Alternative Fuels Expanding Market

The Fuels Institute predicts that E85 sales will increase from 196 million gallons in 2013 to between 400 million and 4.4 billion gallons in 2023. Today, between 2,685 and 3,349 retail fuel stations in the U.S. sell E85 flex fuel, according to the Fuels Institute report, “E85 A Market Performance Analysis and Forecast.” The report


ATMs Help C-Stores Cash In

The National ATM Council Inc. estimates there are upwards of 425,000 ATMs throughout the U.S. The majority are independently owned or operated as opposed to those operated by financial institutions. In fact, as banks have broadened online services, traffic to brick-and-mortar branches has softened, including visits to walk-up or drive-up ATMs. This situation has prompted

Diversity Brings Change to Beer Market

The once-popular domestic beer segment, still referred to in the industry as “popular” beer, has steadily been losing market share the last few years. In fact, “big beer’s lagging performance is hindered most by declining volume sales in the massive light beer segment (49% market share),” said Beth Bloom, food and beverage analyst for the

Healthy Drinks Spur Big Business

A vast majority of consumers consider bottled water—in all of its forms—to be healthier than soft drinks, according to newly released findings from a survey conducted online by Harris Poll of more than 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older for the International Bottled Water Association. By product type, bottled waters are classified as

Cold, Frozen Drinks Tout Destination

Very few categories within the convenience store industry say ‘destination sales’ like cold and frozen beverages. That’s because over the last five decades, the category has grown up side by side with the c-store industry—the whole time reflecting the changing tastes and cultural propensity of the American consumer. According to The NPD Group, the iced

CSDs Remain Relevant Through Innovation

Everyone says consumers are shunning carbonated soft drinks (CSD) for healthier beverage options. Yet CSD still dominates in the beverage market, controlling at least a 20% slice. Consumers’ desire for healthier beverages is spurring movment in the category. The Big Three soft drink companies—Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group—last year pledged their support

Teas, Juices Equal Refreshing Results

Ready-to-drink (RTD) bottled teas and juices have improved in quality over the last few years, which is one reason why the category has expanded greatly in the U.S. Additionally, greater numbers of organic, low- and no-sugar RTD tea and juice products have broadened consumer choices within the category. And what’s good for the consumer is

Energy Shots Dip, But Set To Rebound

Dollar sales of energy shots topped $773 billion, for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2014, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) data. That was a 4.78% drop from the same period a year ago. Also, unit sales dipped 4.58% to more than 245 million. Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for New York City-based

Energy Drinks Remain Strong

Energy Drinks (non-aseptic) saw total dollar sales of $7.19 billion, up 5.74% for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2014, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Unit sales for the same period totaled 2.97 billion, up 6%. Red Bull led the category with $2.84 billion in dollar sales, up 7.16% over last year. Monster Energy

Cigarettes Category Still In-Store Leader

Lower gasoline prices and trends in tobacco alternatives will both play a role in determining the kind of year 2015 will be for cigarettes—as will well-stocked sections and clear in-store messaging that trumpets value. Nevertheless, cigarettes remain the tobacco category’s top product performer in terms of in-store sales. C-store operators watching the cigarette market in

Cigars Might Surprise in 2015

The cigar category may just prove a pleasant surprise for convenience stores in 2015. Lower gas prices should translate into higher in-store rings and additional impulse sales. And while the lower-price tier remains the staple, many see greater opportunity for more expensive cigars. Cigar singles will continue to fuel the category throughout the year. To

Smokeless Tobacco Looking Good, For Now

Growth in smokeless tobacco this year will depend on the variety of offerings, adequate inventory and focus on roll pricing. Total smokeless tobacco sales experienced a 5% rise over the last 12 months, according to Nielsen. However, enthusiasm among retailers was tempered recently when President Obama released a proposed federal budget that included a 94-cents-per-pack

E-Cigarettes Continue to Evolve

Sales of e-cigarettes in the U.S. are set to grow 24.2% per year through 2018, according to a projection from market provider Research and Markets Ltd. Those are promising figures for many convenience retailers who continue to take stock in data from such groups as, which estimates that 2.7% of U.S. adults have tried

Vaping Products Add Juice for Retailers

Vaping products and production processes continue to develop, spurring a category full of potential for convenience stores. As the category continues to evolve with new technology, retailers can expect a big push from many smaller manufacturers to the closed systems, as the majors take over the traditional e-cigarette category. The open systems continue to experience

RYO Spells Profit Potential

With some smart retailing, assistance from suppliers and a bit of help from Capitol Hill, roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco over the past year has accounted for nearly half of total other tobacco products (OTP) sales, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Going forward, RYO should continue to be a productive part of c-store tobacco sets, led

Accessories Make Tobacco Category Complete

Cigarette and cigar lighters, as well as rolling papers, electronic cigarette accessories, ash trays, cigar cases, cutters and humidors, pipes and pipe accessories, will continue to provide add-on sales at c-stores throughout 2015. Tobacco accessories accounted for $246 million in sales last year, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) data. Sales of cigarette lighters, far

Customers Like Hispanic Food Options

Hispanic Americans are expected to make up 31% of the U.S. population by 2060, reported the U.S. Census Bureau. And, according to Forbes magazine and other media, they are expected to have $1.5 trillion in buying power this year, a 50% increase from 2010, according to Nielsen research. The NPD Group forecasts that the consumption

Chicken Sales Fly High

There’s no doubt that chicken is the nation’s No. 1 protein. According to the National Chicken Council, Americans consume 83.6 pounds of it per capita, more than anyone else in the world. In its 2014 Consumer Survey, the Council reported that 89% of consumers said they ate chicken during a two-week period. And they ate

Roller Grill Keeps Rolling Along

Despite increasing competition from made-to-order items, roller grill is still a c-store foodservice mainstay. And for good reason. In a recent Convenience Store Foodservice report by Mintel International research company, at least half of the respondents said they had and would order hot dogs or corn dogs at convenience stores. “I believe that consumers have

Pizza Rises to the Challenge

Growth has been slow but steady over the past five years in the $38.7 billion business that is the pizza category. By 2019, that number is expected to rise to $42.6 billion, according to the IBISWorld research firm. At LaCrosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip, the proprietary Cheese Mountain pizza, introduced about 10 years ago, today accounts

Coffee Outlook Is Perking Up

Last year, Americans drank an estimated 6.5 billion gallons of coffee, a modest increase in volume over the year before. An estimated 9.5% of that coffee was purchased from convenience stores, said Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for the New York-based Beverage Marketing Corp. “Modest growth” is the description Hemphill used again to project

Bakery Category Produces Fresher Gross Margins

Convenience store profits often rise higher with the right bakery program. However, figuring out the best route to profits takes planning. Some convenience stores are expanding their bakery beyond pre-packaged snack cakes through proprietary programs or just partnering with the local bakery in town. Some chains have invested significant capital in bakery programs. The total

Sandwich Sales Scale Higher

Sandwiches are big business for Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco USA convenience stores in Lawrence, Kan. In fact, they’re so big that he just opened a second standalone shop for his popular proprietary Sandbar Subs concept. Overall, sandwich sales are growing 8% every month for Zaremba at both the Zarco USA stores and standalone restaurants.

Connecting With Coffee Customers Gets Personal

While some c-stores are adding barista-staffed bars to compete in the coffee arena, most are finding simpler ways to make brew buying a more personalized experience for their customers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. With about 11,000 chain and 14,000 independent cafes in the U.S., according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), consumers

Chuckles: A Family Affair

With new locations planned for Kentucky and Indiana, third-generation C.E. Taylor Oil is positioning its Chuckles convenience store chain for the future. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When C.E. Taylor Oil Inc. was just getting started, family members who were intent on growing the business realized that while gas was the base of operations, retail