping its store programs fun and exciting.Mountain Empire Oil’s Roadrunner Markets, with

employeephoto

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

chicken

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

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

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

bakery

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

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

ClydesOne

Clyde’s Market Boosts its Retail Footprint

The Georgia chain is updating its chicken program, testing a smaller format barbeque restaurant and rolling out a larger convenience store size. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor/News&Online As part of its ongoing effort to satisfy today’s on-the-go customers, Clyde’s Market with 43 convenience stores in Georgia, is applying lessons from its Rusty Pig barbeque restaurant

Bear Aggression Triggers Bull Reaction in Oil Prices

Brian L. Milne, Energy Editor, Schneider Electric The weekend invasion of Ukraine by Russia has spiked global crude oil prices, hiking the geopolitical risk premium in crude values while the Obama administration has asked European countries to cut their oil and gas contracts with Russia, and to instead source crude from Africa, the Middle East

mexicanfood

CSD’s 2014 Foodservice Study

Retailers recognize that an effective foodservice program helps position them as a destination for on-the-go consumers. But new research shows that these programs are vital for creating competitive points of differentiation in today’s hyper-competitive environment. By John Lofstock, Editor, and Joshua Tahan, Study Hall Research The U.S. foodservice industry generated an estimated $660 billion in

yogurt

Equipped for Foodservice Success

After the recession-fueled hesitancy of the last couple of years, some retailers are once again investing in new foodservice equipment to add new items, boost sales of existing ones and streamline operations. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When FriendShip Food Stores, based in Fremont, Ohio, decided to add frozen yogurt to the foodservice offerings at

food-healthy

Winning Over Foodservice Customers

Fresh ingredients, a great presentation and knowledgeable employees will help convenience store retailers grow their foodservice sales.  By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Competition is getting tougher in the foodservice arena. Convenience stores and QSRs now go after the same targeted demographic: households with incomes below $50,000, according to Bloomberg Industries, a business research organization. That

bakery

Building a Bakery Business

Research shows that breakfast sales are on the rise and that means sales can be too for retailers who have solid bakery products and programs in place. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Packaged Facts research firm estimated that restaurant breakfast sales reached $47 billion in 2013, up 5% from 2012. And the company predicted that

foodemployeeLARGE

Sidestepping Foodservice Mistakes

Mastering the basics and knowing what to expect can help you avoid a foodservice disaster. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Foodservice continues to be a shining star in convenience stores, so expanding your food options should be on the menu in 2014—if you have the traffic. Lunch and dinner solutions can be added to c-stores

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