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NEW INSIGHTS ON HEALTHY EATING AT C-STORES

FORECAST STUDY 2020

C-store retailers and suppliers are a bit less enthusiastic about business prospects this year.

JANUARY 2020 CSNEWS.COM


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VIEWPOINT

Five Resolutions for the Convenience Store Retailer From technology initiatives to people programs, here are a few ideas to consider for 2020 Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet?

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

I don’t normally make a lot of resolutions. In fact, by the time you’re reading this, I’m sure I’ve already broken at least two of my personal resolutions.

Resolve to stay atop the latest technological advances in retailing today. Figure out which ones will make the most difference in improving your business and, if needed, develop a plan to upgrade or replace your legacy technology to enable these advances.

3.

4. Resolve

But perhaps, some of you are better at keeping resolutions than I am. So, given the time of year, I thought I’d present five resolutions I think convenience store retailers should consider. 1. Resolve to be EMV compliant at the pumps. The 2019 Convenience Store News Technology Study found that 20 percent of retailers had yet to start the process of becoming compliant with the new card company standards at their forecourt. Along with achieving compliance, use this upgrade opportunity to introduce new services, such as at-pump promotions of in-store products to draw fuel customers into your store, or touchscreens that enable customers to order food and drinks right at the pump. 2. Resolve to prepare for an EV future. Electric vehicle (EV) adoption may not immediately impact your business, but a smart c-store operator should be testing a range of actions. Take advantage of any available subsidies to install charging stations at some of your sites. Upgrade other aspects of your business — such as becoming a destination for foodservice or expanding your grocery selection to meet consumers’ fill-in needs — to become less dependent on gasoline sales.

to reduce friction in all aspects of your operation. Look for points of friction, from internal operations, to customer ordering and checkout, and even delivery. While only 12 percent of c-store retailers say they are currently employing “frictionless” technology in their stores, almost twice as many say they expect to implement this technology in the next 12 to 24 months, according to our research. Don’t get left behind. Resolve to deal creatively with the current labor shortage. Streamline duties so that employees can be more effective and efficient in their roles. Offer performance-based compensation plans and online training, and develop diverse future leaders for your organization. People are the most underappreciated asset of your brand.

5.

New Year’s resolutions are often made to be broken. However, I think it would be wise to keep a few of these resolutions in 2020.

For comments, please contact Don Longo, Editorial Director, at (201) 855-7606 or dlongo@ensembleiq.com.

EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS (2013-2019)

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Brett Atherton Bolla Management

2018 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Finalist, Best Editorial Use of Data, June 2017

2013 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Best Single Issue, October 2012

2013 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Finalist, Best Profile, August 2012

Laura Aufleger OnCue Express

2018 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Website Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2017 Business to Business, Editorial Use of Data, June 2017 2017 Eddie Awards, Folio: magazine Winner, Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, May 2017 Honorable Mention, Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, June 2016 2016 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2015 Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, August 2015 2015 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Single Article, February 2014

2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Bronze, Best Original Research, June 2015

2014 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2013 Business to Business, Retail, Single Article, February 2013

2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Silver, Best Original Research, June 2015

2013 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2012

Edward Davidson ER Davidson & Associates (7-Eleven Inc., retired) Jim Hachtel Eby-Brown Co. Chris Hartman Rutter’s Ray Johnson Speedee Mart

2015 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Silver, Best Profile (long form), February 2014

Ruth Ann Lilly GPM Investments Danielle Mattiussi Maverik Inc. Vito Maurici McLane Co. Inc. Jonathan Polonsky Plaid Pantries Inc. Greg Scriver Kwik Trip Inc. Bill Stein Core-Mark Roy Strasburger Strasburger Retail

Jack Lewis GPM Midwest

2015 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best Special Supplement, November 2014 Silver, Best Profile (long form), February 2014 2013 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Bronze, Best Editorial/Commentary, July 2012

Rick Crawford Green Valley Grocery

Joe Lewis ExtraMile Convenience Stores

2016 Trade Association Business Publications Intl. Tabbie Awards Silver, Front Cover Illustration, June 2015

J AN

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Convenience Store News

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CONTENTS JAN 20

VOLUME 56 N UMB ER 1

48 FORECAST STUDY 2020 COVER STORY

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28

FEATURES

TECHNOLOGY

COVER STORY

54 Making a List, Checking It Twice Convenience store retailers’ 2020 technology hit lists include bells and whistles and the basics.

28 Muted Optimism C-store retailers and suppliers are a bit less enthusiastic about business prospects this year.

DEPARTMENTS

RETAILER FORECAST

30 Optimism Mixed With Some Apprehension Increasing competition and the tight labor market are on retailers’ minds.

VIEWPOINT

3 Five Resolutions for the Convenience Store Retailer From technology initiatives to people programs, here are a few ideas to consider for 2020.

CATEGORY FORECAST

34 Greater Expectations C-store retailers project overall category sales will increase slightly more this year.

10 CSNews Online

SUPPLIER FORECAST

SMALL OPERATOR

44 Some Causes for Concern Coming off a positive outlook on 2019, c-store suppliers have trepidations about 2020.

24 Wearing Rose-Colored Glasses The convenience channel’s small operators are planning to implement several new initiatives to boost their bottom lines in 2020.

20 New Products

TREND FORECAST

46 The Trends to Know for 2020 Frictionless technology, private-label offerings and sustainability are among the paths c-store retailers should be exploring.

NEW HORIZONS

58 Banishing the Working Mom Guilt Blues Why it’s time to stop apologizing. STORE SPOTLIGHT

FEATURE

48 Healthy Is Here to Stay From ingredients and calories, to where it was made and how, consumers are demanding more from c-store retailers in both packaged and prepared food.

4 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

61 Giving New Meaning to Fresh Convenience QuickChek’s “Fresh to Go” design dedicates more than 50 percent of the store to fresh foods and beverages. INSIDE THE CONSUMER MIND

78 Get to Know the CBD User With the right conditions, cannabidiol products are poised to explode in 2020.


R E N W O I O P INNOV T

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CONTENTS JAN 20

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8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 (773) 992-4450 Fax: (773) 992-4455 www.csnews.com Direct Mailing Address for Convenience Store News: 11-43 Raymond Plaza West, 16th floor, Newark, NJ 07102 BRAND MANAGEMENT Vice President/Group Brand Director Paula Lashinsky (917) 446-4117 plashinsky@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Editorial Director (201) 855-7606

Don Longo dlongo@ensembleiq.com

Editor-in-Chief (201) 855-7608

Linda Lisanti llisanti@ensembleiq.com

Senior News Editor (201) 855-7618

Melissa Kress mkress@ensembleiq.com

Associate Editor (201) 855-7619

Angela Hanson ahanson@ensembleiq.com

Associate Managing Editor (201) 855-7604

INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

CATEGORY MANAGEMENT

12 Couche-Tard Sells Its Interests in CrossAmerica Partners

FOODSERVICE

Danielle Romano dromano@ensembleiq.com

Contributing Editor (303) 741-3377

Renée M. Covino reneek@aol.com

Contributing Editor (201) 280-2614

Tammy Mastroberte tmastroberte@gmail.com

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS

14 Pilot Flying J Establishes Nationwide Fueling Network

51 Supercharge Your 2020 Three big things you need to know from the latest Datassential c-store shopper research.

14 Fast Facts 16 Eye on Growth 16 In Memoriam 18 Retailer Tidbits 18 People on the Move

SNACKS

52 The Reemergence of Indulgent Snacking Seeking balance, consumers give themselves permission to feed their cravings.

Associate Brand Director & Northeast Sales Manager (508) 385-2524

Rachel McGaffigan rmcgaffigan@ensembleiq.com

Associate Brand Director & Western Sales Manager (330) 840-9557

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Associate Publisher & Midwest Sales Manager Kelly Fischer (773) 992-4464 kfischer@ensembleiq.com Account Executive & Classified Advertising Terry Kanganis (201) 855-7615 tkanganis@ensembleiq.com Classified Production Manager Mary Beth Medley (856) 809-0050 marybeth@marybethmedley.com EVENTS Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several (860) 830-8321 eseveral@ensembleiq.com AUDIENCE List Rental (847) 492-1350 ext.318

MeritDirect Elizabeth Jackson

Subscriber Services/Single-Copy Purchases Omeda (847) 564-1468 CVN@Omeda.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President, Production (877) 687-7321 Creative Director (973) 607-1320

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Advertising/Production Manager (773) 992-4418

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CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Dan McCarthy Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several

52

CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS AFFILIATIONS Premier Trade Press Exhibitor

The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.

Convenience Store News (ISSN 0194-8733; USPS 515-950) is published 12 times per year, monthly, by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rates: $125 for U.S. addresses; $190 for Canadian addresses; $275 for all other addresses. Single copies (pre-paid only): $20 in the U.S. Foreign single copy sales (pre-paid only): $85.00. Periodical postage paid at Chicago, IL 60631, and additional mailing addresses. Copyright 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Convenience Store News, PO Box 3200, Northbrook IL 60065-3200.

6 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


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1. Multiple locations in-store. One 15-box rack at each register plus at least one secondary location such as an endcap, a floor display, or next to the coffee station. These retailers have learned that if the consumer sees 5-hour ENERGY they buy it. It is one product which sells well from all four locations in your store. ®

2. Keep displays full and clean looking. Out of stocks on any flavor have a huge negative impact on sales.

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CSNEWS ONLINE

TOP VIEWED STORIES

1

Kwik Trip Partners With Wisconsin Brewery on Doughnut-Inspired Beer

2

Top Predictions for the CPG Industry in 2020

Made in partnership with Karben4 Brewing, Glazer Bean is a chocolate coffee stout that combines cold brew coffee, liquid cacao and lactose. The cold brew is steeped in the beer for a day or two, and then added back to the bright tank. A new report from Acosta, a full-service sales and marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Fla., compiles the 20 top CPG predictions for 2020, grouping them into four categories: Macro Consumer Predictions, Category/Brand Predictions, Shopping Experience Predictions, and Store Operations Predictions. Higher demand for pet products, integration of the in-store and online shopping experience, and non-traditional channel growth appear on the list.

3

Philip Morris USA Prepares to Bring IQOS to Second Lead Market

PM USA, an operating company of Altria Group Inc., is expanding IQOS to its hometown of Richmond. An IQOS store will open in the Carytown district, according to Altria Chairman and CEO Howard Willard, who noted that Altria has “a sizable employee base enrichment and deep connections with the [Richmond] community that could accelerate early adoption of IQOS.”

4

Seven Predictions About the Future of Convenience Retailing

With consumers focused on expediency, Nielsen predicts that convenience stores will grow faster than other offline channels over the next five years. However, lines will continue to blur between c-stores and other retail channels, like quick-service restaurants and small-format grocery, mass and drug stores. In addition, Nielsen notes that digital transformation and the consumer’s growing desire for frictionless retail has raised the bar for convenience retailers and their approach to technology adoption.

5

Report: Snacks Are Helping Lead the Future of Food

According to Mondelez International’s first-ever State of Snacking report, six in 10 adults worldwide said they prefer to eat many small meals throughout the day, as opposed to a few larger ones, with younger consumers especially leaning into snacks over meals as that number rises to seven in 10 among millennials.

EXPERT VIEWPOINT: The Self-Service Renaissance Fifty-five years ago, forward-thinking business owners in the fuel and convenience industry introduced self-service and revolutionized the way customers purchase fuel. With the introduction of pay-at-thepump capabilities, operators generated higher in-store revenues thanks to the improved shopping experience. Today, the industry is on the verge of a similarly transformative opportunity. This time, at the checkout inside their stores, writes Ulrich Seeman, Diebold Nixdorf’s business development lead for service stations and c-stores. By utilizing self-checkout, convenience store owners can leverage consumer trends, boost efficiency and evolve to serve today’s customer — and also the customer of tomorrow.

10 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

New Consumer Research Illustrates the Future Potential Around CBD Around 40 percent of U.S. adults aged 21 and older indicate a willingness to explore CBD under the right conditions, according to the findings of The CBD Consumer Experience study by High Yield Insights, which surveyed current, potential, former and non-users. When potential CBD users were asked what products they might consider purchasing, baked goods, chocolate, capsules, gummies, candy, beverages and snack foods topped the list. All of these items are already being sold in non-infused forms in convenience stores, making this a huge growth opportunity. For more exclusive stories, visit the Special Features section of csnews.com.

MOST VIEWED NEW PRODUCT

Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry

Just in time for the holidays, Sprite introduced a limited-time holiday variety: Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry. The new beverage combines cranberry with the perfect blend of warm spices to complement the lemon lime boldness of Sprite. Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is available in 20-ounce PET bottles, 2-liter bottles, 12-ounce cans, and six-packs of mini cans. The Coca-Cola Co. Atlanta (800) 520-2653 sprite.com


INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

Couche-Tard Sells Its Interests in CrossAmerica Partners CrossAmerica founder Joe Topper takes back ownership through investment entities sold its ownership interests in CrossAmerica Partners LP; however, the move will not affect the asset exchange pact between the two companies.

ALIMENTATION COUCHE-TARD INC.

Couche-Tard struck the deal with investment entities controlled by Joe Topper, founder of Allentown, Pa.-based CrossAmerica. Topper is a current member of the board of directors of CrossAmerica’s general partner, CrossAmerica GP LLC. The CrossAmerica interests sold consist of 100 percent of the general partner interest, 100 percent of the incentive distribution rights, and approximately 7.5 million CrossAmerica limited partner units. The transaction’s price tag was not disclosed. According to CrossAmerica, Topper will now return as chairman of the board of the company’s general partner. The transaction does not involve any capital outlay by CrossAmerica, 12 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

nor does it change the company’s capital structure. “At this time, we anticipate maintaining our current distribution policy, distribution coverage and leverage ratio targets that have been outlined over the past few quarters,” Topper said. “I am excited for the future of the partnership. In the coming weeks and months, I and the management team look forward to sharing in more detail with our unitholders our strategy and goals for CrossAmerica.” Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard acquired CrossAmerica’s general partner, CrossAmerica GP LLC, as part of its acquisition of CST Brands Inc. in July 2017. That deal also gave Couche-Tard 100 percent of the incentive distribution rights in CrossAmerica, and approximately 6.9 million CrossAmerica limited partner units. The decision to sell its entire ownership interest came after a strategic review. “The sale of our interest in CrossAmerica benefits both parties and allows each to focus on growing their core businesses,” said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard. “As we complete the remaining exchange of assets with CrossAmerica, we will continue to look for opportunities for future exchanges that create value for our shareholders and CrossAmerica’s unitholders.”


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INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

Pilot Flying J Establishes Nationwide Fueling Network The One9 Fuel Network gives professional drivers access to more than 170 locations PILOT FLYING J is

launching a nationwide fueling network designed to make it easier for smaller fleets to run their business. The One9 Fuel Network is named in honor of Channel 19, the primary CB radio channel used by professional drivers across North America. The One9 Fuel Network includes access to more than 170 locations, including Mr. Fuel, Pride and Stamart travel centers, along with designated Speedway commercial fueling lanes across the United States. The fuel marketing agreement with Speedway is an extension of Pilot Flying J’s existing relationship with the company. “One9 Fuel Network offers outstanding benefits to the industry and gives us a way to help smaller fleets and owner-operators receive the services they need to successfully run their businesses,” said Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J. “We are committed to providing fleets

and drivers with convenient access to our exceptional credit and rewards programs at a variety of travel center brands to make life on the road easier.” Members of the myRewards loyalty program can earn benefits across both the One9 and Pilot Flying J networks. Additionally, professional drivers will be able to use the Pilot Flying J app to mobile fuel and access their myRewards account at One9 locations.

FAST FACTS

2

minutes In 2019, consumer packaged goods companies launched a new product into the U.S. marketplace every two minutes. — Nielsen Global Connect

14 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

46% 12.5 $

E15 sales in the summer of 2019 were up 46 percent on a per-store basis vs. summer 2018. — Growth Energy

billion

Prepared foods, which topped $12.5 billion in sales in 2019, will continue to be a heavy-hitter for retailers in 2020. — Acosta


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INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

Eye on Growth

fee and leasehold properties to CrossAmerica Partners. In exchange, CrossAmerica will transfer its limited partner interest ownership in CST Fuel Supply LP to Couche-Tard.

Yesway closed on its acquisition of Allsup’s Convenience Stores. The deal brings Yesway’s store count to 421 stores and bolsters its presence in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. GPM Investments LLC took ownership of the Riiser convenience store chain. The purchase marks GPM’s first entry into Wisconsin. The chain comprises 63 sites carrying the RStore, Mad Max, Baltus and Jetz banners.

With 13 new convenience stores coming to Denver, Kum & Go LC is planting its brand firmly in Colorado’s capital city. Six of the Denver-area stores opened by the end of 2019, and the remaining seven will open during 2020. 7-Eleven Inc. is looking for franchisees for more than 20 sites in the Pittsburgh metro area. The stores are currently branded Sunoco APlus and were part of 7-Eleven’s acquisition of 1,100 stores from Sunoco in 2018. Toot’n Totum is hiring more than 300 individuals as the company expands in its home market of Amarillo, Texas. The convenience store operator is building five new locations in the market, including a travel center.

Couche-Tard will retain its dealer sites in California and those operated through its RDK joint venture.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. will transfer U.S. wholesale fuel supply contracts covering 387 sites and 45

Southeast Petro Distributors Inc. added the retail assets of SCV Oil LLC to its portfolio. The acquisition moves the petroleum marketer into South Carolina for the first time.

IN MEMORIAM EnsembleIQ Executive Chairman Alan Glass Passes Away The media veteran is remembered as an astute executive and loyal friend ALAN GLASS, executive chairman of EnsembleIQ, the parent company of Convenience Store News, passed away recently after a long and courageously fought battle with cancer. His family, friends, professional colleagues and the company mourn his passing.

Glass, 70, had a long and storied career spanning more than four decades in the media and information services industry. He began his career in publishing with The Wall Street Journal and went on to serve in senior management positions in multiple media and information services companies — including Thomson Transport Press, Primedia, Commonwealth Business Media, CFO Publishing and United Business Media. Throughout his 40-year career in the

16 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

information industry, Glass developed a welldeserved reputation as an astute executive, successful entrepreneur, caring mentor and loyal friend. Those who were privileged to work with him will miss his visionary perspective, insightful analysis, prodigious work ethic, unique sense of humor and, most of all, genuine friendship. CSNews extends our deepest sympathies to his family.


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12/20/19

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INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

Retailer Tidbits

Created in collaboration with 2SP Brewing Co., the three new brews are Coffee Cake Reserve Stout, Reserve Reserve, and Snowbird Reserve Vanilla Porter.

7-Eleven Inc. is expanding its delivery service to include voice ordering. With the launch of 7Voice, customers can place orders through their voice-controlled Google Home and Amazon Echo systems.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. tapped Cardtronics to own and operate ATMs in its stores throughout the continental United States. The pact covers its Circle K, Corner Store, Flash Foods and The Pantry banners.

MAPCO refreshed its store design in the Chattanooga, Tenn., market. Eight stores now boast fresh paint, new graphics, an open floor plan with seating areas, updated restrooms, and uncluttered windows.

Wawa Inc. expanded its proprietary craft beer line to include more offerings.

Wawa launched the new beers with a multi-state Brew Tour.

Sheetz Inc. partnered with Beyond Meat to become the first continental U.S. convenience store chain to introduce the Beyond Burger. The plant-based burger is available at all 587 Sheetz stores.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE C-store Retailers Close Out 2019 With Key Executive Moves TravelCenters of America, Kum & Go and more make personnel changes in the fourth quarter TRAVELCENTERS OF AMERICA INC. moved

into 2020 with new leadership. The Westlake, Ohio-based company appointed Jonathan M. Pertchik as CEO and managing director, succeeding Andrew J. Rebholz, who is retiring. Rebholz will continue to advise the company through June 30. Kum & Go LC has a new chief operating officer in Reed Rainey, who will lead the development of short- and longterm strategic operations initiatives to achieve the company’s purpose to “Make Days Better” for its customers and associates. Prior to joining Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go, Rainey’s most recent role was with Domino’s Pizza Corp., where he served as vice president of international operations leading the Americas region.

18 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

Also in Iowa, Ankeny-based Casey’s General Stores Inc. named Tom Brennan as chief merchandising officer. He now leads development and implementation of the convenience store chain’s overall merchandising and prepared foods strategy. Brennan’s previous role was chief operating officer at CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with 7-Eleven Inc. Richmond, Va.-based GPM Investments LLC also made a key personnel change toward the end of 2019, promoting Ruth Ann Lilly to vice president of marketing and merchandising. She now leads the category management function for all categories in the store with the exception of foodservice, fresh food, fountain drinks and coffee.


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1. AHA Sparkling Water AHA Sparkling Water will mark the first new major brand launch for Coca-Cola North America in a decade, and will replace Dasani Sparkling at retail beginning in March 2020. AHA pairs appealing fruit flavors with trending but less expected ones. Eight varieties will be available: Lime + Watermelon, Strawberry + Cucumber, Citrus + Green Tea, Black Cherry + Coffee, Orange + Grapefruit, Apple + Ginger, Blueberry + Pomegranate, and Peach + Honey. The calorie-free and sodium-free sparkling waters will hit stores in 16-ounce individual cans and multi-packs of 12-ounce cans. The Coca-Cola Co. Atlanta (800) 520-2653 coca-colacompany.com

2. Jif Power Ups Jif Power Ups is a new brand of peanut-first, portable, on-the-go snacks available in two varieties: Chewy Granola Bars and Stacked Granola Bars. The chewy bars come in Creamy Peanut Butter and Chocolate flavors, while the stacked bars come in Super S’Mores and Epic Chocolate flavors. The 1.3-ounce individual Jif Power Ups bars are sold in 15-count boxes. Smucker’s Away From Home Orrville, Ohio smuckerawayfromhome.com

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4. Sugar Bowl Bakery Dispenser Boxes

f’real foods is rolling out new products, a packaging redesign and incremental marketing support in the first quarter of 2020. The relaunch will leverage three emerging trends: no/ low sugar, protein, and plant-based alternatives. The brand is adding a new line of protein shakes that boast 15-plus grams of plant-based protein and low added sugar. They will be available in three varieties: Cold Brew, Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and Salted Caramel. Newly reformulated smoothies are also replacing the brand’s existing smoothies. Available in three flavors — Strawberry Banana, Mango, and Acai Berry — the new smoothies are plant-based, made with real fruit, and have fewer calories and less added sugar.

Created to bring higher quality products to the convenience store consumer and help retailers improve sales, Sugar Bowl Bakery’s new dispenser boxes feature an open tray display packed with individually wrapped treats. The boxes are available with madeleines, brownie bites or duet bites. Each box includes 12 madeleines or 16 brownie bites or duet bites. The suggested retail price is 59 cent per cookie or $6.99 for a whole box. Sugar Bowl Bakery Hayward, Calif. sugarbowlbakery.com

f’real foods LLC Emeryville, Calif. freal.com

5. Disney’s Frozen 2 Character Novelty Items CandyRific is offering a line of novelty items featuring characters from Disney’s “Frozen 2.” The line includes fans, light and sound wands, fanimation fans, gummy boxes, and new snow globe packaging. The fans and light and sound wands come shipped as six 12-count displays per case; the fanimation fans are shipped in four 12-count displays per case; and the gummy boxes are shipped as 24 die-cut character-shaped boxes per case. CandyRific Louisville, Ky. (502) 893-3626 candyrific.com

5 20 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


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8. Coca-Cola Energy 9. Country Archer Mini Beef Sticks Coca-Cola Energy is an

Swisher Sweets Silver cigarillos offer everything customers love about Swisher Sweets, but without the sweet, according to the maker. The product delivers a smooth, rich taste created by master tobacco blenders. Available for shipment to stores nationwide, Swisher Sweets Silver come in a resealable two-count pouch with the “Sealed Fresh” guarantee, and are offered in “2 for 99¢”, “Save on 2”, “2 for $1.29” and “2 for $1.49” price options.

Loacker’s Duality Chocolate Bar is two-sided for the ultimate taste experience. It features dual layers of chocolate — white caramel and 38 percent milk cocoa — melted over wafer crispies. The bar mixes the flavor profiles of chocolate, hazelnut and caramel with Loacker’s premium wafers. The product contains no preservatives or added colors or flavors. The suggested retail price is $1.50 to $1.99 per bar. Loacker USA New York loackerusa.com

energy drink that combines the energy consumers want with the Coca-Cola taste they love, according to the maker. Packaged in 12-ounce cans, CocaCola Energy contains 114 milligrams of caffeine, guarana extracts, and B vitamins. The product arrives on shelves nationwide in January 2020 in four varieties: Coca-Cola Energy, Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Energy Cherry, and Coca-Cola Energy Cherry Zero Sugar.

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Country Archer Jerky Co. introduces two meat stick innovations: an on-the-go three-pack of mini beef sticks, and an eight-pack of individually wrapped mini beef sticks in a bag for bulk purchase. Both options are ideal snacking solutions for busy, modern consumers craving convenience and real, premium ingredients, according to the company. The sticks are free of nitrites, MSG, gluten, antibiotics and added hormones. Each stick has five grams of protein, zero grams of sugar and just 50 calories. Country Archer Jerky Co. San Bernardino, Calif. countryarcher.com

10. Irisa CBD Infused Sparkling Water Irisa CBD infused sparkling water comes in four botanical blends designed to support four unique states of womanhood: Sun for energy, Moon for relaxation, Earth for balance, and Stars for passion. The corresponding flavors are Peach Ginger (sun), Berry Lavender (moon), Mango Citrus (earth) and Acai Basil (stars). Each 12-ounce can of Irisa contains 25 milligrams of CBD. The suggested retail price per can is $5.49. Docklight Brands Seattle irisacbd.com

22 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

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SMALL OPERATOR

Wearing Rose-Colored Glasses The convenience channel’s small operators are planning to implement several new initiatives to boost their bottom lines in 2020 By Danielle Romano with a glass-half-empty headspace, the convenience store industry’s small operators (those operating 10 stores or less) appear to be wearing rose-colored glasses as they look to 2020. Despite their trepidations about industry consolidation and the continued expansion of already-large chains, the small operators surveyed for the 2020 Convenience Store News Forecast Study are optimistic overall about their business prospects.

AFTER HEADING INTO 2019

More than three-quarters (77.3 percent) view the economy in a positive light, which is an uptick from 71.9 percent in 2019. Their outlook is also more favorable than that of c-store chain operators (11 stores or more), where 66.7 percent report a sunny disposition on the economy. What’s more, only 4.5 percent of small operators hold a negative economic outlook. When asked about their respective businesses, a higher percentage of small operators this year vs. last year predict their sales will increase year over year — 74.2 percent vs. 69.2 percent in 2019. A little more than 16 percent believe their sales will decrease in 2020, while just shy of 10 percent predict their sales will stay the same. Asked to rate their optimism about their business on a scale of one to five — where 1 represents “Terrible, wake me up when it’s over” and 5 represents “It’s going to be our best year ever!” — the majority of small operators (65 percent) chose a rating of 4 or 5. Perhaps the best indicator of their positive feelings about the coming year, though, is the fact that 52.6 percent of small operators say they plan to increase their store count this year. That’s a more than 20-point increase over last year’s 31.8 percent. Just about half of those who plan to expand (46.2 percent) indicate they will grow by way of both acquisitions and organic growth, while 30.7 percent will focus solely on the prior, and 23.1 percent will focus solely on the latter. Furthermore, no small operators are anticipating a decrease in store count, and 47.4 percent said their store count will remain the same. But who’s to say what 2020 will bring?

Destination Drivers Approximately 70 percent of this year’s small operator respondents expect their foot traffic will increase, while only 10 percent think it will decrease. The other 20 percent are neutral.

24 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

How does your company view the overall conditions for the U.S. economy in 2020? 77.3% Positive

4.5% Negative 18.2% Neutral

On a scale of 1 to 5, how optimistic do you feel about your business in 2020? 0% 0% 35% 40% 25% 1 Terrible, wake me when it’s over

2

3

4

Do you expect your 2020 average sales & profits per store to: SALES

It’s going to be our best year ever!

5

NET CHANGE 3.3%

4.9%

PROFITS

74.2%

16.1%

61.3%

Increase

9.7%

22.6%

Decrease

16.1%

Stay the Same

Which of the following will have the biggest impact on your sales & profitability in 2020? RANK Motor fuel prices

1

Labor turnover & hiring

2

Tobacco & e-cigarette regulation

3

Brick-and-mortar competition

4

Demographic changes

5

Healthy eating trends

6

Emerging technologies

7

E-commerce competition

8

Mobile commerce/marketing

9

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study


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SMALL OPERATOR

Which of the following “enhanced convenience” services do you currently or plan to offer? CURRENTLY OFFER

Which of the following do you consider the biggest cross-channel competitive threats?

PLAN TO ADD IN 2020

45.5%

Mobile payment at pump

22.7%

Mobile payment at traditional in-store checkout

40.9%

Click-and-collect

27.7%

4.5%

22.7%

40.9%

Delivery Drive-thru Frictionless checkout via mobile app

13.6% 9.1%

18.2%

13.6%

36.4%

At-pump ordering for in-store items

31.8%

4.5% 4.5%

How will your store count change in 2020? We plan to increase our total store count

52.6%

We plan to decrease our total store count

0.0%

Our store count will remain the same

47.4%

If you plan to increase your store count, how will that be accomplished?

46.2% Both

23.1% Organic growth

In 2020, what do you expect will happen to in-store foot traffic at your store(s)? 70.0% In-store foot traffic will increase 10.0% In-store foot traffic will decrease 20.0% In-store foot traffic will stay the same Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study 26 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

47.4%

Grocery stores

36.8%

Home delivery services

31.6%

Order online/pickup in-store services

21.1%

Mass merchandise stores (i.e., Walmart, Target)

15.8%

Amazon Go stores

15.8%

Drugstores

10.5%

Quick-service restaurants

5.3%

Fast-casual restaurants

0.0%

27.3%

Frictionless checkout via in-store kiosk

30.7% Acquisitions

Dollar stores

To make their stores more attractive to consumers, small operators are keeping pace with the larger c-store chains when it comes to offering “enhanced convenience” services. Nearly half of small operators (45.5 percent) currently offer mobile payment at the pump, with just about a quarter (22.7 percent) planning to add the service this year. Forty-one percent currently offer mobile payment at the in-store checkout, with 18.2 percent saying this feature will be added in 2020. Tapping into emerging retail technologies is among small operators’ planned initiatives for the new year. Forty-one percent say they will add delivery; 36.4 percent plan to add frictionless checkout via in-store kiosks; 30 percent are eyeing the addition of a drivethru; and 31.8 percent are looking to implement at-pump ordering for in-store items. Other major initiatives cited by small operators in this year’s study include completing store remodels to deliver consistent branding, in addition to putting an emphasis on forecourt cleanliness and appearance. This includes new fuel dispensers and updates to comply with EMV mandates, one small operator noted. Other equipment upgrades are also high on the list, such as replacing current point-of-sale systems and adopting new technology advancements, like the rollout of a mobile app and initiating mobile ordering capabilities.

Keeping an Eye Out Despite their largely sunny dispositions regarding the year ahead, small operators do have some trepidations. Their top five highest-ranked concerns are motor fuel prices, labor turnover and hiring, tobacco and e-cigarette regulation, brick-and-mortar competition, and demographic changes. This is slightly different than 2019 when the biggest concerns centered on growth in alternative fuel use, investment requirements at the forecourt, and interest rates. One concern this year that both small operators and the larger chains have in common is that they anticipate more cross-channel competition. Interestingly, Amazon Go stores, whose frictionless concept rocked the c-store space, are viewed as less of a threat by small operators (15.8 percent) than by larger chains (34.6 percent). CSN


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COVER STORY

FORECAST STUDY 2020 MUTED OPTIMISM

C-store retailers and suppliers are a bit less enthusiastic about business prospects this year A Convenience Store News Staff Report BOTH CONVENIENCE store

retailers and industry suppliers remain mostly upbeat about business prospects in 2020, although they appear a bit less enthusiastic about the coming year than they did last year at this time. According to the 2020 Convenience Store News Forecast Study, more than two-thirds of c-store retailers and nearly three-quarters of suppliers/wholesalers are optimistic about their companies’

FORECAST 2020 SNAPSHOT DOLLAR SALES

UNIT VOLUME

Prepared Food

+5.7%

+4.6%

Packaged Beverages

+3.7%

+3.2%

Alternative Snacks

+3.1%

+2.5%

General Merchandise

+2.8%

+2.4%

Salty Snacks

+2.6%

+2.1%

Motor Fuels

+2.5%

+1.8%

Beer/Malt Beverages

+2.4%

+2.0%

Dispensed Beverages

+2.4%

+2.1%

Other Tobacco Products

+2.3%

+1.8%

Candy

+2.2%

+1.9%

Edible Grocery

+1.6%

+1.8%

Cigarettes

+1.3%

+1.0%

TOTAL STORE

+3.8%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study 28 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

business prospects in the year ahead. While those numbers are high, they represent a slightly more sober view compared to the previous year. A year ago, 25 percent of the retailers surveyed said 2019 would be “their best year ever.” This year, only 14 percent of retailers said the same about 2020 when they were asked to choose a rating on a scale of one to five, with 1 signifying that 2020 would be “Terrible, wake me when it’s over,” and 5 denoting “It’s going to be our best year ever.” On the supplier/wholesaler side, almost 90 percent last year chose a rating of 4 or 5, compared with 74.4 percent this year. Perhaps more disturbingly, though, 1.3 percent of suppliers/wholesalers this year predict 2020 will be “terrible.” A year ago, none of the supplier/ wholesaler respondents rated the year a 1. Our 18th annual Forecast Study includes both a Retailer Forecast and a Supplier Forecast, based on the results of a survey fielded in November 2019. Retailer participants were asked to forecast their 2020 sales per store for a variety of product categories, as well as share their opinions on overall business, economic and consumer trends. Suppliers/wholesalers were similarly asked to make their predictions for their product categories. Both sets of participants were also given the opportunity to identify and rate the critical issues they expect to affect their business in 2020, and share their thoughts on how they plan to increase sales and profitability and grow their companies. Interestingly, despite this year’s muted optimism, the Forecast Study findings project an overall industry sales increase of 3.8 percent in 2020, slightly better than the 3.4 percent increase projected a year ago. The product categories forecasted to achieve the highest gains are prepared food, packaged beverages and alternative snacks. The lowest percentage gains are projected in edible grocery and cigarettes. Read on to find out more about how retailers and suppliers view their business prospects in 2020. CSN


J AN

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Convenience Store News 29


FORECAST STUDY 2020

RETAILER FORECAST

Optimism Mixed With Some Apprehension Increasing competition and the tight labor market are on retailers’ minds By Don Longo

are mostly optimistic about their business prospects for 2020, although that optimism is subdued compared to this time last year. CONVENIENCE STORE RETAILERS

Among the reasons cited for their optimism are: strong consumer confidence, the continued importance of “convenience,” low fuel costs, and new programs and innovation. Retailers do have some apprehensions about the coming year, however. “Amazon coming into convenience retailing in a big way,” competition from dollar stores, the growth of electric vehicles, the tight labor market, and increased government regulation were all mentioned as top concerns heading into 2020. Still, more than two-thirds of the retailers surveyed are optimistic about their companies’ business prospects in the year ahead. However, only 14 percent rated the upcoming year as a 5 on a scale of one to five, with 1 signifying 2020 will be “Terrible, wake me when it’s over,” and 5 denoting “It’s going to be our best year ever.” A year ago, 25 percent of the retailer respondents said 2019 would be their best year ever. Fewer retailers feel negatively about 2020. Just 2.3 percent express pessimism about the coming year — that’s almost half as many respondents that rated the coming year a 2 in 2019. No one predicted the coming year would be terrible in either survey. When it comes to sales, nearly eight out of 10 c-store retailers (79.7 percent) expect their per-store sales to climb in 2020, slightly down from the 82.9 percent who anticipated increased sales in 2019. Meanwhile, 9.4 percent of this year’s respondents predict their per-store sales will decline, compared with only 5.7 percent who felt that way a year ago. On average, retailers expect their per-store sales to rise 3.8 percent this year, an increase from 3.4 percent a year ago. When it comes to profits, three-quarters of the retailers surveyed project their profits will increase this year vs. 12.7 percent who foresee a profit decline for 2020.

30 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

On a scale of 1 to 5, how optimistic do you feel about your business in 2020? CURRENT YEAR AGO

0% 0%

2.3% 4.2%

30.2% 33.3%

1 2 Terrible, wake me when it’s over

53.5% 37.5%

3

4

14% 25%

5 It’s going to be our best year ever!

Which of the following will have the biggest impact on your sales and profitability in 2020? CURRENT RANK

LAST YEAR

Motor fuel prices

1

1

Tobacco & e-cig regulation

2

4

Labor turnover & hiring

3

3

Brick-and-mortar competition

4

7

Healthy eating trends

5

2

E-commerce competition

6

8

Demographic changes

7

9

Mobile commerce/marketing

8

6

Emerging technologies

9

5

Which of the following “enhanced convenience” services do you currently or plan to offer? CURRENTLY OFFER

PLAN TO ADD IN 2020

Mobile payment at traditional in-store checkout

51.9%

22.7%

Mobile payment at pump

47.7%

27.3%

Delivery

29.5%

22.7%

Frictionless checkout via mobile app

22.0%

34.1%

Click-and-collect

24.6%

18.2%

Drive-thru

13.6%

16.4%

At-pump ordering for in-store items

4.5%

31.8%

Frictionless checkout via in-store kiosk

2.3%

40.9%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study


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FORECAST STUDY 2020

RETAILER FORECAST

For the second consecutive year, retailers believe motor fuel prices will have the greatest impact on their sales and profits in the coming year. However, four other factors jumped several spots on retailers’ ranking of things that will have the biggest influence on 2020 performance. Tobacco and electronic cigarette regulation leapt from fourth to second among key factors. Also gaining in influence are brick-andmortar competition (up from seventh to fourth), demographic changes (up from eight to sixth), and e-commerce competition (up from ninth to seventh).

How will your store count change in 2020? 78.0%

We plan to increase our total store count

0.0%

We plan to decrease our total store count

22.0%

Our store count will remain the same

If you plan to increase your store count, how will that be accomplished?

“Tobacco and e-cigs have been the point of difference for us. If this category drops drastically, 40 percent of the industry is in trouble,” remarked one chain retailer. Interestingly, “healthy eating trends” declined three spots, from second to fifth — an indication that c-store retailers may feel that while Americans still want to eat healthier, perhaps convenience stores are not seeing much of a sales lift from this trend. Nevertheless, a few retailers acknowledged that healthy eating is still a key trend. “We are on a college campus and the students request healthy options,” said one retailer. Noted another: “We believe [healthy options] will draw customers that typically don’t eat ‘gas station food.’” It appears a large percentage of retailers will be looking into implementing some form of frictionless technology in their stores in the coming year. When asked which enhanced convenience services they are planning to add in 2020, 40.9 percent said frictionless checkout via an in-store kiosk and 34 percent said frictionless checkout via a mobile app. In addition, 31.8 percent plan to add at-pump ordering for in-store items in 2020. Other major new initiatives retailers specifically mentioned are: • Expanded foodservice; • Food delivery; • Replacing fuel dispensers; • Completing EMV compliance; and • Remodeling stores. Most retailers (78 percent) expect to increase their store count in 2020, through both acquisitions (cited by 39.8 percent) and organic growth (22.8 percent), or a combination (37.4 percent).

32 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

37.4% Both 39.8% Acquisitions

22.8% Organic growth

In 2020, what do you expect will happen to in-store foot traffic at your stores? 68.3% In-store foot traffic will increase 14.6% In-store foot traffic will decrease 17.1% In-store foot traffic will stay the same Which of the following do you consider the biggest cross-channel competitive threats? Dollar stores

56.1%

Home delivery services

50.4%

Order online/pickup in-store services

35.2%

Amazon Go stores

26.2%

Grocery stores

25.8%

Drugstores

16.5%

Mass merchandise stores (i.e., Walmart, Target)

15.2%

Quick-service restaurants

9.5%

Fast-casual restaurants

4.8%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

Retailers also expect their in-store foot traffic to increase in 2020, despite industry trends to the contrary. Nearly seven out of 10 said their in-store traffic will rise this year, while just 14.6 percent predicted their store traffic would decline. Another interesting finding is that although retailers appear slightly less enthusiastic about their business prospects this year compared to last year, they are feeling more positive about the overall condition of the U.S. economy. Nearly 72 percent said they are feeling positive about the economy, compared with just under 70 percent who felt that way a year ago. CSN


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FORECAST STUDY 2020

CATEGORY FORECAST

Greater Expectations

C-store retailers project overall category sales will increase slightly more this year By Angela Hanson

convenience store industry’s retailers appear to be largely less enthusiastic about their business prospects in 2020, this year’s Convenience Store News Forecast Study findings show that they project an overall industry sales increase of 3.8 percent in 2020 — slightly better than the 3.4 percent increase projected a year ago.

ALTHOUGH THE

Among the product categories forecasted to achieve the highest gains are prepared food, packaged beverages and alternative snacks. The lowest percentage gains are projected in the edible grocery and cigarettes categories. Here are the individual category forecasts for 2020, according to retailers:

MOTOR FUELS DOLLAR SALES

58.6%

Expectations are better for dollar sales. Although the percentage of retailers who expect an increase in fuel dollar sales is down from last year, a majority still hold a positive outlook (58.6 percent compared to 62.5 percent a year ago). The percentage of retailers who expect their fuel dollar sales to stay the same rose to 25.9 percent, while there was virtually no change in the number of retailers who expect dollar sales to decrease (15.5 percent). Overall, retailers predict net increases of 1.8 percent in gallons sold per store and 2.5 percent in average dollar sales, both up from a year ago (1.5 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively). Pricing is the major factor cited in the predicted dollar sales increase. Some retailers also expect to boost both gallons sold and dollar sales by drawing customers in through loyalty programs, in-store offerings and services. Multiple respondents also listed electric vehicle charging stations as a positive factor, despite the lack of fuel required for electric vehicles.

34 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

49.1%

Increase

21.1%

Increase

Decrease

25.9%

15.5%

Stay the same

Decrease NET CHANGE +2.5%

29.8% NET CHANGE +1.8%

Stay the same

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

CIGARETTES

MOTOR FUELS The percentage of c-store retailers who expect their gallons sold per store to decrease jumped sharply — from 13.3 percent a year ago to 21.1 percent this year — while the number of retailers who expect their gallon sales to increase fell from 60 percent to 49.1 percent.

GALLONS

DOLLAR SALES

32.7%

UNIT VOLUME

16.7%

Increase

72.2%

Increase

Decrease

11.1%

16.4%

50.9%

Stay the same

Stay the same

Decrease NET CHANGE +1.3%

NET CHANGE +1.0%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

Those who believe gallon sales will decline point to increased competition and improved vehicle fuel efficiency as the chief reasons.

TOBACCO In the cigarettes category, a majority of retailers see cloudy skies ahead. More than seven in 10 (72.2 percent) expect unit volume per store to decrease in 2020, up from 63 percent who said the same one year ago. Just 16.7 percent expect cigarette category unit volume to increase, while 11.1 percent expect it to stay the same. Expectations for average dollar sales are more mixed, with just over half of retailers (50.9 percent) predicting a decrease — which is still a jump from the 40.7 percent who predicted a sales decrease for 2019. Nearly one-third (32.7 percent) expect cigarette dollar sales will rise, while 16.4 percent believe they will stay the same. Retailers are split on whether to maintain the status quo or downsize the category: 35.9 percent expect to decrease square


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FORECAST STUDY 2020

CATEGORY FORECAST

footage for cigarettes this year, while 54.7 percent plan for it to stay the same. A mere 9.4 percent plan to give the category more space. Survey respondents noted that 2020 is likely to be just another year of continued decline for cigarettes. However, government regulation and the higher purchasing age trend are expected to have a noticeable effect. Cost also continues to be a notable factor. "This was the first time in years that we have seen this many cost and tax increases," one retailer commented. "Eventually, pack costs and multiple increases will sway cigarette smokers to change their thought process and move to alternative nicotine delivery systems like vape and e-cig products.� Although the popularity of Juul and other vaping products is undoubtedly having an impact on cigarette sales, retailers also noted that existing and potential flavor bans and restrictions on where vaping products can be sold bolster the outlook for cigarettes. When it comes to the other tobacco products (OTP) category, however, such restrictions, as well as controversy over vaping products' appeal to underage consumers and vaping-related illnesses, are shaking retailers' confidence in OTP. Positive sentiment around OTP fell several percentage points from a year ago. For 2020, nearly 55 percent of retailers expect to see an increase in both OTP unit volume per store and average dollar sales. But pessimism is growing, with 30.2 percent predicting a decrease in unit volume (compared to 13.1 percent last year) and 28.3 percent predicting a decrease in dollar sales (compared to 12.9 percent last year). Heading into 2020, survey respondents predict net increases of 1.8 percent for OTP unit volume and 2.3 percent for OTP dollar sales this year. Although the largest number of retailers predict no change to OTP's square foot-

36 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS UNIT VOLUME

DOLLAR SALES

54.7%

54.7%

Increase

30.2%

Increase

Decrease

17.0%

28.3%

Stay the same

Decrease

15.1% NET CHANGE +1.8%

NET CHANGE +2.3%

Stay the same

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

PREPARED FOOD UNIT VOLUME

DOLLAR SALES

97.9%

95.6%

Increase

Increase

2.1% Stay the same NET CHANGE +5.7%

4.4% NET CHANGE +4.6%

Stay the same

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

age (48.2 percent) or SKUs offered (39.6 percent), the remainder are split on whether to increase or decrease the category's floor space and product offerings. Bans on flavored vape products and issues surrounding Juul, as well as increased regulation and health concerns from consumers, are the main reasons for the predicted declines. On the other hand, legalization of cannabis, nicotine delivery alternatives and segment innovation are among the factors bolstering some retailers' optimism. "This category is on the rise," predicted one retailer. "As many states decriminalize marijuana, cigarillo sales will continue to increase. Vape and e-cigarette sales will continue to dominate the category as Juul is regulated and new smaller players enter the market."

FOODSERVICE With foodservice firmly established as one of the most important categories in the c-store, retailers are more optimistic than ever about the future of prepared food. According to this year’s study, 95.6 percent of c-store retailers expect an increase in prepared


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FORECAST STUDY 2020

CATEGORY FORECAST

food unit volume per store and 97.9 percent expect an increase in average dollar sales. No retailers expect unit volume or dollar sales to decline. The expected net growth for the segment is also healthy, with retailers predicting a 4.6 percent increase in prepared food unit volume and a 5.7 percent increase in dollar sales. Survey respondents list a wide variety of factors that they think will contribute to the sales increase. Among the more frequently cited are higher quality products, more grab-and-go items, healthy or better-for-you food, and limitedtime offers. Many retailers plan to expand their prepared food offering in 2020, with 63 percent indicating that their store's square footage dedicated to prepared food will increase, and 76.1 percent stating that their number of prepared food SKUs will grow.

38 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

DISPENSED BEVERAGES DOLLAR SALES

66.7%

UNIT VOLUME

52.1%

Increase

8.3%

Increase

Decrease

4.2%

29.1%

Decrease

Stay the same

NET CHANGE +2.4%

39.6% NET CHANGE +2.1%

Stay the same

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

Dispensed beverage sales, which includes hot, cold and frozen drinks, are also expected to grow in 2020, although optimism is not as high as it is for prepared food. More than half of retailers (52.1 percent) expect dispensed beverage unit volume per store to increase, while two-thirds (66.7 percent) expect average dollar sales to increase. Nearly four in 10 (39.6 percent) expect unit volume to stay the same, while 29.1 percent expect no change in dollar sales.


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FORECAST STUDY 2020

CATEGORY FORECAST

The predicted net change for dispensed beverage sales is a 2.1 percent increase in unit volume and a 2.4 percent increase in dollar sales. Coffee is seen as the driving force in dispensed beverage growth, according to survey respondents. Iced coffee, cold brew, bean-to-cup and new flavors are all expected to have an impact on the segment this year. More than two-thirds of c-store retailers expect to make no change in either dispensed beverages' square footage or number of SKUs, however a quarter plan to increase square footage and 26.5 percent expect to expand their number of SKUs.

PACKAGED BEVERAGES

78.3%

Operators predict net increases in the packaged beverages category of 3.2 percent for unit volume and 3.7 percent for dollar sales. Just a quarter of retailers expect to increase square footage for packaged beverages in 2020, but 41.3 percent expect to increase the number of SKUs they offer. Energy drinks are among the top beverage types driving category growth, according to retailers. Sparkling waters, flavored waters and overall innovation are having an impact as well.

BEER Convenience retailers that sell beer and malt beverages are noticeably more positive about the category’s sales in 2020 than they were for 2019, when opinion was mixed on whether to expect improvements or just more of the same. This year, unit volume per store is expected to increase according to 57.5 percent of retailers, up from 35.3 percent who said the same one year ago. The percentage of retailers who believe average

40 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

75.5%

Increase

6.7%

Increase

Decrease

17.8%

15.2%

6.5%

Stay the same

Stay the same

Decrease

NET CHANGE +3.2%

NET CHANGE +3.7%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

BEER

PACKAGED BEVERAGES In a turnaround from the previous year, retailers are largely optimistic about the packaged beverages category in 2020. More than three-quarters of c-store operators expect sales to increase, with 78.3 percent predicting a rise in average dollar sales and 75.5 percent predicting a boost in unit volume per store. This marks a significant jump from 2019, when 52.4 percent of retailers expected unit volume and dollar sales to increase.

UNIT VOLUME

DOLLAR SALES

UNIT VOLUME

DOLLAR SALES

63.4%

57.5%

Increase

7.5%

Increase

Decrease

29.3%

7.3%

Stay the same

Decrease NET CHANGE +2.4%

35.0% NET CHANGE +2.0%

Stay the same

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

dollar sales will rise jumped from 41.2 percent to 63.4 percent. Retailers predict net increases of 2 percent in unit volume and 2.4 percent in dollar sales. Just 28.6 percent of retailers expect to increase square footage for beer and malt beverages, but 46.5 percent plan to increase the number of SKUs they offer. While the expansion of craft beer has slowed in recent years, operators point to continued variety within the category as a growth driver. Seltzer is expected to be the biggest category driver in 2020. Some retailers also plan to explore growlers. "Seltzers and local craft beer options have created a new revival for c-store retailers," said one operator. "I don't see this trend slacking as more and more distributors enter the game to try and keep up."

CANDY Consumers still have a taste for indulgence, despite increased emphasis on better-for-you options, but c-store operators are split on what this will mean for candy sales in 2020. Just 28.6 percent of retailers expect candy unit volume per store to increase this year, down from 43.1 percent who predicted it would rise in 2019. Retailers are more optimistic about dollar sales, with 46.5 percent expecting an increase. This is only a slight bump from a year ago, when 43.1 percent predicted dollar sales would rise.


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CATEGORY FORECAST

Nearly seven in 10 retailers (69 percent) expect unit volume to stay the same (compared to 45.1 percent a year ago), while 51.2 percent expect dollar sales to stay the same (compared to 47.2 percent last year).

CANDY DOLLAR SALES

46.5%

UNIT VOLUME

28.6%

Increase

2.4%

Increase

Decrease

The overall expected net change for the candy category is a 1.9 percent increase in unit volume and a 2.2 percent increase in dollar sales.

51.2%

2.3%

Stay the same

Decrease

The majority of retailers expect no change to their square footage devoted to candy (73.2 percent) or to the number of candy SKUs they offer (69 percent).

69.0%

NET CHANGE +2.2%

NET CHANGE +1.9%

Stay the same

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

Cost increases and sugar becoming less popular among consumers are seen as hindrances. Meanwhile, product innovation, variety, seasonal items and the popularity of non-chocolate candy are likely to have the biggest positive impact on category sales.

SNACKS

"Bar candies are on a decline, and many retailers are looking to stop guaranteeing

Numerous trends have retailers largely expecting good things from the salty snacks category this year. Both unit volume per store and average dollar sales will increase in 2020, according to

their products, which has never before happened in this category," one retailer observed. "I see retailers cutting space for bar candies and focusing more on peg and bag candies. Specifically, sour candies."

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42 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


FORECAST STUDY 2020

71.4 percent of retailers. This marks a significant jump from a year ago, when 41.2 percent expected unit volume to increase and 47.4 percent expected dollar sales to increase. Innovation and new products are expected to have a positive impact on sales. Spicy and bold flavors, as well as better-for-you offerings, are among the top trends. The expected net change for the salty snacks category is a 2.1 percent increase in unit volume and a 2.6 percent increase in dollar sales. Most operators do not expect to make a change to their square footage for salty snacks or the number of SKUs they offer, but 23.8 percent plan to increase salty snack SKUs. In terms of the alternative snacks category, expectations this year are slightly lower, though sentiment remains positive. More than two-thirds of retailers expect growth, with 67.7 percent predicting unit volume per store will increase (up from 50 percent in 2019) and 68.6 percent predicting average dollar sales will increase (up from 58.8 percent last year). The predicted net change for the alternative snacks category is a 2.5 percent increase in unit volume and a 3.1 percent increase in dollar sales. Driving factors cited by retailers are the demand for healthier products and the performance of protein snacks. "Better-for-you is in now," said one retailer. "This category is where many of those SKUs sit. I see this category continuing a small climb year over year, as people want healthier options in convenience." Operators are split on whether to expand the alternative snacks category in their store(s): 45.7 percent expect to increase the amount of square footage, while another 45.7 percent do not plan to make any change; 44.4 percent expect to increase the number of SKUs, while 47.3 percent will keep the same number of products.

EDIBLE GROCERY Edible grocery in 2020 is projected to be a mixed bag for convenience retailers. This year’s study shows just 32.4 percent of operators expect both unit volume per

SALTY SNACKS DOLLAR SALES

71.4%

UNIT VOLUME

7.2%

71.4%

Increase

Decrease

Increase

21.4%

21.4%

7.2%

Stay the same

Decrease NET CHANGE +2.6%

Stay the same NET CHANGE +2.1%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

ALTERNATIVE SNACKS UNIT VOLUME

DOLLAR SALES

68.6% Increase

2.9%

67.7%

2.9%

Increase

Decrease

29.4%

28.5%

Decrease NET CHANGE +3.1%

Stay the same

Stay the same NET CHANGE +2.5%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

EDIBLE GROCERY DOLLAR SALES

32.4%

UNIT VOLUME

32.4%

Increase

27.0%

Increase

Decrease

27.0%

40.6%

Decrease NET CHANGE +1.6%

Stay the same

40.6% NET CHANGE +1.8%

Stay the same

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

store and average dollar sales to increase (up from 18.7 percent and 25 percent a year ago, respectively). However, 27 percent expect their edible grocery sales to decline. This is a significant jump from last year, when just 6.3 percent predicted edible grocery sales would drop. The predicted net change for the edible grocery category is a 1.8 percent increase in unit volume and a 1.6 percent increase in dollar sales. CSN

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43


SUPPLIER FORECAST

Some Causes for Concern

Coming off a positive outlook on 2019, c-store suppliers have trepidations about 2020 By Danielle Romano and wholesalers are heading into 2020 with a grayer outlook compared to this time last year, citing expected negative influences such as government regulation, industry consolidation, and an increase in cross-channel competition.

How does your company view the overall conditions for the U.S. economy in 2020?

Only 79 percent of c-store industry suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and brokers said they have a positive view on the economy for the year ahead vs. an overwhelming 93 percent of last year’s participants in the Convenience Store News Forecast Study. Those with a negative economic view also edged up to 9.1 percent, compared to 1.7 percent in 2019.

Neutral

CONVENIENCE CHANNEL SUPPLIERS

This year’s findings also show that when it comes to their respective product categories, only 84.5 percent believe 2020 will be a good year for their category, compared to 91 percent in 2019. A little more than 8 percent say 2020 will be a bad year. The remainder expect status quo. In the good news column, though, suppliers give the convenience channel top marks among the retail channels they work with. Specifically, nearly 90 percent rate business conditions in the convenience channel as positive, compared to grocery stores (64.4 percent), dollar stores (58 percent), mass merchandisers (54 percent) and drugstores (38 percent).

Obstacles Ahead Looking to the next 12 months, c-store industry suppliers foresee several factors having a sizeable impact on their sales and profitability. New product development, raw material costs and increasing regulation are repeat top factors from 2019. This year, retailer consolidation and e-commerce round out suppliers’ top five concerns.

9.1% Negative

11.8%

44 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

1.8%

Neutral

Negative

79.1%

93.8%

Positive

Positive

CURRENT

YEAR AGO

For your particular product category, how do you view the upcoming year? 8.2% Negative

7.3%

7.0%

1.8%

Neutral

Negative

Neutral

91.2%

84.5%

Positive

Positive CURRENT

YEAR AGO

Rate conditions in each of the following retail channels your company works with: POSITIVE

NEUTRAL

NEGATIVE

5.6%

Convenience

89.7%

Grocery

64.4%

Dollar

58.1%

Mass merchandise

54.2%

Drug According to one survey respondent, “a wet spring hurt commodities, and consolidation of retailers could lead to huge shifts in distribution.” Another respondent, commenting on the convenience channel’s adaptability to changes in e-commerce, noted that “evolution of the industry must take place to keep up with changing consumer demands.”

5.2%

38.1%

4.7% 27.7% 29.1% 33.3%

41.7%

7.9% 12.8% 12.5%

20.2%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

Cross-channel competition is on suppliers’ radar for 2020. Seventy-one percent forecast that cross-channel competition, including e-commerce, against the convenience channel will increase this year. A miniscule 1 percent expect cross-channel competition to decrease, while nearly 28 percent expect it to stay the same year over year.


FORECAST STUDY 2020

The biggest cross-channel threats, according to suppliers, are home delivery services (cited by 46 percent), followed by Amazon Go stores and dollar stores (both cited by 40.2 percent), order online/pickup in-store services (35.6 percent) and mass merchandisers (31 percent).

Only 79 percent of c-store industry suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and brokers said they have a positive view on the economy for the year ahead — down from an overwhelming 93 percent last year.

Which of the following factors will have the biggest impact on sales and profitablilty for your business in 2020? RANK

Raw material costs

1

New product development in your category

2

Increasing regulation

3

Retailer consolidation

4

Retailer unit expansion

5

E-commerce

6

Emerging technologies

7

Consumer spending decline

8

Consumer spending growth

9

Rising labor costs

10

Do you expect cross-channel competition (including e-commerce) against the convenience store industry in 2020 to: 27.8% Stay the Same

1.1% Decrease

1.9%

30.8%

Decrease

Stay the same

71.1%

67.3%

Increase

Increase

CURRENT

Suppliers also predict some other obstacles in the year ahead, including: alternative better-for-you snacking options cutting into traditional candy and snack sales; cigarette pricing; competitive promotions; consumer spending on the decline; employee retention; higher minimum wage; labor costs and availability; and President Trump and the impending campaign. On the flip side, c-store suppliers feel optimistic about: the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) products; customer service in c-stores still playing a big role; low interest rates; positive team support; and vendor consolidation opportunities. CSN

YEAR AGO

Which of the following do you consider the biggest cross-channel competitive threats? Home delivery services

46.0%

Amazon Go stores

40.2%

Dollar stores

40.2%

Order online/pickup in-store services

35.6%

Mass merchandise stores (i.e., Walmart, Target)

31.0%

Quick-service restaurants

20.7%

Grocery stores

19.5%

Drugstores

14.9%

Fast-casual restaurants

11.5%

Source: Convenience Store News 2020 Forecast Study

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Convenience Store News

45


TREND FORECAST

The Trends to Know for 2020

Frictionless technology, private-label offerings and sustainability are among the paths c-store retailers should be exploring By Melissa Kress

Feed Me, Seymour

WITH MORE THAN 153,000 convenience

stores in the United States, plus retailers in other channels constantly blurring the lines, c-store operators are always on the lookout for new ways to draw in customers. But finding the right products and services that will resonate can be a challenge. While convenience retailers may have access to Magic 8 Balls in their general merchandise sections, Convenience Store News has combed through various market predictions from leading research firms and industry consultants to identify the top trends for 2020 and where c-store operators should be investing their time, money and energy to capitalize on the next big thing.

Nielsen's Convenience Store Choice Drivers research shows that quality and variety of prepared foods are two of the top attributes that drive brand equity. Convenience retailers are working to expand and optimize their menus, better cater to daypart needs, and meet the demand for fast, fresh food. One key menu change in 2020 will be the addition of plant-based options. Sales of plant-based food grew by double digits and at five times the rate of total food sales in the past year, with continued growth expected, according to sales and marketing firm Acosta. Some c-stores have already responded. For example, York, Pa.-based Rutter's added plant-based egg patties and burgers in October through partnerships with JUST and Dr. Praeger's.

Here are our top eight picks:

Exclusive Access

Automation Nation Amazon debuted its cashierless Amazon Go store concept in 2018, and the convenience channel took strides to go frictionless in 2019. Next up: a ramped up technology agenda. "U.S. retailers take note: technology investment and adoption will play a critical role in deciding which c-store retailers will be threatened toward extinction and which ones will thrive in the years ahead," said Jeff Williams, senior vice president of retail and U.S. industry relations for Nielsen. Retailers this year will focus on upgrading their technology, including an overhaul of legacy systems. In addition, tech-enabled automation will fuel efforts toward customization. 46 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

The rise of private label within the United States has disrupted the traditional grocery retail landscape, and it’s poised to do the same in the convenience channel. Currently, only about 6 percent of units of sold in c-stores are private label vs. 16 percent to 23 percent in other channels. Given the opportunity, c-stores are a prime target for UPC private label disruption, both Nielsen and Acosta predict. Several c-store retailers have already dipped their toes in the private-label pool. Oklahoma City-based Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores brought Love's Travel Snacks to the shelf in June, while Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. has found success with its 7-Select line of food and beverages, and recently expanded its private-label offering to include nonfood items sold under a new 24/7 LIFE by 7-Eleven brand.

Story Time Increased consumer interest in the stories behind the food and beverage products they consume — and the notable influence of this on purchasing decisions — has resulted in companies paying more attention to storytelling in their branding strategies, according to Innova Market Insights. So much so that the company selected "Storytelling: Winning with Words" as its top trend pick for 2020. As a result of consumers wanting to dig deeper, manufacturers are increasingly focusing on ingredient provenance platforms in order to highlight the taste and quality of their products, as well as their uniqueness and sustainability efforts.


FORECAST STUDY 2020

Experience Counts As c-store retailers open new locations, they are frequently including features like indoor and outdoor seating, free WiFi, and growler stations. The push to add more elements to draw customers through the door will increase in 2020. Already making such moves are Rutter's, which is adding video gaming terminals to several of its Pennsylvania stores, and Pennsylvania-based Wawa Inc. and Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey's General Stores Inc., which are installing electric vehicle charging stations. "In order to compete with charging stations at malls and big-box retailers, convenience locations will need to provide consumers with an incentive to charge there. As more consumers are drawn to experiential retail, we will certainly see a continuation of creative ideas come to life," Nielsen's Williams stated.

sumer backlash toward single-use packaging,” Williams said. "Retailers that are ahead of the game will be looking to show consumers that they are doing their part to close the sustainability loop and not contributing to the growing packaging problem."

CBD Goes Mainstream With 28 percent of U.S. consumers already using cannabidiol (CBD) products, and another 54 percent open to trying CBD, sales are projected to grow from just under $2 billion in 2018 to $20 billion by 2024, according to the latest market research. Rick Maturo, associate director of client services at Nielsen Cannabis Practice, foresees the fast-moving consumer goods retail space — which includes convenience stores — playing a big part. It’s already beginning to happen; convenience stores have been "aggressive" in stocking CBD products, he noted.

Sustainability Expected Innova Market Insights’ research indicates that 85 percent of U.S. and U.K. consumers, on average, expect companies to invest in sustainability, up from 64 percent in 2018. The sustainability trend is here to stay, with c-stores and their grab-and-go offerings perfectly suited to answer the consumer call for a zero-waste lifestyle. "In the coming year(s), c-stores will need to address issues linked to waste management, the anti-plastic movement, and the rising con-

Door-to-Door Service Whether through a third party or an in-house program, more convenience retailers will offer delivery as a value-added service to customers. Case in point: Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.'s Circle K brand has widened the reach of its delivery service — from an initial 160 stores in Texas to now more than 550 stores in the state. It also recently launched a delivery pilot in Florida. Delivery is a value that customers are looking for, according to Acosta. Online grocery spending is expected to more than double by 2023, with 21 percent of U.S. shoppers buying groceries online this year, and that number expected to grow significantly as retailers expand their click-and-collect and same-day delivery solutions. CSN J AN

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47


FEATURE

The Goods Mart aims to make better-foryou options easily accessible at its two stores — one in California and the other in New York City.

HEALTHY IS HERE TO STAY From ingredients and calories, to where it was made and how, consumers are demanding more from c-store retailers in both packaged and prepared food By Tammy Mastroberte CONSUMERS LOOKING for healthier food options is nothing new. It’s been a growing segment for more than 10 years, and it is certainly not a passing trend, either. It’s a demand that continues to grow, and today’s retailers — including convenience stores — are stocking healthier and more natural products in major categories throughout their locations to meet that demand.

“Today, healthier product offerings is not a nice to have, it’s a need to have,” Shelley Balanko, Ph.D, senior vice president of The Hartman Group, told Convenience Store News. In one of the company’s recent studies asking consumers what is important when shopping for food, the top attribute cited was fresh (67 percent), followed by clean (55 percent), real (49 percent), pesticide-

48 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

free (47 percent), natural (43 percent), and no artificial preservatives (43 percent). Consumers are avoiding chemicals and added sugars as well, and when asked what they are trying to add to their diet, fiber topped the list (62 percent), along with protein (60 percent), vitamin D (59 percent) and calcium (56 percent). “Freshness to consumers is about perishability, a short ingredient list, recognizable ingredients, recyclable/ minimal packaging, and the absence of artificial ingredients,” Balanko shared. “The numbers in sales speak for themselves. Consumers are buying more from the perimeter of the grocery store, while center store is struggling. We are seeing retailers do more with premium private label and boosting the perimeter categories, and even dollar stores are paying attention to this.” The convenience channel has been transforming around food and investing heavily in improving the food experience, with healthy eating as a key driver. Those with health and wellness at the forefront of


Transparency Seekers their strategy are in the best position to increase brand equity and capture more share of food dollars spent by consumers, according to Jeff Williams, senior vice president of retail and U.S. industry relations for Nielsen, based in Chicago. Kum and Go LC signed on with Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in October 2019, joining a number of other c-store partners, including Kwik Trip Inc. and Sheetz Inc. A PHA partnership means the retailer commits to offering healthier products to its customers, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, grab-and-go items, beverages, prepared food and more. The nation’s largest convenience store operator, 7-Eleven Inc., also has made healthier options a focal point. 7-Eleven debuted nearly 100 new healthy products from 31 up-and-coming brands in May 2019. This includes plant-based, organic, gluten-free, keto, paleo and vegan items. “In c-store dollar growth, organic claims less than 1 percent of the total dollar sales, so they have room to grow with organic products,” Williams noted.

What’s Selling Now? Make no mistake, consumers are buying healthier food products in all areas of retail, and that includes convenience stores. They are looking for fresh produce, plant-based products, betterfor-you water, protein and snack bars, infused teas and more. “C-stores should be looking to offer fresh produce, dairy, beverages, salty snacks and candy that are less processed, cleaner and with shorter ingredient lists,” Balanko advised. “Functional beverages like kombucha and kefir, as well as locally made sodas or roasted coffee, are modern notions of quality and fresh, as well as seaweed snacks or legumes in the salty snack category.” As of press time, organic or infused teas and organic juice were up 17 percent in sales over the latest 52 weeks, according to Nielsen data. And while bottled water as a category was down, enhanced water was up 10 percent in the same time

With the importance of healthy eating and betterfor-you products continuing to grow, consumers are looking for more transparency from both retailers and manufacturers. They want to know what is in their food, where it came from, how ingredients are sourced and more. And this applies to packaged food, as well as made-to-order prepared food items. “Label transparency is not going away. For retailers, it’s about transparency on the shelf, as well as label transparency,” Jeff Williams, senior vice president of retail and U.S. industry relations for Nielsen, told Convenience Store News. “You see this in QSRs [quickservice restaurants] today where they offer the calorie content or other stated claims, and 81 percent of QSR visitors are c-store shoppers.” Product packaging — especially when it’s see-through so consumers can see what they are buying — is helpful when it comes to transparency. And labeling on the package such as Non-GMO Project or USDA Organic are things today’s consumers recognize as better-for-you, according to Shelley Balanko, Ph.D, senior vice president of The Hartman Group. “Consumers are using transparency to determine product quality. If a product is nutrient dense and if it has sustainable attributes, it’s better overall consumption,” Balanko explained. “Store placement also says a lot about quality.” Retailers can help consumers determine what is healthy or not on the shelf, whether it’s via signage or a ranking score based on product claims, Williams suggested. At The Goods Mart, a convenience store in New York City that offers only healthy alternatives to conventional c-store items, they even label the grab-and-go food for customers. “We have a full ingredient list on our banana bread, for example, but also have things spelled out more for our items as well because we want to do the heavy lifting for people,” said founder and CEO Rachel Krupa. “We also do regular demos in the store, so when a new product comes in, we ask the brand to come in for two hours. We hold them on Tuesdays and Thursdays with different brands.” In regards to merchandising, rather than separating healthy items into their own sections, today’s consumers are looking for more integration and signage on the shelf, noted Balanko. “As more and more consumers are embracing these new offerings, they are looking for more comparability with other options, rather than having them corded off in a section,” she said.

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Convenience Store News 49


FEATURE

• Quality prepared foods, • Good customer service, • Variety of food, • Being well stocked, and • Good prices. These drivers should be considered when layering in natural and healthy options, according to Williams, who also points out that two of the items speak directly to foodservice options. Today’s top retailers in the c-store space are leading with prepared foods, he noted.

At The Goods Mart, only healthier options of traditional convenience store items are sold.

period. The enhanced water segment includes added nutrition, vitamins and other health claims. “For c-store retailers within the space, only 6 percent of sales are private label and in every other channel of trade, it’s 15 percent or more, so this is another significant opportunity for them to invest in as they think about strategy for health and wellness,” Williams pointed out. At The Goods Mart, a convenience store in the SoHo area of New York City, only healthier options of traditional c-store items are stocked. Some of the 400-square-foot store’s bestsellers include refrigerated bars, such as Perfect Bar and Hey Frida; and water such as Mountain Valley in glass bottles, as the store does not carry any plastic. “Our grab-and-go burritos we have shipped from Los Angeles multiple times a week and our fresh sushi delivered daily sell very well, and also Simple Mills cookies, Siete Foods chips and Barbara’s Cheese Puffs,” shared founder and CEO Rachel Krupa. “We taste-test everything before it goes into the store to make sure it tastes incredible, and only carry items without artificial flavors, preservatives and non-GMO, as well as packaging without hormone disruptors.” The Goods Mart opened in October 2018, and Krupa visited a number of c-stores to get a feel for the types of products sold; she then set out to find healthier alternatives that are still affordable. Nothing in the store is more than $25, including its selection of natural beauty products. Instead of Starburst, the store carries Torie & Howard candies that are made from real fruit and instead of Kit Kat, customers can find a brand called Little Secrets. The Goods Mart also carries more mainstream healthy options such as Clif Bar and Kettle Chips. “We have organic slushies, and one is a kombucha, along with hot coffee and nitro cold brew,” Krupa said, noting that the store also sells glass and metal straws as their version of an “impulse buy,” that do well for the business.

Pay Attention to Perception Conveying fresh and healthy is not just about the types of products offered, but also how the customer perceives the offering. Nielsen research around “choice drivers” shows the top five influences in terms of brand equity in c-stores are:

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“It’s about changing the perception that you can fulfill a quality, nutritious, wellserved meal, and receive that at a c-store as a destination,” Williams explained. One way to convey freshness and quality would be to offer a pizza bar with an array of toppings that allow people to customize it themselves, said Balanko, as on-demand preparation communicates freshness to the customer. Premium is another way consumers perceive wellness, so offering local, craft beers on tap, where allowed, would also create a “health halo.” “Local is a way to convey freshness to consumers because when it’s local, it’s likely traveled less of a distance and people see that as fresher,” she said. “[C-stores] can convey this with signage, but also by having staff tell the stories about local providers, answering questions and making product recommendations. Also, timestamps help to convey freshness.” At The Goods Mart, Krupa does just that. Her in-store team is trained to be guides for customers shopping the store, available to answer questions and offer recommendations. The employees try everything on the shelf, so they know what each item tastes like and are equipped to help. CSN


FOODSERVICE

FOOD I N SIG HT P O W E R E D B Y DATA S S E N T I A L

Supercharge Your 2020 Three big things you need to know from the latest Datassential c-store shopper research STARTING THIS YEAR, we at Datassential are broadening our coverage of foodservice in partnership with Convenience Store News beyond our traditional “What’s Hot” reports, and we couldn’t be more excited! We kick off 2020 with highlights from our C-Store Keynote Report, which covers consumer and operator insights over more than 200 pages of deep-diving data.

Fans of “What’s Hot” need not despair. We will continue to bring limited-time offer best practices to this space on occasion from both c-stores and quick-serve restaurants. But now, you’ll also get actionable data from our most recent shopper research available.

Foods Are the Future

Prepared offerings continue to be a significant part of the c-store experience. One-third of surveyed operators said they are planning to expand the number of items they offer, and 72 percent of operators expect the importance of their

50

%

of consumers are satisfied or extremely satisfied with the variety of prepared options at their favorite c-store

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2. It’s

Looking Good for Consumers

The outlook is great. Thirty-three percent of consumers say they are buying more c-store prepared items today than a year ago. But consumers are continuing to push operators with higher expectations around the number of options available and maximizing freshness. Limited-time offers will continue to be a critical element for injecting a sense of newness on menus and encouraging trial as consumers continue to lean toward habitual purchases, or a mix of the familiar and new. 3. The

C-store Prepared Food Consumer Is Changing

Here are three big things you need to know to supercharge your 2020: 1. Prepared

foodservice over the next two years to grow and become more crucial to the overall store.

Nearly three-quarters of operators report seeing changes in their consumer base — particularly, that they’re getting younger. Today’s younger consumers value convenience more than older consumers, but they come with a shift in priorities around their food experiences. The most frequent c-store prepared users assign a higher importance to health and wellness, as opposed to lighter c-store users who tend to be impulse buyers and more likely to favor indulgence. Items that find a balance between health and perceived indulgence have plenty of potential for the future. We’re thinking cauliflower crust pizzas, abundant veggie toppings, and blended beverages (both smoothies and indulgent options). CSN For more information from the C-Store Keynote Report, visit Datassential’s website at datassential.com and look under the Food Insights header.

%

of consumers say they at least occasionally go to a c-store just to buy a prepared item

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of consumers say the quality of prepared offerings is important in their decision of where to buy gas

AWAY-FROM-HOME FOOD MOTIVATORS 66% TASTE — I like specific tastes and regularly stick to those tastes. 41% VALUE DRIVEN — I prefer to purchase products that are the most afforably priced (discounts, coupons, etc.). 28% CONVENIENCE & PACKAGING — I prefer products that are easy to transport and consume. 27% HEALTH & WELLNESS — I read labels, am concerned about nutritional content, and try to eat healthy. 25% PLANNED — I try to stick to buying only what I planned to buy when I went in, I already know what I will get before I walk in. 22% IMPULSE — I often purchase on impulse if something catches my eye. 21% BRAND — I am very loyal and tend to stay with brands that I trust. 21% EXPERIMENTAL — I like to try new things and am willing to experiment with new or unfamiliar items. Datassential, a Chicago-based food and beverage industry research and consulting firm, brings clients real-world insights on flavor trends, foodservice and consumer packaged goods, globally.

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SNACKS

The Reemergence of Indulgent Snacking Seeking balance, consumers give themselves permission to feed their cravings By Danielle Romano

is making a comeback. Although today’s consumers are growing more health-conscious in their food choices, they are giving themselves permission to enjoy indulgent sweet and savory snacks from time to time, seeking moderation in their diets.

INDULGENT SNACKING

“The role of snack food is changing in different ways in reaction to Americans’ desire for balance, portable snack foods, and holistic wellness,” said David Portalatin, food industry advisor for The NPD Group and author of Eating Patterns in America. “It’s no longer about depriving yourself of something you enjoy eating. Today, it’s about giving yourself permission to eat indulgent snack foods in moderation.” Snack food eating occasions that are driven by a need for favorites, cravings or the need to reward oneself — which typically involve the more indulgent snack foods — will continue to grow over the next five years, according to New York-based NPD’s Future of Snacking report.

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Reasons for Indulgence Snacking has always been prevalent, but more recently, there’s been an uptick in frequency with the average person snacking multiple times a day. Along with the convenience of portable products, snacking can be seen as a way to unwind and take a break from non-stop days. So, consumers are giving themselves permission to indulge and unwind with products they know and love. Research from market intelligence firm Mintel shows that approximately 50 percent of Americans say the top reason they snack is to treat themselves, and more than one-quarter (28 percent) agree that taste is more important than health when choosing a snack. Snacking for self-care also is a top motivator, as nearly two in five consumers (37 percent) say they snack to give themselves a break during the day, and 24 percent snack to relieve stress. A majority of people say snacks are just as important to their mental (71 percent) and emotional (70 percent) wellbeing as their physical wellbeing, according to


Mondelez International’s first-ever State of Snacking report. And 77 percent of consumers agree that there is a time and a place for a healthy snack, and a time and a place for an indulgent one.

Timing Matters Permissible snack indulgence for most consumers tends to happen later in the day, either as a dinner or lateevening snack. “When rewarding themselves, consumers typically look for more indulgent offerings; however, it’s important to note that indulgence could be sweet or savory. We know as the day progresses that indulgence and cravings take stronger hold,” explained Stefanie Nolby, global consumer insights manager for General Mills Convenience Foodservice. “When we did some research around the rewarding of oneself, we learned that evening time is when that really happened. It was after the bulk of their day that consumers wanted to reward themselves (if a good day) or repair (after a bad day).” Indulgence has been growing in the morning, though, whereas midday and dinnertime indulgent snacking has been declining or flat. Breakfast tends to be an on-the-go behavior, and snack foods offer the speed and portability needed in the morning.

Demographical Divide Generationally speaking, snackers in various age groups are different in how they consume snacks, when they consume snacks, and what they’re choosing to snack on. Millennials (those aged 23-40) are the most likely to snack four or more times per day (25 percent), compared to just 10 percent of Gen Xers (aged 41-52) and 9 percent of baby boomers (aged 53-71), according to Mintel’s research findings. “The importance of snacking in America is undeniable and it is creating more and more opportunity for companies and brands as snacking frequency increases, particularly among younger consumers,” said Beth Bloom, associate director of U.S. Food and Drink Reports at Mintel. Snack food consumption increases around age 40, though, and continues through the end of the 50s, before the 60s usher in stability. Consumers over the age of 40, including Gen Xers and younger baby boomers, will drive growth in snacks like nuts and seeds, cereal bars, toaster pastries and meat snacks, Mintel says, while older baby boomers will drive higher consumption of chocolate candy, frozen novelties and ice cream. “While health is a factor for consideration in food and

“It’s no longer about depriving yourself of something you enjoy eating. Today, it’s about giving yourself permission to eat indulgent snack foods in moderation.” — David Portalatin, The NPD Group drink decisions, the majority of snackers do so for a treat, meaning even health-focused snacks should appeal with messages about enjoyment and indulgence,” Bloom said.

Salty Indulgences Indulgent snacking isn’t limited to cravings for something sweet. Research from Mintel reveals that certain occasions tend to drive the types of salty snacks consumers eat — including meat snacks, pretzels, corn snacks, pork rinds, popcorn and cheese-flavored snacks. While consumers are most likely to enjoy popcorn while watching TV or a movie at home (62 percent), the various types of popcorn available, such as caramel corn or microwavable, make it versatile as a snack for when consumers want to treat themselves (37 percent) or want something healthy (19 percent). Meat snacks, on the other hand, are unique due to their functionality, as they are most likely to be selected to satisfy hunger (43 percent), provide energy (26 percent), to eat on the go (35 percent), or to have something healthy (21 percent). “Despite competition from other snack foods, the salty snack market continues to grow at a steady rate. The functional benefits of meat snacks and the convenience and health halo of ready-to-eat popcorn are driving strong growth in each category; however, this success is also due to increased flavor and format innovation,” said Caleb Bryant, senior foodservice analyst, Mintel. “Brands are demonstrating that popcorn can be a platform for any type of flavor, with sweet flavors gaining popularity, while meat snacks are going premium and artisan.” CSN

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TECHNOLOGY

MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE Convenience store retailers' 2020 technology hit lists include bells and whistles and the basics By Melissa Kress

is a great time to start fresh, try something new or improve upon what you already have. But instead of making resolutions, convenience store retailers are making priority lists — with a 2020 technology hit list chief among them.

THE NEW YEAR

There are many opportunities for c-stores in the tech arena, according to Sucharita Kodali, vice president and principal analyst for Forrester Research. During a recent webcast, hosted by Diebold Nixdorf and entitled "Top Trends in C-store Technology: Which Ones Really Drive Convenience," she outlined six top tech trends for the channel: • Mobile apps and digital wallets; • Loyalty programs; • Data-driven merchandising; • Using the store as media; • E-commerce shipments and returns; and • Store automation. York, Pa.-based Rutter's is one c-store retailer making advancements around the mobile-app trend. Rutter's first introduced its mobile app 10 years ago. This year will bring the next generation: a new app and loyalty program, in partnership with Paytronix Systems Inc. “We are creating a custom app, which will allow us to add many new and great

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features," said Chris Hartman, director of fuels, forecourt and advertising at The Rutter's Cos. Set to launch in the first quarter of 2020, the retailer's 2.0 app will not only feature a complete redesign, but also will give Rutter's "the flexibility to continue to be technologically innovative with mobile," Hartman explained. Travel center chain Pilot Flying J, meanwhile, is looking to integrate its mobile app even further into the in-store experience by installing driver kiosks with features similar to the app. The retailer is currently testing the kiosks, with a networkwide rollout expected this year. The driver kiosks enable Pilot Flying J team members to focus on the guests, and they give professional drivers access to faster service through a more nimble, frictionless experience, CEO Jimmy Haslam said during the company's "Voice of the Industry" call in mid-November. Similar to the Pilot Flying J mobile app, the driver kiosks feature an intuitive interface to provide a seamless experience. Using the kiosks, professional drivers can: • Print receipts; • Check in for Prime Parking and print Prime Parking tags; • Reserve showers; and • View promotions and point balances. Overall, in 2020, the Knoxville, Tenn.-based retailer plans to focus heavily on retail technology innovation as


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TECHNOLOGY

it looks to evolve into a "software defined store."

Loyalty Revamped To make the lives of its guests better, the coming months will bring a new loyalty program for customers of Casey's General Stores Inc. The Ankeny, Iowabased chain completed an employee pilot of the program in the second quarter of its 2020 fiscal year and rolled out a soft launch at the beginning of December. A full launch was slated for the start of the new calendar year. "We believe that Casey's is at the heart of every community we serve, with our purpose being to make life better for communities and guests every day,� President and CEO Darren Rebelez said during Casey's latest earnings call on Dec. 10. “With that spirit in mind, we wanted to create a partnership opportunity with our guests through the loyalty program. The program will allow members to accumulate points for their purchases at Casey's that can be redeemed for in-store purchases or fuel discounts." Unique to Casey's, the loyalty program also will allow guests to convert their points into cash that they can donate to local

Pilot Flying J is just one retailer in the industry looking to capitalize on the growing importance of mobile apps and digital wallets among consumers.

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schools. "This concept tested extremely well with our guests and we believe this will differentiate our rewards program from our competitors," Rebelez said. The value-added benefit falls in line with where Forrester Research thinks loyalty programs are headed. "A number of the larger c-store chains already have loyalty programs in place, but what I would encourage every c-store [operator] to really think about is what you are doing more than just a rebate program," Kodali said. The challenge with loyalty programs throughout the retail ecosystem is that consumers spend more to get more benefits and that contributes to top-line incrementality, but it is really margin eroding because ultimately, these are usually a cashback or some type of promotion back in exchange for retailers to get that customer information, she explained. "I would encourage c-stores to be more creative about the benefits you provide to customers in the course of extending the loyalty program and knowing that there are ways to use tools like your app or your digital website to support some of the benefits," Kodali added. Also when it comes to loyalty programs, consumers want the ability to provide feedback. "That is something that doesn't really cost anything to the merchant, yet is also incredibly valuable because think about the number of merchants that are conducting market research and paying for that market research," said Kodali.


A Sign of the Times Automation is among the top 2020 agenda items for Enid, Okla.-based Jiffy Trip — both customer-facing and backoffice automation, shared Chief Information Officer Mark Holloway. The retailer is on the lookout for “a good digital signage company” that can tie into its mobile provider and journals, use Bluetooth beacons to track a customer around the store, and then tailor the digital signage specifically to that customer, he explained.

channel may be concentrating too much on bells and whistles and not enough on the basics. The line between the must-haves and the want-to-haves is not always crystal clear, Rutter’s Hartman acknowledged. "There's always a fine line between being technologically advanced and putting the cart before the horse. To avoid this, we constantly monitor our customers’ habits and feedback to determine their needs," he said. "Technology often outpaces the 'real world.' While humans are adaptive creatures, with our habits being fluid, technology moves at a faster pace. This creates some lag between creation and adoption."

Connecting with shoppers outside the store Holloway agrees the industry may be concentrating too is a focal point as well. much on bells and whistles; however, with a steadily increasing technology budget, everything is on the table "We have started putting digital billboards at Jiffy Trip. outside on the highways, and I want to know when our customers are passing by, in time to show them the ads that will make "Many of us are still foundational, whether we want to admit it or not. We've got to get leaner, meaner and them turn into the lot," Holloway said. much faster at rolling out new ideas," Holloway said. "As an industry, we're constantly watching everyone Back to Basics vs. Bells & Whistles With much focus on upgraded mobile apps, else's technology. When the fuel goes and the tobacco goes, well, we'd better be ready to innovate some things new loyalty programs, digital signage and on our own." CSN more, it’s been said that the convenience

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NEW HORIZONS

Banishing the Working Mom Guilt Blues Why it’s time to stop apologizing after a busy week crisscrossing the country from Seattle to Dallas, to Orlando and Charlotte, I found myself exhausted and cranky. I’d returned the night before on a late night flight to Chicago. Now, I found myself alone, reflecting on the past week. My husband was busy teaching at the University of Chicago Business School and my two oldest children, Emma and Thani, I presumed were still fast asleep at their respective colleges. Upstairs, my youngest son Eli, a high schooler, was still snoozing.

ON A RECENT SATURDAY MORNING,

By Sarah Alter, President & CEO, Network of Executive Women

The good news: my busy travel itinerary had racked up some hefty airline miles. Best part: I’d spent my week being so inspired by story after story that I heard from NEW members, corporate partners and regional leaders who are driving the success of our mission to create a more collaborative, flexible and diverse workplace for everyone. But then my mind flashed to a text message from my youngest son Eli, a text I had neglected to see until late last night. There it was, with a trail of support and responses from his siblings, my husband, friends — everybody but me. Suddenly, I felt overwhelmed with anxiety as my mind flooded with the recent

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news of violence and mass shootings that have caused parents across the country to worry about sending their children to school. Thankfully, Eli was safe inside our home and his message turned out to be a false alarm. But I was racked with guilt. Like most working moms I know, sometimes I feel like I’m forever coming up short when it comes to doing enough, giving enough and being enough for my kids. I’d been so absorbed in my day Friday that I hadn’t even checked my personal phone. I realized that Eli had texted me earlier in the day when I was speaking at one of our regional events, oblivious to what my youngest son was going through. When I got home last night, my husband Michael was out for dinner with Eli and some of his normal tribe of buddies. When they finally returned from the restaurant, I rushed up to hug my 6’3” son who is a full foot taller than his 5’2” mom.


Convenience Store News is pleased to continue this series of educational columns by the Network of Executive Women (NEW), coinciding with the annual CSNews Top Women in Convenience awards given out each fall. Forty-two female managers, executives and directors who work in the convenience store industry were honored in our 2019 program. In addition to being a presentation sponsor for the Top Women in Convenience program, NEW and CSNews have partnered to develop this series of columns directed at helping corporate leaders drive more inclusive company cultures. 2019 SPONSORS

On this Saturday morning, still trying to deal with my guilt, Eli finally wandered down an hour or two later and asked if I would take him to the car dealer. As we drove there, he shared what it felt like when it dawned on him what might be happening. He said the first thing he needed to do was to reach out to his family. I told him how truly sorry I was for not being there. He told me it was OK. I told him it wasn’t. I also told him how sad it was that this is a reality in schools today.

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Eli looked at me and smiled and said, “Don’t worry about me, I can handle whatever comes my way.” At that moment, I was able to embrace my shortfalls as a mother (we all have them) and refocus on what truly matters. My son was growing up to be a capable young man who knew I loved him even when I wasn’t available at the other end of the phone. Isn’t that what truly matters?

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Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing 12,400 members in 22 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at newonline.org.

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Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.

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STORE SPOTLIGHT

Giving New Meaning to Fresh Convenience QuickChek’s “Fresh to Go” design dedicates more than 50 percent of the store to fresh foods and beverages By Danielle Romano

At a Glance QuickChek Location: 1505 US Highway 1, North Brunswick, N.J. Size: 5,496 square feet Unique features: New contemporary exterior and interior designs; a sleek open concept with cleaner sightlines and spacious standalone food displays; a chef-crafted line of restaurant-quality sub sandwiches and seasonal offers

QUICKCHEK CORP. is on a quest: to make a difference in people’s everyday lives. The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based convenience store chain is once again redefining “fresh convenience” with a new, innovative “Fresh to Go” store design that meets the needs of today’s fast-casual shopper with more than 50 percent of the store dedicated to fresh foods and beverages.

“We serve busy people on the go with products and services that are made for immediate consumption,” said QuickChek CEO Dean Durling. “Today’s consumer — especially young professionals, families and health-conscious people — want fresh, so we have dedicated more than half of our stores to foodservice and fresh beverages, including our guaranteed fresh-brewed hot and iced coffees. Our fresh, new look inside and outside enhances our store experience.” QuickChek’s Fresh to Go design debuted in May with a 5,496-square-foot store located at 1505 US Highway 1 in North Brunswick, N.J. The c-store showcases a new contemporary design inside and outside that reflects the company’s overall clean, fresh look and “fresh attitude.” This is echoed through the store’s fresh food and beverage offers, fast and friendly

service provided by locally hired team members, and amenities providing speed and efficiency.

New Design, New Offers Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the North Brunswick store is situated on a heavily traveled stretch of Route 1, making it a vibrant market for QuickChek because the location fits the company’s model of building stores in the path of busy, on-the-go consumers, and fulfills their requests of “having a store near me.” The North Brunswick store is the first to feature QuickChek’s contemporary exterior design. The upper half of the store’s exterior is white with “QuickChek” in bright green lettering, and a large overhang protects consumers from the elements upon entering and exiting the store. An eye-catching architectural green tower in the right front corner is instantly recognizable with the familiar “Q” brand logo of QuickChek. Upon entering the store, customers are met by a fresh, clean, open concept that allows them to see the entire store. The sleek open-concept layout features earth tone colors, cleaner sightlines, and spacious standalone food displays, with consumer-friendly expansive aisles for

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STORE SPOTLIGHT

added convenience. Extensive displays bring attention to QuickChek’s freshly made grab-and-go food options and market items. Large standalone food stations entice shoppers over to QuickChek’s daily rotation of freshly prepared, never frozen soups made with 100 percent real ingredients, and the c-store retailer’s renowned fresh-brewed hot and iced coffee. With a professional chef heading its culinary team, QuickChek’s new chefcrafted line offers restaurant-quality sub sandwich recipes that are custom-made for a more complete and overall better sandwich experience. The recipes feature more meat, more proteins and higherquality, bakery-fresh ciabatta bread, while emphasizing seasonal flavors.

Both inside and outside, QuickChek’s new store design communicates the company’s “fresh attitude.”

The North Brunswick store also features: Made with the finest ingredients and freshest quality meats and cheeses, seasonal food selections include the Angus Roast Beef BLT, Deli Style Southern Chicken, and Avocado Veggie Crunch sub sandwiches. The retailer’s coffee offering also gets seasonal revamps. Winter limited-editions are Rainbow Cookie and Caramel Waffle Cone flavored hot and iced coffee. The new top-of-the-line, higher-quality menu further establishes QuickChek’s position as the foodservice destination in the New York metropolitan area and complements its award-winning freshbrewed hot and iced coffee program, according to the retailer. 62 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

• A wide selection of healthy baked snacks, fresh cut fruit and seasonal fruit; • In-store technology including touchscreen ordering, self-checkout and an expanded mobile ordering menu via the QuickChek mobile app; • Indoor seating counters for 11 that offer phone and laptop charging stations and free WiFi to embrace the dining habits of millennial consumers; • Outdoor seating for eight; • A large, well-lit canopy with 16 fueling positions; and • 53 parking spaces. “We want to continue to make a difference in people’s everyday lives and make your life easier with the fresh products and services you want, whether it’s a freshlyprepared sub, our guaranteed fresh-brewed coffee or fuel, and get you on your way fast,” Durling said.


Full Steam Ahead QuickChek celebrated the debut of its Fresh to Go design in a number of ways. For starters, a pre-grand opening party and ribbon-cutting ceremony provided a preview of the store to 150 guests, who had the opportunity to sample the new menu the day before the store opened to the public. Then, in continuing its commitment to giving back to its communities, QuickChek donated 25 cents for every sub, sandwich and wrap sold in the store during its first 30 days to the North Brunswick Baseball & Softball Youth Association. Lastly, patrons were treated to a free coffee during the store’s first two weeks of operation. As for the future of QuickChek’s Fresh to Go design, 20 of the chain’s most recent stores boast the new interior design. The company plans to open eight new Fresh to Go stores in 2020, with continued

Spacious standalone food displays bring attention to QuickChek’s varied fresh-food offerings.

growth into the future, Durling told Convenience Store News. Family-owned QuickChek currently operates 160 stores throughout New Jersey, New York’s Hudson Valley and Long Island. The chain is a four-time winner in CSNews’ annual Foodservice Innovators Awards program, including taking home first prize as Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year in 2012, winning the grand prize as Foodservice Innovator of the Year in 2016, and being honored as Prepared Foods Innovator of the Year in 2019. CSN

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CLASSIFIEDS

Age Verifier

Foodservice Program

Looking for ideas to promote your product or services? Need help creating an ad that fits your needs without spending a fortune with an advertising agency?

We are here to help, whether it be in the classified ad section, an ad in the main pages, or online. Call or email with any questions or for pricing. We can handle all aspects of your ad from conception to print in a fraction of the cost that agences charge!

Our ads get results! CALL TERRY KANGANIS TODAY-

201.855.7615

tkanganis@ensembleIQ.com 76 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

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CLASSIFIEDS

Wholesale Refrigeration

Looking for ideas to promote your product or services? Need help creating an ad that fits your needs without spending a fortune with an advertising agency?

We are here to help, whether it be in the classified ad section, an ad in the main pages, or online. Call or email with any questions or for pricing. We can handle all aspects of your ad from conception to print in a fraction of the cost that agences charge!

Equipment / Supplies

Our ads get results! CALL TERRY KANGANIS TODAY-

201.855.7615

tkanganis@ensembleIQ.com

ADINDEX Advertiser..............................................................Page

JUUL.........................................................................80

ADD Systems........................................................55

Liggett Vector Brands.......................................37

Altria Group Distribution..................................2

Living Essentials..................................................8–9

Avanti Cigar...........................................................42

Miracle Nutritional Products...........................33

BIC USA Inc...........................................................15

Mondelez International.....................................21

Boston Beer...........................................................57

Perfetti....................................................................17

Calico Brands........................................................38

Premier Manufacturing.....................................Cover

Chesters International.......................................27

Procter & Gamble Distributing Co................31

GlaxoSmithKline..................................................23

Swedish Match North America LLC.............13, 41

Hunt Brothers Pizza...........................................25

Swisher International.........................................19

J & J Snack Foods..............................................39

The Hershey Company......................................5

Jack Links Beef Jerky........................................35

Universal Merchants...........................................Outsert

Jelly Belly Candy.................................................7

Voss Water.............................................................11

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Phone 773-992-4450 Fax 773-992-4455 www.ensembleiq.com

JANUARY

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2020

Convenience Store News

77

1/4/2020 10:46:05 AM


INSIDE THE CONSUMER MIND

Get to Know the CBD User With the right conditions, cannabidiol products are poised to explode in 2020 There’s strong consumer interest around hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products today. One in four Americans say they use CBD products on a daily or as-needed basis, and roughly 40 percent of U.S. adults aged 21 and over indicate a willingness to explore CBD under the right conditions. In light of the growing interest around CBD, several new consumer studies have been released recently. Here’s a look at some of the latest insights:

28% of Americans report using CBD products daily or as needed.

Pain, mental health and general wellness are the key reasons cited for usage.

Source: The CBD Effect: A Rapidly Emerging Consumer Trend, Acosta

THE CONSUMERS CURRENTLY DRIVING HEMP CBD SALES ARE:

Mostly female

Have families

Under 35 years old

(nearly six in 10)

(one in three)

(one in three)

More suburban and rural than urban

Source: Nielsen Cannabis Practice

POPULAR PRODUCT TYPES, ALL CURRENT USERS

Among current CBD users, baked goods is the most popular product type.

Baked Goods 40% Gummies 29% Vape Cartridge 23% Beauty Care 23% Concentrated Oil 23% Candy 22% Topicals 21% Chocolate 20% Vape Oil 20% Vape Pen 18% Pill 18% Tincture 17% Beverage 17% Concentrates 16% Honey 8% Source: The CBD Consumer Experience, High Yield Insights

KEY ATTRIBUTES CONSIDERED 52%

Product Form

41%

Potency

40%

39%

CBD Price Derivation

39%

Onset Time

26%

Duration

21%

Flavor

19%

Brand

CBD users first consider the product type when shopping for CBD products.

Source: The CBD Consumer Experience, High Yield Insights

78 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


The path to purchase has become infinite. We map the journey and give you back control.

Shopper Journey Ascendance™ from EIQ Insights & Innovation shows you how your customers navigate the omnichannel experience and empowers you with a strategic plan to influence behavior. Partner with us to master your view

SHOPPER JOURNEY

ASCENDANCE

TM

MAPPING TOUCHPOINTS, DRIVING ACTION

and elevate your performance. ascendance@ensembleiq.com

INSIGHTS & INNOVATION


Caetlyn Roberts Giant Food

Great companies need great women

E

ntry and mid-level women are leaving our industry at nearly twice the rate of men — senior-level women are leaving at nearly four times the rate of men.* NEW provides solutions that retain and develop great women leaders. Our learning programs, career development, conferences and local events help tens of thousands of women advance each year. Our insights, best practices and advocacy help transform organizations and create a better industry workplace for all. Join our movement today at newonline.org. * Download our report

The Female Leadership Crisis Why women are leaving (and what we can do about it) newonline.org/crisis

Advancing all women. It’s just good business.


Profile for ensembleiq

CSN - Jan 2020  

CSN - Jan 2020