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VIEWPOINT By Don Longo, Editorial Director
Tobacco Far From Dead Category is still very important to convenience stores’ success
isten to some convenience store retailers talk about their tobacco category and you’d wonder why they bother to sell cigarettes at all. The conversation usually centers around rising taxes on both the federal and local level, FDA regulations, local anti-smoking ordinances and more. And at least one prominent investment analyst has predicted that electronic alternatives will surpass combustible smokes in sales within a few years. However, a look at the total tobacco category — including moist smokeless tobacco, cigars and electronic cigarettes — shows a product category that is huge in both revenue and volume, especially for the small amount of sales space it covers, and continually growing in sales. The latest figures from Nielsen on total U.S. convenience store sales of cigarettes, other tobacco products (OTP) and e-cigs show that the category grew by almost $368 million last year over 2013. That’s following a $430-million annual increase the prior year. More recently, Nielsen figures show c-store cigarette dollar sales were up 5.9 percent during the four-week period ended in mid-February. This increase represents a combination of pricing and equivalized unit growth. Plus, these figures don’t include the small but fastgrowing vapor products category at c-stores. So, while the tobacco category will always be a source of consternation for retailers for many of the reasons mentioned in the first paragraph, the tobacco category — including traditional cigarettes — will continue to be of critical importance to c-store retailers CSNews has been recognized with more editorial awards, including the prestigious Jesse H. Neal Award for business journalism, in the past six years than any other industry publication. 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 2008 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Best Single Issue, October 2007
for many years to come. Convenience Store News Senior Editor Melissa Kress explores the future of the tobacco category in this month’s cover story of our annual Tobacco Issue (see page 22). Kress outlines the expected aftermath of For comments, please contact this year’s Big Tobacco comDon Longo, Editorial Director, pany merger and what the at (201) 855-7606 or future will look like to firstname.lastname@example.org. ers of tobacco products. The bottom line is that adult smokers are very important c-store shoppers. They visit c-stores at a higher frequency than other customers and they often buy other high-margin items like coffee, prepared foods and snacks that inflate their total basket ring. Despite all the drawbacks, there are still many reasons to be optimistic about the tobacco category in the years ahead. CVS’ exit from the cigarette business should provide a boost to comparable sales figures this year. The initial retailer fears that the pending merger of two of the three biggest suppliers would have a negative impact on their business appear to have eased. And c-stores are still the preeminent place for adults to go for their tobacco needs — probably even more now than ever. The prospect of even more new products from more suppliers, employing new technologies for delivering nicotine and/or the smoking sensation to adult users, bodes well for the future of this both traditional and ever-changing category. CSN
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WWW.CSNEWS.COM | APRIL 2015 | Convenience Store News 3
CONTENTS April 2015
VOLUME 51/NUMBER 4
22 | COVER STORY PART I
Tobacco’s New Big 3
The merger of Reynolds and Lorillard, plus Imperial’s U.S. expansion, will bring a new dynamic to this crucial c-store category. PART II
32 | Burning Questions CSNews turns to thought leaders at Altria and Reynolds for answers on tobacco’s most pressing issues. PART III
36 | At the Present Time Vapor products are taking some back bar space, but cigarettes still rule tobacco.
INDUSTRY ROUNDUP 12 | March M&A Madness 14 | Eye on Growth 15 | Supplier Tidbits 16 | Retailer Tidbits 16 | Marketing Moves 18 | Competitive Watch 18 | Legislative Corner
HOW TO DO WORLD-CLASS FOODSERVICE 42 | How to Infuse Freshness & Health Into Your Offer 42 | Call to Action: Foodservice 101 44 | Call to Action: Foodservice 201 46 | Call to Action: Foodservice 301 Convenience Store News (ISSN 0194-8733; USPS 515-950) is published 12 times per year, monthly, by Stagnito Business Information, 570 Lake Cook Rd. Deerfield, IL 60015. Copyright © 2015 by Stagnito Business Information. All rights reserved. Subscriptions: One year, $93; two years, $152. One year, Canada, $110; two years, Canada, $175. One year, foreign, $150. Payable in advance with a bank draft drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. funds. Single copies, $10, except foreign, where postage will be added. Printed in U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at Deerfield, IL, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Convenience Store News, P.O. Box 1842, Lowell, MA 01853.
4 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
BREWED THE HARD WAY,
TO WORK HARD FOR YOU. The King of Beers is an asset on C-Store shelves. In fact, Budweiser accounts sell over $1.5 billion annually, meaning two cases of Budweiser are sold from small-format stores every second. It’s a brand with so much stopping power that 54% of shoppers can recall seeing Budweiser on display.* Contact your local distributor to get your Budweiser Brewed The Hard Way signage today.
* Sources: iri total convenience and drug, last 52 weeks IRI MULO, last 52 weeks ©2015 Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser® Beer, St. Louis, MO
CONTENTS CATEGORY MANAGEMENT FOODSERVICE
50 | Consumers Gravitating Toward Spicy C-stores should consider developing limited-time offers with ethnic, layered and novel ingredients. TOBACCO
54 | Train & Then Train Some More Education and training around the tobacco category should never end. TOBACCO
60 | Growing Sales the Natural Way Increasing consumer desire for natural products hits the tobacco category. CANDY & SNACKS
64 | Advocating for the Future of Candy NCA State of the Industry Conference lays out plan to continue the sweetest category’s growth. COLD VAULT
66 | Know Your Craft Trend awareness and good category execution are imperative for c-stores in the brew game. IN-STORE MERCHANDISING
70 | A Fresh-Looking Future Relatively few customers visit c-stores for produce today, but interest level is on the rise.
3 | Tobacco Far From Dead Category is still very important to convenience stores’ success. STORE SPOTLIGHT
74 | On Its New Mark Mark Oil Co. unveils a “non-standard” c-store design that highlights a safe environment.
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CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS AFFILIATIONS OUT & ABOUT
76 | New Name, Same Key Principles AWMA reveals identity change to Convenience Distribution Association at annual expo. OUT & ABOUT
78 | Equipment Suppliers Keep Pace With Foodservice Growth The NAFEM Show offers a wide variety of solutions. 6 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
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EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Edward Davidson ER Davidson & Associates (7-Eleven Inc., retired) Kyle McKeen Alon Brands Inc.
Richard Mione GPM Southeast Rick Crawford Green Valley Grocery
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Matt Paduano Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes
Jon Urbanik CST Brands Inc.
Jonathan Polonsky Plaid Pantries Inc.
Roy Strasburger Convenience Management Services Inc. Joe Hamza Tedeschi Food Shops Jack Lewis Village Pantry LLC
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The fastest growing* cigarette brand, made with natural tobacco, backed with a 100% product guarantee. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that simple. *STR from 2010 to 2014
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CSNEWS.COM ONLINE EXCLUSIVE
TOP 5 Daily News Headlines The most viewed articles online.
Category Snapshot: Beer
1 | Sheetz Begins Journey to 1,000 Stores With Sheetz Inc.’s 500th store opening now in its rear-view mirror, the convenience store retailer will begin its journey toward 1,000 stores and beyond. The company opened its 500th store in Thomasville, N.C., on Feb. 24 with a grandopening celebration attended by more than 1,000 members of the local community. 2 | Rumor Mill Churns Around Possible Exxon-BP Merger New rumors saying Exxon Mobil Corp. could buy BP plc began swirling in March. Speculation arose after Exxon sold $8 billion of debt in its biggest-ever bond offering.
The heavyweights of the beer category continue to dominate, but certain segments are seeing long-term challenges, according to new data and analysis provided to Convenience Store News from Nielsen. Premium light made up the largest beer segment within the total convenience channel in full year 2014 at 45-percent share. However, the segment has declined in both case volume and case share year over year since 2012. While flavored malt was a distant No. 2 at 13-percent share, it gained in case volume and case share over the same time period. For more exclusive stories, visit the Special Features section of www.csnews.com.
3 | 7-Eleven Waiving Franchise Fee on 200-Plus Stores For a limited time, 7-Eleven Inc. is waiving the franchise fee on a select number of its stores available for franchising in the United States. The Zero Franchise Fee Initiative could save an operator up to $80,000. President and CEO Joe DePinto introduced the move in Las Vegas at the 7-Eleven Experience, the company’s annual franchisee convention. 4 | CST Brands Continues to Reshape Its Portfolio CST Brands Inc. is incorporating stores purchased in separate deals from Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, Landmark Industries Inc. and Erickson Oil Products Inc., while selling off underperforming legacy stores, opening new stores and seeking new acquisitions. The company also opened a new San Antonio distribution center on Feb. 22, which serves approximately 600 of CST’s Corner Store locations. 5 | Nouria Energy Eyes New Branded C-store Concept Nouria Energy Corp. is partnering with brand agency and retail design consultancy CBX to create a unified brand identity and convenience store concept for its network of more than 125 locations. To assist with Nouria’s ongoing expansion, CBX will develop a store name and logo; car wash name and logo; store layout; building exterior and interior design that includes graphics, lighting, flooring and fixtures; and a proprietary foodservice program that reflects the needs and tastes of the chain’s customers.
The most viewed New Product online.
Game Leaf Cigars
Launched March 4, Game Leaf cigars give retailers and consumers who are “lost in the woods” a chance to “turn over a new leaf,” according to maker Swedish Match. Game Leaf cigars are designed to target value-conscious rolled leaf segment users and complement the Garcia y Vega 1882 brand. Game Leaf is available in four flavors — Sweet Aromatic, Wild Berry, Natural and Cognac — with suggested retail prices of two for 99 cents and a “Save on 2” FoilFresh pouch. Swedish Match Richmond, Va. (804) 787-5100 www.swedishmatch.com
Which of these will have the most significant impact on the tobacco category this year?
28% Growth of vapor products
Merger of Reynolds American and Lorillard
8 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
19% State & local regulation
6% New product innovation
Proﬁts are stacking up nicely. You know what else is stacking up nicely—the line at the register after customers see our new pre-packed display shipper. It’s no wonder, considering the W∑nderful® brand is now the #1 snack nut item in convenience stores. We also ranked 11th among all salty snacks, including potato chips. Our multi-SKU shipper offers all of our W∑nderful Pistachios and W∑nderful Almonds products in one convenient and compact ﬂoor display. How’s that for stacking up against the competition? Available through McLane, Core-Mark, US Foods, Sysco and regional distributors. Contact sales at 1-800-528- UTS (6887).
Scientiﬁc evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios or almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. See nutrition information for fat content. International LLC. All Rights Reserved. WONDERFUL, GET CRACKIN’, the Package Design and accompanying logos are registered trademarks of Paramount Farms International LLC. MB12368 Source: IRI Convenience 4 weeks ending 1-11-15.
INDUSTRYROUNDUP FAST FACT
March M&A Madness Alimentation Couche-Tard racks up three deals in one month Fifty-four percent of convenience store retailers are offering more vapor brands today vs. last year, while 43 percent are carrying the same amount of electronic cigarette brands. On average, retailers carry 4.3 brands of e-cigarettes and 3.1 brands of vapor products. Source: Convenience Store News Tobacco Retailer Study (page 36)
“I see [ITG Brands] really stepping into that third position more broadly. That is, not just in cigarettes, but in tobacco primarily because of its existing portfolio and presence in cigars and cigarettes.” — David Bishop, Balvor LLC (page 22)
t’s been a pretty active start to 2015 for Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. The Laval, Quebec-based retailer closed on its much anticipated acquisition of Cary, N.C.-based The Pantry Inc. on March 16. The move gives Couche-Tard more than 1,500 convenience stores across the Southeast, including The Pantry’s primary banner Kangaroo Express. The two powerhouse retailers reached a merger agreement on Dec. 18, just days after the news broke that The Pantry had quietly put itself for sale. The all-cash transaction was valued at $36.75 per share, with a total enterprise value of approximately $1.7 billion including debt assumed. Within what seemed like moments of sealing The Pantry deal, Couche-Tard began integrating the newly acquired stores into its network. “You know us. We are not wasting any time,” President and CEO Brian Hannasch said during the company’s 2015 fiscal thirdquarter earnings call on March 17. The acquisition will allow Circle K parent Couche-Tard to realize cost reductions of up to $85 million during the next 24 months, according to Hannasch. The Pantry will be “highly complementary to our existing network,” the chief execu-
12 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
tive said, and will grow “in-store and fuel volumes in this geographic area through the combination of business awareness, sharing of each company’s best practices and better supply conditions.” In another March move, Couche-Tard’s Circle K U.S. division agreed to purchase 21 convenience stores, 151 dealer fuel supply agreements and five development properties from Cinco J Inc. (d.b.a. Johnson Oil Co.), Tiger Tote Food Stores and their affiliates. And Couche-Tard’s M&A activity did not stop there. The retailer also inked a pact with A/S Dansk Shell to acquire its Danish retail, commercial fleet, commercial fuels, aviation and connected trading & supply products businesses. These businesses will be managed by Statoil Fuel and Retail A/S, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Couche-Tard. Shell’s Danish retail business comprises 315 sites, of which 225 are full-service stations, 75 are automated fuel stations and 15 are truck stops. Of the 315 sites, 140 are owned by Shell, 115 are leased from third parties, and 60 are dealer-owned. As part of the transaction, Couche-Tard will have the right to use the Shell brand in Denmark for up to 10 years under a trademark license agreement.
Quality, reliability, and creative designs are just some of the reasons BIC® is America’s #1 Lighter*. Don’t miss out on the proﬁts. Visit BICLighter.com.
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*Source: IRI C-MULO for the 52 weeks ending December 28, 2014
eye on growth n GPM Investments LLC took own-
n Northern Tier Energy LP’s
ership of 42 Road Ranger stores in Illinois, Iowa and Kentucky. All the stores will continue to operate under the Road Ranger brand at this time, and then transition to one of GPM’s existing brands in the future.
board of directors approved the construction of three new company-operated SuperAmerica locations in 2015. It will also add 14 franchise locations this year. n Now that its Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores LLC,
n American Gas and Oil (AGO) acquired five locations
in western Michigan from Meijer Inc. and converted them to the CITGO brand. The move builds on AGO’s expansion efforts launched this past summer. n TravelCenters of America
LLC (TA) bought the 20-location Little Store chain from Best Oil Co. This marks TA’s entry into the northern Minnesota market.
Tigermarket and Aloha Petroleum Ltd. acquisitions have been fully integrated into the business, Sunoco LP’s 2015 expansion plans include additional asset contributions from parent Energy Transfer Partners LP, purchase and sale leasebacks of Stripes stores, organic growth and opportunistic acquisitions. n Getty Realty is seeking to ramp
up its expansion activity this year with acquisitions ranging from $2 million to $3 million, up to $7 million or more.
14 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
supplier tidbits and trend reports for the salty snacks category.
n Lorillard Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and The
Altria Group Inc. subsidiary Philip Morris USA entered into tentative agreements to settle the “Engle progeny” lawsuits in U.S. federal courts. The cases arose from a 1994 class-action case on behalf of Florida residents and survivors of Florida residents who were injured or died from medical conditions allegedly caused by addiction to smoking.
n Just Born’s Mike and Ike brand celebrates its 75th
anniversary this year, while its Hot Tamales brand marks its 65th anniversary. Both candies will appear on shelves in vintage packaging and introduce new product innovations and partnerships.
n PepsiCo Inc. will continue
to leverage the benefits of coordinating its snack and beverage businesses through its “Better Together” plan. The company remains committed to keeping the two units separate.
n Vapor Corp. and Vaporin Inc. completed their merger.
The deal includes retail store chain The Vape Store. NASDAQ National Market-listed Vapor is the surviving entity of the merger. n SuperAmerica presented Land Mark Products Inc. with
n Management Science Associates and General Mills
Convenience are partnering to provide distributors access to manufacturer, brand and item performance
its 2014 Category Partner & Vendor of the Year Award. Land Mark was selected in part for its contributions to SuperAmerica launching a self-service pizza program.
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WWW.CSNEWS.COM | APRIL 2015 | Convenience Store News 15
retailer tidbits n CST Brands Inc. opened a new 365,000-square-foot
distribution center in San Antonio. The 77-acre site will also house CST’s headquarters, the CST Service Center, starting in 2016. n Lykins Energy Solutions
reached an exclusive deal to represent Gulf Oil in the greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky area. An advertising campaign with the theme, “The Legend is Back,” was set to begin in early March. n The Parker Cos. moved into a new
15,000-square-foot headquarters at the historic Philbrick-Eastman House overlooking Chippewa Square in downtown Savannah. n Kwik Trip Inc. won a Focus on Energy 2015
Excellence in Energy Efficiency Award. The retailer has completed more than 1,000 energy efficiency projects at more than 250 store locations and manufacturing facilities since 2006.
n Sheetz Inc. opened a
15,000-square-foot restaurant/grocery store with no fuel offer at West Virginia University — the first of its kind. Sheetz plans to open a second location under this new non-fuel concept in State College, Pa., near Penn State University. n Propel Fuels Inc. added Diesel HPR
(high performance renewable) fuel at 18 of its locations in northern California. This marks the first time this fuel has been sold at retail in North America. n Enmark Stations is partnering with FreshOne to
launch a custom fresh-food program at 37 stores in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. n E-Z Mart Stores Inc. selected
PriceAdvantage software to drive fuel pricing automation at its 286 convenience stores in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
marketing moves n Speedway LLC is teaming up with the
Hoosier Lottery to give away prizes to Speedy Rewards members in Indiana through April 29. Prizes include free gas for a year, $1,000 worth of gas and scratch-off lottery tickets. n Parker’s unveiled a new
website that includes centralized account information for its PumpPal program; an expanded news section; real-time job postings; and integrated social media.
n Kangaroo Express and
Monster Energy have joined forces to offer $60 in ticket savings to fans of the Carolina Rebellion music festival, as well as the chance to win the ultimate fan package for the two-day event taking place May 2-3. n Quality Oil Co. LLC inked a deal with ZipLine to
roll out a consumer ACH/debit card. Customers will receive an instant rollback at the pump when using the new Super Saver card. n 7-Eleven Inc. launched 7Rewards,
n BP America Inc. improved its Driver Rewards loyalty
program and credit card processing technology to help BP marketers accept EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) credit/debit cards and mobile payments.
16 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
a new loyalty platform on the 7-Eleven mobile app that allows customers to receive a free beverage for every six purchased.
competitive watch n Save-A-Lot, the hard-
discount grocery banner of Supervalu Inc., opened 13 new stores in eight states over the past month. The new stores place a focus on fresh items. n Dollar General Corp. opened stores in Oregon, Maine
and Rhode Island, all new states for the chain. The moves boost its footprint to a total of 43 states. n Starbucks Corp. launched its Mobile Order & Pay
platform in the Pacific Northwest at participating locations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. It also intends to start delivering to customers in select parts of Seattle and New York City later this year. n Giant Eagle Inc. shuttered all eight of its value grocery
stores, operated under the Good Cents Grocery + More banner in Pennsylvania and Ohio. n Dunkin’ Donuts is testing mobile ordering and will
debut it sometime this year in select markets. The chain is also enhancing its mobile app to provide guests with new levels of speed and convenience.
legislative corner n President Barack Obama vetoed
a bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans are “not even close” to backing down on the legislation. n A Colorado bill that would have blocked processors
from collecting swipe fees on the state’s sales tax met its end in the legislature’s House Finance Committee. The committee also defeated a call to study the issue. n NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel
Retailing, and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers sent a letter to the National Association of Attorneys General emphasizing a willingness to discuss ways that fuel marketers and retailers can work to ensure compliance with state and federal laws regarding synthetic drugs.
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22 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
The Future of Tobacco
By Melissa Kress
lot of questions surround the planned merger of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) and Lorillard Inc. and the expansion of Imperial Tobacco Group plc to a larger portion of the U.S. tobacco business. As of press time, the industry was still waiting to see if the deal gets final federal approval, but what convenience store retailers really want to know now is what’s in it for them. Questions about the fallout of the deal began popping up almost as soon as the merger was announced this past summer. On July 15, RAI and Lorillard revealed — after months of industry speculation — that the two companies would become one. The pending merger is not so cut and dried, though. In fact, four companies play key roles in the agreement: Lorillard, RAI, Imperial Tobacco Group and British American Tobacco (BAT). Under the proposed deal structure, WinstonSalem, N.C.-based RAI will buy Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard for $27.4 billion and keep the Newport brand, which represents 90 percent of Lorillard’s existing sales and profitability, as well as the True and Old Gold brands. United Kingdombased BAT, RAI’s largest shareholder, will maintain its 42-percent ownership in RAI through an investment of approximately $4.7 billion. Once that transaction closes, Imperial Tobacco will pay $7.1 billion for the Winston, Kool and Salem brands from RAI and the Maverick and blu eCig brands from Lorillard. These acquisitions will build on Imperial’s existing U.S. portfolio at Commonwealth-Altadis, which currently accounts for a 3-percent share of the U.S. market, principally through the USA Gold brand. In addition, United Kingdom-based Imperial will acquire Lorillard’s infrastructure, which includes the company’s manufacturing facility, headquarters offices, research and development facility, and approximately
2,900 employees. Hereafter, Imperial’s new U.S. subsidiary will be known as ITG Brands LLC and be based in Greensboro. In terms of the merger’s status, RAI and Lorillard certified substantial compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s request for additional information on Dec. 31 and entered into a timing agreement with the FTC to extend the normal 30-day waiting period for a “limited period of time” before consummating the deal, according to Bonnie Herzog, managing director of tobacco, beverage and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC. “We think this should be viewed as positive and could suggest the parties are cooperating nicely and negotiations are progressing toward ultimate FTC approval with very minor modifications, if any,” Herzog explained in early March. The companies continue to expect the deal to close in the first half of 2015. If regulatory issues remain outstanding as of July 15, the “end date” of the merger would be automatically extended by six months, she added. Bigger & Broader
Upon completion, the top U.S. tobacco companies, commonly referred to as the “Big Three,” will see some big changes — notably a new player and a shift in power. Up to this point, the order has been Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Distribution Co., followed by RAI and then Lorillard. If all goes according to plan, post-merger ITG Brands will be a broader No. 3 player in the tobacco business compared to what Lorillard ever was, according to David Bishop, managing partner of Balvor LLC, a sales and marketing firm based in Barrington, Ill. For the most part, he explained, Lorillard was a cigarette manufacturer that eventually moved into electronic cigarettes with its April 2012 acquisition of blu, but kept that separate. ITG Brands will be a different story. Post-merger, it
WWW.CSNEWS.COM | APRIL 2015 | Convenience Store News 23
The Future of Tobacco
will have a much broader and deeper bench. It picks up an e-cigarette in the United States with an established brand. The company already has a market share presence in cigars. And while it is not in smokeless tobacco today, its parent company does have products internationally that ITG could possibly introduce into the U.S. market, very similar to what Swedish Match did with General snus. “I see [ITG Brands] really step-
We think this [FTC extension for consummating their merger agreement] should be viewed as positive and could suggest the parties [RAI and Lorillard] are cooperating nicely and negotiations are progressing toward ultimate FTC approval with very minor modifcations, if any.” — Bonnie Herzog, Wells Fargo Securities
ping into that third position more broadly. That is, not just in cigarettes, but in tobacco primarily because of its existing portfolio and presence in cigars and cigarettes,” said Bishop, whose firm provides analytic, consulting, research and sales support services to retailers and product suppliers. As for RAI, the acquisition of Newport will be an extremely beneficial addition to its portfolio. “Newport is the No. 2 cigarette brand. It is a brand that has continued to grow market share for the last several years. It is a brand that really has, for the most part, gone against the industry trend for year-overyear decline in pack sales,” he said. “It does complement what Reynolds does offer already in the menthol space, and [Reynolds] can benefit by helping accelerate distribution and national availability of Newport with its own sales force.” The industry saw that effect when Reynolds rolled out VUSE, its digital vapor cigarette. “VUSE really benefited from the sales and distribution muscle
24 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
Reynolds had on the street, which is no different from what Lorillard had. The key is: this gives Reynolds — besides the No. 2 brand — more clout at the table,” Bishop explained. Cigarette Shakeup
The most substantial shift from the new Big Three is expected to occur in the cigarettes category. ITG will have a bifurcated brand architecture now with the acquired brands. Commonwealth-Altadis has been primarily a price value branded company. With the acquisition of the Reynolds brands — Winston, Kool and Salem — ITG is moving up to branded discount and premium, depending on how the company positions those brands. “What’s clear from what I can see with [ITG Brands is that] it is going to leverage the strength of the Winston brand to go national,” Bishop pointed out. “Before that, it was really more regionalized in a couple pockets of the country. Beyond leveraging the Winston brand nationally, it is obviously going to leverage the national scope that blu has.” ITG’s investment will primarily be behind those two core brands, Bishop believes. Increased support behind Winston could give ITG Brands a “fighting chance,” Herzog said. Wells Fargo Securities had previously learned from its retailer contacts that Reynolds performed a test on Winston in 2012, giving the brand greater marketing and promotional support, which resulted in a “small surge” in the brand, she explained. “We believe Reynolds performed this test on Winston in an effort to ‘prove’ that it has brand equity and can therefore show some signs of life and take share if given a ‘little love,’” said Herzog, adding that Wells Fargo Securities believes this “evidence” has been provided to the Federal Trade Commission to show that ITG Brands has the ability to maintain and possibly grow its share as it focuses on and increases support behind Winston. Adding Maverick to its brand portfolio will also bode well for ITG Brands. The move gives the company the No. 1 discount brand and puts it in an interesting position as it can now appeal to the very price conscious and more brand conscious consumer in that space, Bishop said. “The old adage in cigarettes was if you owned the bottom, you could manage the top. It’s kind of an interesting dynamic,” he remarked. The dust will need to settle on the integration
VIS T U S AT NIA T O BOOTH # 905
The Future of Tobacco
post-merger, but what will make the transition easier is the fact that ITG Brands has an established sales force in Lorillard that is going to come onboard, especially given that two of the four major brands it is acquiring were already in the sales force and the other two have very strong equity that were just under-invested in because they were not the focus or core brands of their predecessors, Bishop cited.
What’S in it for Me?
With all the moving parts, it wouldn’t be surprising if people get lost in the details. However, what matters most to convenience store retailers is the impact on their tobacco business. An exclusive tobacco retailer study conducted by Convenience Store News found that almost half of respondents think the RAI-Lorillard merger will have no effect on their tobacco business. Another 25 percent think it is too soon to tell what the impact will be. “We are in discussions with [R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.] about it,” one retailer said. “Philip Morris is still the big elephant in the room. I honestly don’t think it will have any effect on us.” In addition, 58 percent of the Altria Group Distribution Co. c-store retailers surveyed said the Headquarters: Richmond, Va. emergence of ITG Brands as the new Leadership: Chairman, CEO and President Martin J. Barrington No. 3 player will have no effect on Operating companies: Philip Morris USA, John Middleton, U.S. their tobacco business. Some retailers Smokeless Tobacco Co., Nu Mark, Ste. Michelle Wine did point out, though, that they expect Key cigarette brands: Marlboro, L&M, Parliament, Virginia Slims to see more support behind acquired Key OTP brands: Black & Mild, Copenhagen, Skoal, brands like Winston, Salem and Kool. MarkTen, Green Smoke “I’m looking forward to it because they are getting a couple of brands with Reynolds American Inc. potential: Winston and Kool,” one retailHeadquarters: Winston-Salem, N.C. er commented. “This will mitigate the Leadership: President and CEO Susan Cameron loss of competition from the ReynoldsOperating companies: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., American Lorillard merger.” (For more of the study Snuff Co. LLC, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc., findings, see page 36.) Niconovum USA Inc., Niconovum AB, R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. As Bishop pointed out, ITG Brands Key cigarette brands: Newport, Camel, Pall Mall, Doral, will throw a lot of support behind Misty, Capri, Natural American Spirit Winston and blu in the marketplace. Key OTP brands: Grizzly, Kodiak, Cougar, Zonnic, VUSE This will most likely come in the form of price promotion for Winston, which ITG Brands LLC (a subsidiary of Imperial will be a net benefit for the retailer. As Tobacco Group plc) for blu, support will probably be in Headquarters: Greensboro, N.C. building a broader awareness and adopLeadership: Chief Executive David Taylor tion off the good base Lorillard has Key cigarette brands: USA Gold, Kool, Salem, Winston, Maverick already established. Key OTP brands: blu eCigs, Montclair, Dutch Masters, With brands changing hands, retailers Backwoods, Phillies should expect to be faced with a tougher *Transactions pending as of press time; information based on proposed structure. choice between retailer programs: Altria’s Marlboro Leadership Price (MLP) program vs. Reynolds’ Every Day Low Price (EDLP) program. The decision has usually hinged on what the retailer’s market share is with one manufacturer vs. the other, according to Bishop.
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26 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
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The Future of Tobacco
“Typically — not always, but typically — what happened was retailers would elect to go with Altria primarily because it had a larger share and there was more financial benefits from doing so. That made it very challenging for Reynolds to expand its EDLP program when wholesalers and retailers were looking at the alternatives and saying it just doesn’t make sense to give up control of my space for what I’m getting,” he said. Post-merger, Reynolds should improve its presence at retail through its
While Altria is still No. 1, you now have a faster, stronger No. 2. To that end, that is better for the retailer because now they have more viable options to consider. Because of that, the market power begins to shift; though it doesn’t fip, it starts to shift. That is a net positive for the retailer.” — David Bishop, Balvor LLC
EDLP program and that’s a positive for retailers because it will cause Altria to be more competitive in those situations. Ultimately, the retailer benefits from tougher competition between No. 1 and No. 2. “While Altria is still No. 1, you now have a faster, stronger No. 2. To that end, that is better for the retailer because now they have more viable options to consider. Because of that, the market power begins to shift; though it doesn’t flip, it starts to shift. That is a net positive for the retailer,” the Balvor executive explained. In turn, Bishop expects ITG Brands will likely assume the position Lorillard played in the No. 3 spot, which was to have more accommodating and retailfriendly programs, be more flexible and be more willing to work with the retailers. “I don’t know if, in fact, that is going to be the case. But just looking at history and knowing where they’re going to be with this relative position in terms of market share, I would assume ITG Brands would
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take advantage of existing opportunities and lessons learned from how Lorillard built its business in the No. 3 position,” he said. According to a Wells Fargo Securities Tobacco Talk survey released on March 9, retailers are positive overall on the leadership news that Lorillard’s Chief Financial Officer David Taylor will lead the newly formed ITG Brands. Taylor’s prior experience with premium brands is expected to help ITG Brands grow, although some retailers believe a finance chief at the helm could be detrimental to running a business, Herzog stated. More iS Better
From the perspective of the retailer, increased competition in the tobacco supplier community is good. It will make their pricing that much more competitive, helping draw more consumers from the respective markets into their stores because of that promotional activity, Bishop said. “Those retailers who comply or participate in those programs are likely to win a little more share within their respective marketplaces,” he said. “If that does play out that way, the retailers will end up in those respective pools, if you will, making more gross profit dollars on cigarettes and most likely on other products given the basket that goes along with cigarettes.” While Bishop thinks it has been instrumental and imperative that there is a strong No. 3, he believes it is more important that there’s a stronger No. 2 now. The strong No. 3 is key for maybe competitive purposes from a government regulatory environment component. But at a minimum, retailers know they always have to have two, he pointed out. “You can look at packaged beverages: Coke vs. Pepsi. You can look at beer: it was Anheuser-Busch vs. Miller. There always has to be a real two in the fight. The third, not that they are inconsequential, but they generally are the thought leader, the more adaptive player, the more flexible one,” he said, citing that the industry sees this with Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The same thing holds true in other categories, such as candy. “The No. 3 wins share based on thought leadership, based on retailer collaboration, based on things other than simply market power. I think that’s the role Imperial/ITG Brands will continue to fill, which was really dominated by Lorillard up this point,” he said. “The key point is Reynolds becomes stronger compared to Altria, and that’s a net benefit to the retailer and a net benefit to the consumer. I don’t discount a No. 3, but more importantly the market needs a strong No. 2.”
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The Future of Tobacco
Burning Burn r ing CSNews N turns to thought leaders at Altria and Reynolds for answers on tobacco’s most pressing issues By Melissa Kress
s the makeup of the “Big Three” tobacco companies is poised to change, so too is the overall tobacco industry landscape — shaped by the fast-evolving desires of today’s consumers. Convenience Store News spoke with Mike Auger, executive vice president, trade marketing at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJRT), and Blake Benefiel, director, trade and state relations at Altria Group Distribution Co. (AGDC), to get their views on what the future holds. RJRT is a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI). AGDC is a subsidiary of The Altria Group Inc. CSNews: How is your company evolving as today’s tobacco consumer changes? Auger: Driving innovation and redefining enjoyment for adult tobacco consumers are key parts of the “Transforming Tobacco” vision of RAI’s operating companies. That includes offering a variety of products for adult tobacco consumers to consider, from combustible cigarettes, heat-not-burn technology and moist snuff, to modern smoke-free products like snus and vapor. Benefiel: That’s a good question. Our tobacco companies’ research tells us that 50 percent of adult tobacco consumers are interested in trying innovative tobacco products. Their job is to develop the products adult consumers are looking for. E-vapor products like MarkTen or MarkTen XL [from Nu Mark, Altria’s e-vapor and innovation company] are examples, but changing preferences influence other categories, too.
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For example, in smokeless tobacco, we’ve introduced pouch products and other easy-to-manage forms. CSNews: Will there be more of a focus on alternative tobacco products this year? Auger: At the moment, Zonnic [a nicotine replacement therapy gum] is available nationally and REVO [a cigarette that uses heat-not-burn technology] became available statewide in Wisconsin in February. While I won’t speculate on future expansion, I will say that as adult tobacco consumer preferences evolve, RAI’s operating companies will be working to meet those changing expectations while continuing to innovate. Benefiel: Nu Mark’s goal is to be a leader in that space in the long term and it believes a portfolio approach is wiser than a single technology bet. MarkTen XL is a good example of Nu Mark strengthening its product portfolio. Its plan is for MarkTen XL to begin shipping into a lead market in the second quarter. CSNews: Does the rise of alternative tobacco products, notably vapor, spell the end of traditional cigarettes? Auger: Absolutely not. Traditional cigarettes continue to be very important to RJRT and our c-store partners, now and in the future. Adult smokers tend to visit c-stores at a higher frequency than many other consumers and they often purchase other high-margin items within their market basket along with their tobacco products. We see the growing interest in other tobacco products, vapor, moist snuff and snus as part of the transformation of tobacco. Alternative product
The Future of Tobacco
innovation will continue to be a strength for RAI’s operating companies, but we believe that cigarettes will continue to be the primary driver of volume and profit in the tobacco category. Benefiel: Our companies estimate approximately $2 billion in e-vapor consumer spending in 2014. But when compared to the $86 billion in estimated total tobacco spending, it is very small. Ultimately, the category is likely to be shaped by many factors, including adult consumer interest and regulatory and other policy decisions. Adult tobacco consumers are certainly interested in innovative products. Even though awareness of e-vapor products is high, today’s e-vapor products generally are falling short of meeting consumers’ expectations, which leads to relatively low rates of adoption. CSNews: How do you work with retailers to manage a category that’s so in flux? Auger: Tobacco products still draw major foot traffic into c-store locations every day. As consumer preferences shift, our trade representatives work closely with our retail partners to understand the trends in their markets and maintain the flexibility to address growth segments within the space allocated to the tobacco category without sacrificing profit drivers like traditional cigarettes. Benefiel: One of the questions AGDC gets a lot is: How much space should retailers give e-vapor products? We start by telling them that consumer interest in the category is real and growing. We also encourage retailers to keep the category in perspective, and remind them that it’s still the early days and they need to balance the size of their e-vapor merchandising sets with their other tobacco categories. Each day, AGDC’s
Our tobacco companies’ research tells us that 50 percent of adult tobacco consumers are interested in trying innovative tobacco products. Their job is to develop the products adult consumers are looking for.” — Blake Benefel, Altria Group Distribution Co.
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field sales force meets with thousands of retailers with one goal in mind — to help our retailer partners responsibly grow their business. That starts by listening and understanding their business goals and how the tobacco category fits within their plans. CSNews: What steps can c-store retailers take to not lose the sales, profit and foot traffic that the tobacco category has traditionally generated? Auger: Adult tobacco consumers shop more frequently, averaging two or more visits per week or higher, but you have to have the right mix of products that your consumers want in order to keep them coming back. Proper inventory management is equally important in retaining these valuable consumers. Take the time to under-
Alternative product innovation will continue to be a strength for RAI’s operating companies, but we believe that cigarettes will continue to be the primary driver of volume and proft in the tobacco category.” — Mike Auger, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
stand the trends in your market and take advantage of the opportunities within segments that are growing such as moist snuff, vapor and snus. It also helps to educate store personnel about the products and what’s happening with the brands so they can have informed conversations with their adult tobacco consumers. Benefiel: [Retailers must] keep their customers front and center, and make sure they’re paying attention to their needs. Our tobacco companies want to partner with their customers to help them get the most out of their tobacco category. And one of the best ways to do that is by focusing on sound category management principles: eliminating out-of-stock situations; merchandising our most popular brands in preferred positions; clearly communicating price and promotional offers; and deterring access by underage purchasers.
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The Future of Tobacco
At the Present Time Vapor products are taking some back bar space, but cigarettes still rule tobacco By Melissa Kress
lectronic cigarettes and vapor products draw the most attention in any conversation today about the tobacco category. However, to concentrate only on these emerging â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and rapidly changing â&#x20AC;&#x201D; segments is an injustice to the other products residing on the back bar. An exclusive tobacco retailer study conducted by Convenience Store News found that 100 percent of the convenience store operators surveyed carry cigarettes and other tobacco products (OTP) in their stores. Slightly less, at 91.1 percent, carry electronic cigarettes and only a little more than two-thirds of the retailers carry vapor products.
In terms of category performance, while retailers reported that the net change in cigarette unit sales was down 2.5 percent, the majority of retailers noted that their cigarette unit sales on a per-store basis either increased or stayed the same in 2014 vs. 2013. Only 21.3 percent reported decreases, which were large enough to pull the average to a decline. The retailers painted a similar picture for OTP dollar sales, with only 17.6 percent reporting a decrease in the same time period. (CSNews did not poll retailers about their cigarette dollar sales because taxes vary so widely from state to state.) Breaking down OTP by segment, just about half of respondents (52.6 percent) said their smokeless tobacco dollar sales increased from 2013 to 2014 and
CIGARETTE UNIT SALES, 2014 vs. 2013
OTP DOLLAR SALES, 2014 vs. 2013
Stayed the same
Stayed the same
Net change -2.5%
Net change 5.0%
Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2015
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Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2015
The Future of Tobacco
a little less said their cigar dollar sales increased (41.6 percent). Both segments, however, notched noticeable declines for other respondents: 37.7 percent for cigars and 32.9 percent for smokeless tobacco. The CSNews retailer study also found more evidence that the e-cigarette segment is beginning to
level off. About a quarter of respondents said their e-cigarette dollar sales â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which includes disposables, rechargeables, kits and cartridges â&#x20AC;&#x201D; remained the same year over year, while 18.3 percent said their sales had actually decreased. Not surprisingly, the majority of retailers (62.3 percent) reported an increase in dollar sales of vapor products, which includes vaporizers, SHELF SPACE ALLOCATION vape pens and e-liquids. That jump could be (change compared to previous year) a result of more retailers now offering vapor products. For example, 18.9 percent of responIncreased Decreased Stayed the same dents indicated they added vapor products to Cigarettes 9.9% 25.4% 64.8% their lineup less than six months ago, 24.5 Smokeless tobacco 23.9 8.5 67.6 percent added them six to 12 months ago, Cigars 21.7 11.6 66.7 and 52.8 percent added them in the past one Papers 6.3 12.7 81.0 to two years. On average, survey respondents Pipe/cigarette tobacco 11.9 13.6 74.6 first started offering vapor Electronic cigarettes 47.7 9.2 43.1 products 1.2 years ago. Vapor products 53.1 4.1 42.9 As further evidence of All other OTP 9.2 6.2 84.6 e-cigarettes leveling off and Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2015 vapor products exploding onto the scene, 54.2 percent of the participating retailers WHEN DID YOUR STORES START OFFERING said they are offering more E-CIGARETTES & VAPOR PRODUCTS? vapor brands today vs. last year, while 43.1 percent are E-Cigarettes Vapor Products carrying the same Less than 6 months ago 9.2% 18.9% amount of e-ciga6-12 months ago 10.5 24.5 rette brands. On 1-2 years ago 46.1 52.8 average, retailers 3-4 years ago 26.3 1.9 carry 4.3 brands of 5 years ago or longer 7.9 1.9 electronic cigarettes Average 2.2 years 1.2 years and 3.1 brands of Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2015 vapor products. Shelf space allocation in TYPES OF E-CIGARETTES & VAPOR PRODUCTS OFFERED the stores is shifting as the popularYes, all Yes, but not No, but No, and not ity of the various tobacco segments stores do all stores considering planning to add ebbs and flows. Just about half Single-units, rechargeable 94.1% 5.9% 0.0% 0.0% of the respondents indicated they Single-units, disposable 89.6 6.0 3.0 1.5 are upping their space allocation Refill cartridges for e-cigarettes (47.7 percent) and (e.g. 3-, 5-, 6-, 10-pack) 86.8 8.8 0.0 4.4 vapor products (53.1 percent). Kits, basic/express 80.3 7.6 1.5 10.6 Where are they finding the Kits, deluxe 57.8 15.6 4.7 21.9 space? According to the study Vaporizers (open system, results, 25.4 percent of the retailclosed system, vape pens, etc.) 53.7 13.4 7.5 25.4 ers have decreased cigarette E-liquids 41.5 10.8 7.7 40.0 space. While it may be easy to say E-cigars 31.7 4.8 14.3 49.2 e-cigarettes and vapor products E-hookahs 20.3 7.8 15.6 56.3 have moved into this real estate, Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2015
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The Future of Tobacco
AVERAGE NUMBER OF BRANDS OFFERED* Increased E-Cigarettes
Stayed the same Vapor Products
*Change compared to previous year Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2015
two-thirds of respondents said their allocation for cigarettes has stayed the same. Cigars, papers and pipe/cigarette tobacco have all seen double-digit
Convenience Store News conducted a survey among convenience store retailers on the current status of their tobacco programs. Responses from a total of 90 retailers are included in these results. A total of 59 percent of respondents represent chains (two or more units), while 41 percent are single-store operators. Respondents operate an average of 121 units. All respondents carry cigarettes and other tobacco products at their stores, while 91 percent have electronic cigarettes and 69 percent carry vapor products.
decreases in shelf space, so the shift is more than likely being spread out across several segments. Interestingly, though, not all vapor products are created equal in c-stores. While a sizeable number of retailers said they currently carry e-liquids, e-cigars and e-hookahs, just as many if not more said they do not and don’t plan to add them to their tobacco category mix. CSN
The Good, the Bad & the Non-Issue n one form or another, price is playing a positive role in convenience store retailers’ tobacco category performance. Of the retailers surveyed by Convenience Store News, many cited coupons, promotions and pricing as having the biggest positive impact on the business. “Competitiveness between brands is leading to a lot of discounting,” one retailer pointed out. Others credited innovation in the tobacco space, such as electronic cigarettes and foil packaging for cigarillos. “The past year has seen three to four good innovations,” one retailer stated. Innovation in established brands was cited by another retailer as key. “Every time they bring out a different type of Marlboro, it lifts our sales,” this respondent said. Other positive factors on their tobacco business, according to retailers, include falling gas prices, low state excise taxes, and the rise in e-cigarettes and vapor products. But it’s not all roses. Prices were also cited as having the biggest negative impact on the tobacco category’s performance. Higher taxes, price hikes and a depressed general economy were called out by some retailers in the negative column. Regulation, or the lack thereof, is also figuring into the
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tobacco category’s health. Several retailers pointed to the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed deeming regulations of electronic cigarettes and cigars as a major driver of uncertainty in the category. Others cited increased regulations at the state and local levels as detriments. “Cities limiting where people can smoke and all the bloody laws in California,” one retailer remarked when asked about current tobacco category challenges. One factor that is having less of an impact than some may have anticipated a year ago is CVS Health Corp.’s exit from the tobacco business. Of the retailers surveyed by CSNews, only 18.2 percent said they have seen an increase in their tobacco business since the drugstore chain pulled all tobacco products from its shelves in late summer; 39.4 percent said they have seen no increase. For nearly half of respondents (42.4 percent), CVS’ move has been a non-issue because the chain does not operate any stores in their area. For at least one respondent, though, the move has been a definite plus. When asked what is having the biggest positive impact on the category’s performance, this retailer noted: “Other channels of trade leaving the market. CVS was direct competition for us in some markets and we gained as a result of its leaving.”
Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages
How to Infuse Freshness & Health Into Your Offer By Maureen Azzato
Call tO aCtIOn: Foodservice 101
• Create a fresh-focused program offering whole fruit, prepackaged sandwiches with healthy ingredients such as whole wheat or whole grain breads (never frozen sandwiches), yogurt parfaits, salads, etc. • Use bold graphics and signage to communicate your “fresh” offering, whether it is about your coffee, bakery items, sandwiches, etc. • Use the word “fresh” in as many places as possible where it is true — on in-store signage, menu boards, napkins and coffee cups.
resh” is the key to future convenience store foodservice growth, and it should be a brand positioning and marketing driver for operators serious about the prepared food business. Today’s c-store customer expects and seeks fresh food, yet that doesn’t necessarily translate to them ordering healthier fare. It’s probably more helpful to look at “fresh” and “healthy” attributes separately because they are not interchangeable, according to Convenience Store News’ How To Crew of foodservice experts. For example, fried chicken can be made fresh daily from never-frozen poultry, but it’s not healthy. Likewise, although a frozen, organic low-fat entrée may be healthy, it is not fresh. In fact, at this juncture in convenience stores, most experts say freshness should take center stage over healthy. While offering healthy menu options today is a good idea, it will become increasingly important in the future as Millennials — the 18- to 34-year-old health-conscious and clean-label-seeking demographic group — become the next generation of parents. “Healthy is a lot tougher to do than fresh,” one How To Crew expert said. “Freshness continues to play more and more of a role. Almost everything we do now has freshness in mind. Once customers start seeing ‘fresh,’ they will begin to believe it as long as they don’t purchase something that is not fresh. Putting the word ‘fresh’ on a poor quality item can have a very negative effect.”
42 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages
So, how should a convenience store operator go about communicating freshness in its offering? Start by offering fresh food options such as whole fruit, cut fruit, salads, yogurt, freshbaked pastries and cookies, etc., and communicate and merchandise freshness heavily. “Some of this is sensory, like a fresh baking aroma that could be as simple as making fresh cookies,” another How To Crew member explained. Another idea is “open kitchens so customers can see how and by whom their food is being prepared. Use as many fresh touchpoints as possible from cutting ingredients to stirring, mixing, assembly of food, fresh breads, and using ovens instead of microwaves. The rest is image and things that would easily be associated with a restaurant, including trade dress, color schemes, photos and attractive menus.” Fresh-food graphics and merchandising are key to conveying the “right freshness message,” according to Maurice Minno, principal of MPM Consulting Group and CSNews How To Crew member. “One of the best ways for c-store operators to make believers out of their customers is to walk the talk.” Operators, according to Minno, should: • Incorporate bold fresh-food merchandising (food displays, graphics, photography and story board messaging, etc.) that engages as many customer senses as possible — sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. • Constantly change and innovate their fresh-food merchanFoodservice 201 dising displays. • Offer new fresh • Develop a fresh and healthy strategy and healthy fast to create a point of difference. foods (snacks and • Add a commissary- or wholesaler-deliventrees) “that ered fresh-cut fruit and veggie program. scream both fresh • Consider building a fresh sub-brand and healthy,” such in your foodservice offering that as a bountiful disstrongly communicates your commitplay of fresh apples, ment to fresh. bananas or pears; • Enhance your product descriptions. packaged fresh Research indicates food items with refrigerated snacks descriptive labels sell better than food such as Crunch with plain labels. Pak’s Dipperz tart or • Advertise and market your commitsweet sliced apples ment to fresh everywhere. with a caramel dip or peanut butter;
Call tO aCtIOn:
44 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
Chiquita’s Bites or Ready Pak’s Ready Snax; or a variety of fruit, cheese and flatbread crackers, etc. • Use creative merchandising props and tactics that boldly make the statement that you are in the fresh and healthy foods business. Your merchandising should demonstrate your capabilities as a leading fresh foodservice merchant. • Regularly sample new fresh and healthy fast-food offers to customers. Ensure the sampling program is delivered by store teams who have been properly trained on the program as well as the specific food offers, and possess solid knowledge of and enthusiasm for the new products. “If a c-store retailer is not offering a fresh and healthy-oriented foodservice menu, this typically means they are providing the same generic me-too offer that every other c-store retailer in their immediate competitive sphere is providing,” Minno said. “That means the only competitive advantage these c-store retailers have vs. their direct competition is based on price — retailing all of the same generic products, but at lower, less profitable price points.” For leading companies willing to invest the time, energy and dollars, fresh and health can be important competitive differentiators, according to the CSNews How To Crew experts. “The biggest trick is not to upset your core customer who comes in and spends $5 to $10 a day three or five times a week, just to hopefully lure in a consumer who may want a yogurt parfait once a month,” one How To Crew retailer noted. “The best way to balance it is by trying to make everything more healthy, but making sure it still has very high acceptance to the core customer.” How do you strike that balance? “Really promote the ‘fresh’ image with signage and POP [point-of-purchase]
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Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages
and then sprinkling in some healthy items,” the retailer added. “All stores are a good target for fresh, however healthy depends on your customer traffic. For example, adding fruit to a store that has poor morning traffic can add up to a lot of spoilage and little recognition from customers.” In another example of how to promote fresh, this retailer pointed to a fried chicken program, not typically considered healthy. “Fried chicken isn’t healthy, but fresh fried chicken is the best,” he said, noting that an operator can increase the health quotient of fried chicken by letting customers know with signage on the hot case that the chicken is fried in trans-fat-free oil. “Now, that ‘fresh’ fried chicken becomes slightly more appealing to a healthconscious consumer.” a POInt OF DIFFEREnCE
While it may seem counterintuitive to offer fresh and healthy fast food — even if it’s just the perception of healthy and fresh — fast-casual restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bakery cafés, Au Bon Pain and others have been doing it for ages. “The key is supporting customer perceptions of fresh,” said How To Crew expert Mathew Mandeltort, corporate foodservice manager for distributor Eby-Brown Co. “Subway is a perfect example. Subway built an empire based on consumers’ perceptions of how fresh Subway’s sandwiches were made, with its ‘Eat Fresh’ advertising campaign, despite the fact Subway’s sandFoodservice 301 wiches are made entirely from pro• Consider offering local, organic, cessed deli meat.” clean-label and sustainable offerings The key, he such as Fair Trade. added, is consistent• Offer custom-made sandwiches and ly communicating salads, and add other non-fried fare to your fresh message. the core menu. “If nothing else, • Make combo meals that offer healthy you want to carve options, such as a side salad instead out a ‘fresh’ haven of regular sides (such as fries). in your store that • Know your marketing area and cuswill help create a tomer, and explore what healthy ‘fresh’ halo for other items might appeal to your specific items by using the markets. Then, look for items that you right packaging, the can effectively execute consistently in right phrases, the every store, every day. right ingredients and
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46 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
employing ‘fresh foodservice’ practices.” Healthy offerings are important because they communicate that retailers care for their customers’ wellbeing. However, when dining out, indulgence and convenience win out over healthy eating, which is more typically done at home, Mandeltort said, pointing to some recent statistics from foodservice consultancy and research company Technomic: • Forty-one percent of consumers consider their eating behavior at home to be very healthy. In comparison, fewer than half as many consumers (16 percent) said the same about their away-fromhome consumption behavior. • Forty-nine percent of consumers prefer to eat healthier at home and indulge more when dining out. • When asked about the last 10 times they purchased food from a restaurant, consumers reported they consider nearly six out of 10 of those meals (57 percent) to be “unhealthy.” Healthy also is more complex than fresh because different customer segments and demographics have different perceptions about healthy. For example, older customers might want low cholesterol, low calorie and low salt foods, while younger customers might want locally-sourced, organic or sustainable fare “that might be off the charts” from a calorie perspective, Mandeltort said. “Consider a fully loaded Chipotle steak burrito, which has almost 1,300 calories, 61 grams of fat and 2,620 milligrams of sodium in it,” he said. “The company has managed to steer full attention to its antibiotic- and hormone-free, non-GMO, grass-fed organic food to create a healthy, better-for-you halo. But that burrito accounts for half the calories an adult is supposed to have per day, a full day’s worth of fat and more than a day’s worth of sodium.” Healthy is tricky because it’s clearly “in the eye of the beholder.” It all comes down to knowing your customer and delivering the right options for them to consider.
Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages
takIng thE PlungE
While it may not be for everyone, c-store retailers can be known for bringing to market a fresh and healthy fast-food offering with the right strategic commitment and support, according to Minno. For those that want to take the plunge, he recommends the following steps: • Fully understand your customers, who they are (their profiles), and the needs and expectations they have from your stores, especially in terms of a healthy, fresh, fast-food offer. • Recognize how your customers shop in your stores on their specific “use occasions.” Understand their experiences in your stores and the path(s) they take on each of their shopping occasions. • Become an avid student of your stores’ competitive retail landscape by conducting disciplined, regular benchmarking of both your direct c-store competitors as well as all other retailers offering fresh and healthy fast food (fast feeders, mass merchandisers, grocery stores, etc.). • Identify and study the best-of-the– best healthy and fresh fast-food retailers. What is their offer? How specifically do they bring their offer to market (i.e. positioning in store, merchandising, graphics and offer communications)? What in-store fresh and healthy fast-food customer experiences are they delivering? How are they positioned to sustain this offer? How do you know if your store/ market is a good target for a healthy food offering? “A c-store operator’s customer demographic and customer-use profiles may well be the same across all of the chain’s stores,” Minno said. “More likely, however, a c-store retailer will have store clusters that will have some of the same core customer demographic and customer-use profiles that could be positioned for offering a healthy and fresh food offer.” Don’t make the mistake, though, of indiscriminately placing healthy items on store shelves and in food cases without thinking the program through from beginning to end. A half-hearted attempt that lacks commitment “is going to be transparent to customers,” Mandeltort said. “You need a strong, well-defined fresh/healthy
48 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
Our How To Crew David Bishop — Balvor LLC Ed Burcher — Burcher Consulting Joseph Chiovera — XS Foodservice & Marketing Tom Cook — King-Casey Jack W. Cushman — Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes Dean Dirks — b2b Solutions Eric Giandelone — Mintel Foodservice Kane Kulas — CSM Bakery Products Mathew Mandeltort — Eby-Brown Co. LLC Larry Miller — Miller Management & Consulting Services Maurice Minno — MPM Group Paul Pierce — Pure Plates Tim Powell — THINK Marketing Chad Prast — Murphy USA Inc. Bonnie Riggs — The NPD Group Jennifer Vespole — QuickChek Corp. Jerry Weiner — Rutter’s Farm Stores
message that spans in-store marketing, local store marketing, social media, packaging, labeling, etc. It’s really about developing a ‘fresh’ sub-brand.” And while most industry players acknowledge more consumers — especially women — would patronize convenience stores with greater frequency if healthy, better-for-you options were made available, this will become more imperative in the future as Millennials come of age. A recent report in USA Today, “Millennials Crave Convenience Stores Most of All,” indicates this important demographic is using c-stores as a dining option due to one primary factor: convenience. “Turns out that what you’ve heard and read about Millennials trading up from fast-food chains such as McDonald’s for fast-casual chains such as Chipotle is only half true,” the article stated, based on research USA Today conducted in partnership with The NPD Group. “The other half: Even more Millennials are trading down for food at convenience stores.” In fact, it turns out that convenience stores are nearly twice as important to Millennials when compared to fast-casual restaurants, according to the report, and their convenience store shopping frequency has been increasing every year since 2006. “Combined with their predilection for eating healthy, Millennials are clearly one of the primary drivers of healthy offerings for now and the foreseeable future,” in all food venues, Mandeltort concluded. CSn
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Category Trends + Insights from
Consumers Gravitating Toward Spicy C-stores should consider developing LTOs with ethnic, layered and novel ingredients
pice is hot — literally and figuratively. Technomic’s latest Flavor Consumer Trend Report found the majority of American consumers (54 percent) now prefer spicy foods and hot sauces, dips or condiments, compared to 48 percent in 2011 and 46 percent in 2009. Younger consumers are driving the trend. Convenience store operators are responding with spicy menu additions, particularly featuring new and interesting ingredients that give guests not merely a punch of heat, but new taste experiences By Donna Hood Crecca as well. Looking at recent c-store menu Senior Director, activity, we see a few patterns taking Technomic Inc. shape within the overarching trend toward email@example.com spicier foods. Ethnic ingredients are invigorating the spicy flavor landscape. Little known a few years ago,
Sriracha has hit the stratosphere, permeating menus across the entire food industry from casual dining to c-stores, and even in retail food products such as ketchup and popcorn. C-stores capitalizing on this trend include QuickChek Corp., which added Sriracha Chicken Bites to its offering. Beyond Sriracha, we see kimchi, chorizo and harissa on the foodservice horizon and likely to find their way onto c-store menus. Operators are layering spicy ingredients to deliver added heat and complexity. Becoming more common are limited-time offers (LTOs) with two, three and sometimes four spicy components that together make the sum hotter than its parts. GetGo’s new Buffaloaded sandwich amps up a classic combo by balancing Buffalo chicken dip and Buffalo chicken tenders with ranch sauce and ranch bread, while ampm’s recent Pepper Jack Cheeseburger
Consumer preferences for spicy foods
Consumer attitudes toward new flavors
How would you rate your preference for hot or spicy foods, in particular spicy sauces, dips or condiments?
How would you best describe your attitude toward trying new flavors?
(by age and year, top four box = 7,8,9 and 10)
% Overall = 46% (2009); 48% (2011); 54% (2013) I prefer sticking to my favorite flavors and rarely try new ones
55% 54% 42%
50 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
Base: 1,500 consumers aged 18-plus Source: The Flavor Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2013
I like trying new flavors of food from time to time
I actively seek out new flavors to try on a regular basis
Base: 1,500 consumers aged 18-plus (2009, 2011, 2013) Consumers indicated their opinion on a scale of 1–10, where 1=not spicy and 10=extremely spicy Source: The Flavor Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2013
71% 18% 19%
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Category Trends + Insights from
Spicy among fastest-growing flavors Fastest-growing flavors in appetizers and entrées at c-stores By incidence on menus
190.9% 157.1% 147.1%
Onion Cheddar Mexican
Base: 734 menu items on 38 c-store menus (Q4 2012); 1,473 menu items on 39 c-store menus (Q4 2014) Source: MenuMonitor, Technomic
LTO paired pepper jack cheese with jalapeños. Sheer novelty also works when bringing the heat — be it a new-kid-on-the-block ingredient like ghost peppers or contrasting sweet and spicy flavors in unexpected ways. Such is the case with Corner Store’s Sweet, Salty & Spicy Whoopie Pies with chocolate icing, Sriracha and pretzel pieces. As consumers gravitate more toward spicy flavors, c-stores are well-positioned to deliver the heat. Consider developing LTOs with ethnic, layered and novel ingredients to create excitement beyond the ordinary. The condiment bar also presents opportunities to add more spicy choices, thus allowing guests to experiment and customize their items. Of course, the added focus on spice calls for c-store operators to upsell cooling beverages. CSN
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52 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
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Cigarettes + Cigars + Smokeless + E-Cigs + Other OTP
Train & Then Train Some More Education and training around the tobacco category should never end By W.B. King
wo years ago, the U.S. Food & Drug Administra- ing the FDA for comment. The agency in June 2014 released a revised version of its “Tobacco Retailer tion (FDA) announced the release of “Tobacco Training Programs” guidance report. The 18-page Retailer Training Programs,” an offshoot of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control document covers issues such as provisions regarding sale and distribution; provisions regarding advertising Act. While this proverbial pipe was passed to retailers and promotion; and recommendations for training frein good faith, neither effort legally requires tobacco quency, methods and review. training programs for employees. A caveat at the top of the report reads: “This guid“The FDA has not yet issued retail training program standards,” said Thomas Briant, executive direc- ance represents the Food and Drug Administration’s current thinking on this topic. It does not create or contor of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets fer any rights for or on any person and does not oper(NATO). “NATO had recommended that ate to bind FDA or the public. You can use an the FDA adopt or endorse the We alternative approach if the approach satisfies Card program as meeting the train“There is an the requirements of the applicable statutes ing requirements of the Family ongoing need to raise and regulations.” Smoking Prevention and awareness of the states’ and For retailers new to the conveTobacco Control Act.” nience store industry, Briant said it is Founded in 1995, We Card’s the federal laws’ existence, incumbent they study the local, state goal is educating and training their requirements and the and federal laws to ensure they are in retailers about tobacco best consequences for failing compliance. “Generally, a retailer must practices. To date, the organizaobtain a local license from a city or tion has held more than 2,100 to comply.” county government to be able to legally classroom training sessions in all — Doug Anderson, sell tobacco products,” he said. “For 50 states, which included 350,000We Card this reason, a new retailer should plus owners, managers and frontbecome a member of a state and/or line employees, according to We Card national retail trade association to President Doug Anderson. More than 237 become educated about the requireregional, state and local trade associations, including ments of selling tobacco products.” NATO support the We Card program currently. “Before FDA’s enforcement authority for the Tobacco Control Act began in 2010, retailers had ViOlATiOns DeCreAse sAles to comply with state laws governing youth access to While the FDA does not require mandatory tobacco tobacco,” Anderson explained. “There is an ongoing training, there are consequences for failure to comply. need to raise awareness of the states’ and the federal A retailer’s first offense is mild: there is no monetary fee laws’ existence, their requirements and the conseand the issuance of a warning letter. If during the next quences for failing to comply.” 12 months another violation is realized, the retailer is Convenience Store News was unsuccessful in reach- charged $250. A third violation in the same timeframe
54 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
E L B A IL A V A
A U N JA
01 2 Y R
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT YOUR SWEDISH MATCH REPRESENTATIVE. 800-367-3677 firstname.lastname@example.org Â©2015 SWEDISH MATCH NORTH AMERICA, INC.
Cigarettes + Cigars + Smokeless + E-Cigs + Other OTP
raises the violation to $500, a fourth $2,000, fifth In an effort to enhance “The idea $3,600, and if a sixth offense occurs within 48 respective tobacco sales here is really simple. months, a $10,000 fine is levied. while ensuring regulation “The FDA can issue a no tobacco sales compliance, Altria sales Increasing the knowledge of the order, including banning the retailer from representatives provide store associate equals improved selling cigarettes, RYO [roll-your-own] and c-stores with a “leave performance in the smokeless tobacco, for five or more violabehind” sheet that feations in a 36-month time period,” Briant tures the slogan: Better tobacco category.” pointed out. Tools. Better Knowledge. — Brian May, Altria Group NACS, the Association for Convenience & Better Performance. This Distribution Co. Fuel Retailing, a founding member of We effort is a partnership with Card, reports that tobacco sales represent AGDC Partner Training, or approximately 40 percent of in-store sales APT for short. C-store management at convenience stores, plus ancillary prodand employees are encouraged to visit the uct sales. To this end, retailers are keen to APT website, which touts tobacco advertising adhere to federal and state regulations, and and sales tutorials, e-books and best practices. many seek out industry-proven organizations “One of the things we’ve heard from retailers for guidance. is the need to keep their staff current with the latWe Card training programs have received the est information in an evolving category,” said Blake support of seven attorneys general, as well as many Benefiel, director, trade and state relations at Altria tobacco manufacturers including Reynolds American Group Distribution Co. “With APT, store associates Inc. and Altria Group Distribution Co. can access a suite of educational tools and training “Prior to the Family Smoking Prevention and resources that will better prepare them to answer quesTobacco Control Act, various locations in the country tions from their customers, which we think will help had various regulations and ordinances about signage them improve their category performance.” and minimum age laws,” said Altria Senior Manager of Altria provides retailers with several technology Communications Brian May. “We want to partner with tools to help them manage their tobacco categories. our retailers on how to responsibly grow that [tobacco] Another online tool, insightsc3m, provides store-level business. We have several requirements and guidelines payment detail, price and promotion info, and realas to how it relates ates to our products and merchandise.” time access to tobacco category news and updates. On the education “The idea here is really simple. Increasing the side, May explained sid knowledge of the store associate equals improved the majority of conth performance in the tobacco category,” said May. versations Altria ve Reynolds also works to help educate store personsales representatives sa nel about the various brands and products, so they have with c-store ha can then have informed conversations with their adult operators focus on op tobacco consumers. To that end, R.J. Reynolds’ cushow a respective ho tomer website, EngageTradePartners.com, offers the tobacco segment to latest retail and category insights, according to Mike is performing and Auger, executive vice president, trade marketing at R.J. opportunities to op Reynolds Tobacco Co. gain efficiencies. ga “It’s important for c-store retailers to recognize “A cigarette conthat tobacco products are still — and will continue to sumer, according su be — a key segment, representing over 36 percent of to our research, all in-store sales,” Auger said. “We’ve also found that will have a higher w our customers appreciate the resources available on market basket in m our customer website, which is designed to help them many instances m stay on top of trends and manage the overall category than another con- more effectively.” th sumer,” he said. su als tures sales tutori ining website fea Altria’s Partner Tra . and best practices 56 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
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Since convenience stores often have high turnover rates, ongoing education is critical as some regulations are not inherent. For example, the FDA requires that cashiers ask customers who are assumed to be under the age of 27 for identification. “Training is not a one-and-done cure for responsible retailing,” said Anderson, adding that while We Card used to offer instructor-led classroom training, all courses (for employees, managers and a refresher course) are now conducted online. The training involves role-playing from a behindthe-counter perspective, where trainees interact with varying customer-cashier scenarios. Additionally, training is state law specific; includes FDA’s recommended content and requirements for Tobacco Retailer Training Programs; and provides important customer service techniques as well as how to spot fake identification. Whether a c-store retailer is a single-store operator or a large chain, the same tobacco laws and fines apply. Briant said this is among the reasons why NATO supports We Card and its educational platform. “Most retailers, whether they are single-store operators or large chains, rely on a commercial training program like We Card to train their employees,” said Briant. “Some large convenience store chains also have their own internal compliance check programs or retain an outside company to perform spot compliance checks to ensure that employees are requesting photo identification of customers and not selling tobacco products to minors.” In collaboration with ongoing tobacco training and education, Anderson also stressed c-store operators must include other “Implementing strategic efforts to tobacco training programs ensure management and employees are for managers and putting what employees is the rule for they learned convenience store retailers, into practice. “Training not the exception.” by itself is not a — Thomas Briant, National singular solution. Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) Equipping stores and employees with in-store signage, tools and job aids is important, as is the need for internally measuring performance,” he said. TrAining gOes MOBile
Anderson encourages retailers to visit We Card’s website, which features a Training Resource Center page.
58 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
We Card NOW ,a
new mobile sit e,
launched in Ja nuary.
Here, they can sign up for FDA tobacco compliance webinars and register for an employee training course, as well as review state law summaries, state signage requirements and minor license visual characteristics. A variety of downloads are also available, including Understanding FDA Requirements and We Card’s Guide to Best Practices, which includes a template for a Company Tobacco Sales Policy. This January, a new mobile site called We Card NOW launched. It provides useful tools such as Carding Tips, an Age Calculator for calculating a customer’s age based on an ID’s date of birth and an e-Calendar. This 1.0 version will evolve to have greater interactivity and content. New initiatives like We Card NOW are important because the market is changing, according to Anderson. For example, he cited the electronic cigarette and vape movement. “E-vapor is a new category and it’s still in the early days. Consumer interest is evolving,” said Altria’s May. “We have a lot of information on our AGDC Partner Training website on e-vapor. We just rolled this [information] out in the last few months and it is the next extension of how we approach training, education and consulting services to our trade partners.” For a period of time, e-cigarette and vape federal and state regulations were unclear, but that’s now changing. To date, 42 states have passed laws equating these products to be equivalent to traditional tobacco products. Some of the remaining eight states are expected to pass similar legislation in the near future. “Currently, FDA regulations do not address e-cigarettes, although it has indicated an intention to do so through a deeming regulation in the future,” noted Anderson. “We Card trains retailers to deny e-cigarette and vapor product sales to minors even when state law or federal law may not require it.” Csn
Cigarettes + Cigars + Smokeless + E-Cigs + Other OTP
Growing Sales the Natural Way Increasing consumer desire for natural products hits the tobacco category By Tammy Mastroberte
than $997 million in sales of natural cigarettes during onsumers are looking for more natural 2014 and is projected to sell more than $1 billion worth products in all categories, from the foods they in 2015, according to Spillane. Additionally, sales of natueat to the beverages they drink. This trend is ral cigarettes grew more than 19 percent between Oct. 1, spilling over into the tobacco category, as natural leaf 2014 and Jan. 31, 2015, according to Nielsen, with 47 tobacco grows in demand across both cigarettes million units sold in convenience stores. and cigars. It’s becoming a bright spot in an “While the entire [tobacco] industry continues overall declining category. to face annual decline, the natural cigarette cat“Customers are looking for better prodNatural egory continues to grow — for more than 10 ucts in the water they drink, the mints Cigarettes consecutive years,” Spillane noted. “Taxes they use and more, and this includes +19%* have lessened the gap in pricing between tobacco,” said Larry Sherman, execuNatural Leaf Cigars (total) discount, premium and super premium. tive vice president of Nat Sherman, The difference in price from a percentage a New York-based manufacturer of +10%** standpoint is lower, making premium both cigars and cigarettes, including Traditional Natural Leaf Cigars much more attractive to the consumer.” the Nat Sherman Naturals line. +8%** The same is true in the cigars In addition to natural leaf tobacsegment, which grew overall by 0.6 co being free of additives, such Rolled Leaf Cigars percent in sales for the 52 weeks products offer a longer and better +15%** ended Nov. 22, 2014. But when looksmoking experience, added Matt ing at natural leaf, specifically in large Spillane, vice president of national Foil Pouch Natural Leaf Cigars convenience stores, the growth is much sales at Nat Sherman. The cigarettes +62%** more. The natural leaf cigar segment are made with only tobacco and *Volume 16 weeks ended Jan. 31, 2015 grew by more than 10 percent in the 24 **Volume 24 weeks ended Feb. 15, 2015 water, and provide a more “authentic Source: Nielsen C-store Channel Data weeks ended Feb. 15, 2015 at c-stores, taste with more tobacco. This results in according to Nielsen. a greater puff count per stick, creating a “Natural leaf has been growing for a long longer, more satisfying smoke,” he explained. time, but the big spike upwards in convenience started It’s these incentives that have consumers willing in early 2013 for cigars,” reported Joe Teller, director to pay a premium price. In fact, in the cigarettes catof category management at Swedish Match, based in egory overall, the premium segment has seen the smallRichmond, Va. “Traditional natural leaf, which is a single est decline, according to Nielsen data for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 22, 2014. While sales of sub-generic/private leaf wrapped around the tobacco, has been around forever. But we are seeing growth in the rolled leaf segment, label and fourth-tier cigarette brands declined more which is a group of natural leaves rolled together.” than 3 percent and 4 percent respectively, premium sales only dipped by 0.2 percent. The news is even better in the natural cigarette segThe OppOrTuniTy in CigAreTTes ment, which continues to grow, including in premium When looking at cigarette sales across all channels — options. The convenience store industry brought in more convenience, supermarket and drug — convenience
60 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
US VISITATO AT NOTH BO 05 #9
Cigarettes + Cigars + Smokeless + E-Cigs + Other OTP
stores still rank No. 1 in terms of market share, representing 86.7 percent of all dollar sales for cigarettes in the 52 weeks ended Nov. 22, 2014. The category overall is declining, but natural cigarettes offer an opportunity for c-store operators to make up some of the loss. Natural cigarettes have been growing for years, but in the past were found predominately in tobacco shops and tobacco outlets. This presents c-stores with an opportunity to take advantage of the growth. Nat Sherman products, once found primarily in tobacco shops, now have distribution in more than 3,000 convenience stores nationally, including Speedway, Chevron, RaceTrac, MAPCO and Circle K locations. Top-selling brands in the segment include Natural American Spirit from Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. (a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc.) and Nat Sherman, which both saw increases in unit volume between Oct. 1, 2014 and Jan. 31, 2015, according to Nielsen data. Natural American Spirit grew 19 percent, while Nat Sherman jumped 12 percent. When it comes to merchandising the products, Spillane recommends c-stores take all the natural brands and cluster them together to create awareness for consumers because there are more people looking for these products than they may realize. “The natural category is the only true growing category within cigarette sales for convenience stores, and there are more consumers in this category than chains who are cultivating it, which means there is opportunity for more growth,” he said. The OppOrTuniTy in CigArs
In the other tobacco products (OTP) category, smokeless is still the top seller at convenience stores, but cigars ranks No. 2 and is still seeing overall sales and volume growth. The trend toward natural leaf wrappers is boosting the cigar segment even more. While total cigar stick volume grew by 8.8 percent in the 24 weeks ended Feb. 15, 2015, natural leaf grew 10 percent, according
Nat Sherman products were traditionally found in tobacco shops, but now have distribution in more than 3,000 convenience stores. 62 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM
to Nielsen c-store chain data. Within the natural leaf segment are traditional and rolled, with traditional using a single tobacco leaf and rolled using a group of natural leaves together. Rolled leaf grew by 15 percent, and traditional was up 8 percent during the same time period. “Natural leaf cigars are wrapped in a veiny tobacco leaf so they look more like premium cigars than regular homogenized tobacco leaf cigars,” said Teller. “Natural leaf has been growing over time, and is about one-third of Game Leaf, a new product from category sales Swedish Match, is targeted to value-conscious and still growing.” rolled leaf cigar users. Swedish Match launched Game Leaf cigars this March and demand is already outstripping supply, Teller said. Also, the current number of convenience stores carrying Game cigars is double what it was two years ago and continues to grow. The company also sells the Garcia y Vega brand in rolled and traditional natural leaf. Commonwealth-Altadis Inc. (a division of Imperial Tobacco Group plc) is another category leader selling natural leaf wrapped cigars. Its Dutch Masters line underwent a brand refresh in January, including a refresh of its 100-year-old logo. “Dutch Masters made the biggest changes in the brand’s history to meet today’s adult smokers’ lifestyles and preferences,” said Christine Umstead, senior brand manager at Commonwealth-Altadis, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “We expanded the product range with new variants designed to match category growth and the changing demands of smokers.” The four new variants to Dutch Masters’ three-pack cigarillos are Sweet Green, Cognac X.O., White Grape and DeLuxe. The products are sold in c-stores including 7-Eleven, Circle K and Wawa. Driving the natural cigar trend, similar to natural cigarettes, is the awareness of it being a natural product, the premium look and a better smoking experience at a similar price point to alternatives, according to Umstead. Csn
CANDY & SNACKS
Chocolate + Non-Chocolate + Gum + Salty Snacks
Advocating for the Future of Candy State of the Industry Conference lays out plan to continue the sweetest category’s growth By Angela Hanson
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Courtesy of Candy & Snack TODAY
ttendees of the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) 2015 State of the Industry Conference included numerous companies that compete for market share and consumer dollars, but according to new NCA President and CEO John Downs, that’s just fine because competitors are also partners when it comes to overcoming industry challenges. “This industry has an abundance of riches,” Downs said during his opening remarks on day one of the conference, which took place Feb. 16-19 at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach, Fla. Downs touched upon the art and science of candy making, and the varying techniques and expertise that suppliers have. Other speakers included Retail Insights Thought Leader Todd Hale and NCA Vice President of Industry Affairs Larry Wilson, who delved deeper into the state of the candy industry. “For many industries, flat is the new up,” Hale said. The candy industry can aspire to more than just flatness, however. Confection growth is improving ahead of the industry sector as a whole, and while shoppers buy candy across many outlets, convenience stores stand out as a big driver of category growth. Wilson noted that a recent trend to be aware of is the 30 percent of people who now report buying candy online, up from 24 percent in 2014 and 21 percent in 2013. The primary reason for online purchases is simple: Consumers are going after what they want that they don’t find on local store shelves. “They’re looking for specialty items,” he explained. Regarding ways in which suppliers and retailers can reach more consumers, Wilson said that while market penetration is generally equal in all demographic groups, there is less demand for candy in non-white households, leaving room for improvement there. Additionally, today’s focus on health and better-for-
NCA President and CEO John Downs dresses the part of candy maker at the association’s State of the Industry Conference.
you products “is not a passing fad” and while shoppers do feel responsibility for their own eating habits, they appreciate a helping hand, he remarked. THE WAR ON SUGAR
Conference sessions spent time examining the future of the industry, as well as its past and present. While the last 12 months were a busy time for the NCA, the organization isn’t slowing down. The next year promises to be just as busy and even more important for an industry that is fighting for its place in Americans’ balanced, moderated diet. “There’s a war on sugar and the battle line is drawing close to us,” said Peter Blommer, NCA vice chairman and president and chief operating officer of The Blommer Chocolate Co. As certain parties have blamed confectionery products for the nation’s obesity crisis, the NCA has spent the last year acting as an advocate for the category by holding more than 300 meetings with members of
Growth Drivers in Today’s Candy Market
Congress, highlighting the economic impact of candy and exploring the health benefits of products such as dark chocolate. At the same time, the NCA worked to answer all of its members’ questions about product labeling and the Food Safety and Modernization Act. Blommer and Bob Simpson, NCA chairman and president Frequent and chief operating officer of Jelly Belly Candy Co., outintroduction lined what NCA members can expect during the next 12 of new months. Along with continued legislative and regulatory items advocacy, the NCA will release a comprehensive research plan, a responsibility report on the confectionery industry’s sustainability efforts, a daylong media event and more. NCA members are urged to support CandyPAC, the NCA’s political action committee, through which it will continue this year to advocate for the industry at the legislative level. Along with all the business and political discussions at the conference, the NCA took the time to remind people what candy is truly about. “Candy is fun. It’s a treat,” Blommer said. “It’s simple and easy. It’s a moment of joy. It’s part of life’s celebrations. … It’s absolutely embedded in our childhood memories.” CSN
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Beer + Wine + CSDs + Energy + Water + Sports + Juice + Dairy
Know Your Craft Trend awareness and good category execution are imperative for c-stores in the brew game By Renée M. Covino
re convenience store retailers truly good at their craft? The craft of selling craft beer, that is — since all signs point to continuing growth for this well-evolving segment. “Year over year, we’re seeing tremendous growth in the craft beer sector, and 2014 proved that craft beer is moving into the mainstream,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association. “Consumers are making a conscious choice to buy and try the
Founded by Jim Koch in 1984, The Boston Beer Co. now offers more than 60 styles of beer including its flagship brand Samuel Adams.
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plethora of options produced by small and independent craft brewers.” Beer drinkers have more sophisticated palates today, according to George Ward, director of off-premise national accounts for craft beer major The Boston Beer Co., which offers more than 60 styles of beer including the leading craft brand, Samuel Adams Boston Lager. “Craft beer drinkers are passionate, curious and always looking to explore different flavor profiles and styles of beer, and pair or cook with beer as part of their everyday life,” Ward told Convenience Store News. “Beer drinkers of the new generation have adopted and are exploring craft beer the way their parents adopted wine 30 years ago.” From the independent craft brew arena, Sam Calagione, president and founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del. — reported to be the country’s 14th largest craft brewery — agrees that consumer passion for craft beer parallels that of other beverage and food trends, and he believes it fits well into the convenience channel. “It’s the beer component of the artisanal food trend. People are looking for more intense, exotic flavor, whether it’s from coconut waters or gourmet potato chips or beef jerky options — all packaging that fits well into the c-store environment,” Calagione relayed. “Consumers are trading up to more intense flavors, prioritizing and voting with their wallets to support smaller companies from the state where they live or smaller companies in general. Today’s consumer is less loyal to global brands and more interested in exploring artisanal brands.” The Pantry Inc., acquired in March by Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., is one c-store chain in the crafty loop. According to Bob Gulley, director of beer, wine and spirits
for the Southeast chain, beer is the second-largest category in-store, with sales up 4.5 percent last year. This growth was driven largely by single-serve (up 15 percent last year), much of which came from new craft brands in its c-stores, he reported at Wells Fargo Securities LLC’s recent Beer Industry Summit. Mintel Food and Drink Analyst Beth Bloom estimates that total sales of craft beer (including craft-style offerings) reached $20 billion in 2014, doubling the sales of just five years prior. The category is forecasted to reach $36.3 billion in sales by 2019. A recent Nielsen survey covering four generations — Millennials (ages 21-36), Gen X (37-48), Baby Boomers (49-67) and the Greatest Generation (68 and up) — found that all generations of beer consumers are increasingly shifting toward above-premium and craft beers from below-premium and premium beers. However, Millennials in particular are strong consumers of craft beer and the most likely to select products they have never tried before. Unlike with overall beer drinkers where brand is a
top factor in purchasing decisions, “craft beer drinkers are a bit more discerning and most likely to say beer style such as an IPA (India Pale Ale) or stout is important in product selection,” Bloom relayed. According to Mintel research, among the top factors that craft beer drinkers consider when making a beer selection are style (51 percent) and full-bodied flavor (44 percent). On-package product design (31 percent) is another influencing factor.
Craft beer is finding its way into other products, such as pickles.
The LOCAL COnneCTiOn
With U.S. brewery counts returning to historic levels last year, passing the 3,200 mark in November per the Brewers Association, convenience retailers have a great opportunity to partner up with local breweries or at least feature local brews in their stores and put some
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Beer + Wine + CSDs + Energy + Water + Sports + Juice + Dairy
community excitement around the offering. Nanoseconds, a single store in Escanaba, Mich., is nearby to some small Upper Peninsula microbreweries that recently opened (Michigan is one of 13 states in the country now with more than 100 breweries). Store owner Bill Carne is taking full advantage of the opportunity. “We have a new plan to increase our selection of local beers, give more exposure to the beer cooler and highlight craft beer floor displays,” Carne told CSNews. Meanwhile, some c-store chains are incorporating local brewery “flavor” into their new store prototypes and redesigns, such as Mark Oil Co. in Charlotte, N.C. (North Carolina is Executives at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware view craft brews as the another state with more than 100 breweries). “beer component of the artisanal food trend.” Mark Oil’s new Shopton Commons BP store features a beer cave that was inspired in design by unique to the craft beer market,” she explained. microbreweries in the area (see page 74). For example, the color palette utilized features ThirsT fOr KnOwLeDge warm metal and wood finishes indicative of the old The craft beer boom is said to have a lot in common mills that have been renovated and repurposed into with the wine renaissance of the past decade. This is breweries around not only because the leading purchase driver among Charlotte’s South craft beer drinkers is style, pointing to a more discernEnd neighborhood. ing consumer, but also because “craft drinkers conWhile this store is sider themselves knowledgeable and adventurous” and not a prototype per they’re “eager to share this knowledge,” said Bloom. se, design elements The thirst for knowledge opens up sales opportusuch as the micronity for forward-thinking convenience stores. The way brewery-inspired Calagione sees it, it would be helpful for c-stores to Craft breweries are opening at a rate of beer cave will be have someone on staff who is passionate about craft 1.5 per day with more than 2,000 in the included in future beer and can share in the exchange of knowledge. planning stage, according to the latest stores, according to Whether it be from the corporate level or local data from the Brewers Association, based Mark Oil President level, Dogfish Head’s founder believes one way c-stores in Boulder, Colo. Thirteen states now have Bill Tome. can get ahead in the category is to have their own more than 100 breweries each: There is a strong “in-house expertise in the stores that, to some degree, sense of commurelies on their biggest distributors and beer suppliers, Ohio California nity in the craft beer but also takes into account their own outreach capaOregon Colorado world, noted Mintel’s bilities” — for example, integrating an in-house craft Pennsylvania Florida Bloom. beer guru with social media efforts to stay relevant Texas Illinois “Consumers like to with the craft beer renaissance. Washington Michigan share knowledge with Calagione also advises c-store operators to have Wisconsin New York one another and are some sensitivity to their local and regional brands, North Carolina highly invested in the while keeping in mind there may be certain brands products they choose. that are growing by double-digits on the opposite Not only that, but craft coast. A local and national mix of indie craft beers is brands share exposure what c-stores should shoot for, he believes. through collaboration, When thinking about craft beer, convenience retaila practice almost wholly ers also don’t need to limit themselves just to the beer
The State of Breweries
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category. The craft beer consumer is “more likely to make spontaneous buying decisions on higher-margin and more upscale artisanal items in the store,” opening up yet another area of opportunity, Calagione said. Dogfish offers hop-infused spicy pickles under its Brooklyn Brine brand. BACK TO The CAn-CAn
In terms of packaging, more craft brewers are beginning to choose cans over glass bottles, deviating from the standard trend at craft beer’s inception, Mintel reported. Advocates for the can format say there are clear advantages to using aluminum cans over glass bottles, including faster cooling protection from beer-degrading light and space savings. Additionally, cans allow for a wraparound design and are recyclable and sustainable, which is appealing to the Millennial consumer set. “We see the trend of offering craft beers in cans continuing,” said Ward of Boston Beer Co. “Over the years, as can technologies have continued to improve, more and more craft brewers have decided to offer their beer in cans. Offering cans allows drinkers who
Regional Swigs Craft beer drinkers in the Midwest are significantly more likely than respondents from other regions to support a particular brewery (29 percent). Western states are the most image conscious, with 57 percent agreeing that the brand of beer you chose says a lot about you. The consumption of craft beer is lowest in the South (16 percent). Source: Mintel
stop at c-stores to enjoy craft beers when they travel to places where bottles aren’t necessarily allowed, such as on a boat, golf course or at the beach.” Boston Beer released its Samuel Adams Boston Lager in a newly designed “Sam Can” in 2013, and it now offers its Rebel IPA and seasonal brews — Summer Ale, Octoberfest, Winter Lager and Cold Snap — in cans as well. Csn
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IN-STORE MERCHANDISING Grocery + General Merchandise + HBC + Periodicals
A Fresh-Looking Future Relatively few customers visit c-stores for produce today, but interest level is on the rise By Angela Hanson
s the common perception of a convenience store slowly evolves from a destination for tasty but unhealthy food into a place to buy healthier options, more customers are stopping by in search of fresh fruit and vegetables — but there is still considerable room for growth in produce sales. Few convenience store shoppers reported buying fresh produce at a c-store within the past month, according to the exclusive Convenience Store News 2015 Realities of the Aisle consumer research study. More women did so than men, supporting the view that women are more interested in buying healthy foods, but the purchase gap is small at 8.4 percent vs. 7 percent of those surveyed. Those who do buy produce at c-stores are more
Healthier options (low-fat, low carb)
30.8% Fresh-cut fruit
Planting the Seed
If available at a convenience store, I would be interesting in purchasing…
*Percent of total respondents interested in purchasing Source: Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle Study, 2015
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likely to be high-income shoppers who make $100,000 or more per year (11.3 percent); fall into the age groups of 25-34 (12.9 percent) or 35-44 (10.2 percent); and live in the Midwest or West (9.5 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively). Having children makes a considerable difference, too — only 4.6 percent of those without children buy produce at c-stores compared to 11.6 percent of parents, suggesting that whether or not their own eating habits change, these consumers want a healthier diet for their kids. Even when buying products straight from the garden or orchard, consumers show a sweet tooth. Looking at the shopping baskets of those who bought prepared food at a c-store within the past month, fresh-cut fruit beat out fresh-cut vegetables at 11.3 percent vs. 7.2 percent. Compared to other fresh product choices, both fresh-cut fruit and vegetables are slightly less popular than salad (12 percent purchased in the past month), but considerably more popular than organic/all-natural products and low-fat/low carb items. It is important to note that the limited availability of fresh produce at c-stores is a major factor in the low percentage of purchases. The number of consumers who expressed interest in purchasing fresh-cut fruit or vegetables if such products were available is much higher than those who reported having done so already — 30.8 percent for fruit and 21.2 percent for veggies. Fitting with the shopping trends of those who already buy produce at a c-store, more women than men said they would like to do so. Female shoppers are most interested in fresh-cut fruit at 38 percent. Additionally, fresh-cut fruit is most in demand to those in the Northeast (34 percent), while the Midwest is most interested in fresh-cut vegetables (23.4 percent). Offering fresh produce comes with extra challenges, including making sure it stays fresh while on c-store shelves, but consumer attitudes and shifting trends in foodservice make it clear that the segment represents a promising opportunity for committed retailers. CSN
Category Management Association Certification Driving Retailer and Supplier Collaboration: The Category Management Association is an unbiased central resource for industry information and best practices encompasing a broad range of strategic insights and planning functions related to shopper marketing and assortment optimization. The value of membership and participation in the global certification program are at an all time high. The CMA has already certified many convenience channel retailers and thousands of individuals around the globe. The momentum behind certification continues to grow in the USA and internationally and the convenience store channel realizes there is a compelling return on investment when a company chooses to invest in the personal growth and development of their associates. Certification is a commitment to "Excellence" and establishes credibility for the category management discipline while delivering industry leadership.
There are three major reasons for companies to consider certification. First and foremost is that certification represents a commitment to an organization's people, allowing them to understand the professional qualifications necessary for professional growth. The second reason is to provide trade partners with an understanding of the quality of your category management team and the third reason is to deliver a commitment to innovate to provide enhanced customer value.
2015 promises to be the most successful year in CMA history. Isn't it time you and your organization join the certification revolution taking place within the convenience channel? For more information on the Category Management Association's "Best Practices" capabilities and certification programs please contact CMA's Blaine Ross at 630-219-3266 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On the preceding pages learn how leading companies have invested heavily in category management throughout their organizations in order to support retail strategies.
How has Category Management changed in recent years at Swisher International, Inc? Swisher has always been recognized as a leader regarding space and business planning by our industry. Four years ago we began an aggressive effort with the CMA to not only train but certify key members of our sales, marketing and analytics teams. Swisher is proud to announce we have 18 individuals certified by the association with another 21 going through the training. We continue to work with the Category Management Knowledge Group to incorporate their on-line training platform. Our customers see certification as a vehicle to help drive collaboration while meeting adult consumer needs. Due to the success of the certification we have earned Category Captain status at many of the largest retail partners in the country. Our partners are confident that recommendations coming from a Swisher International, Inc. representative are well-grounded in category management principals.
In what way are you collaborating to make an impact at retail? Swisherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s objective is to provide our customers with the best possible product and sales experience, while also providing needed expertise in specific market dynamics. Utilizing MSAi insights, programs and planograms are customized to meet specific customer goals and adult consumer demands. Our Partners in Profit program is a perfect example of the execution of that strategy. We provide our partners with revenue-generating products and promotions in all of our OTP lines, with the objective to grow not only Swisher sales, but the full OTP category in store.
How is localization playing a role in assortment optimization for your category? Our category faces assortment challenges based on space limitations, local taxes and consumer preferences. The ability for our customers to understand what brands are driving their OTP category is critical. We use category management to provide actionable insights and store level assortment planning.
What are the latest ways you are enhancing the shopper experience? We sat down as a team and developed strategies with our mission statement and core category principles in mind. It is our goal to stay true to our mission, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Impress and satisfy guests with every visit and make their lives simpler.â&#x20AC;? This entails knowing exactly what the shopper wants, providing the best offering, best price and making it easy to find. For foodservice, we are not taking a typical QSR approach, instead we are building a menu offering from the ground up. This will include a chicken program that shoppers will want to come into our stores for. This approach combined with rebranding a majority of our stores to Ruff Creek Markets will help us deliver the best guest experiences.
How is localization playing a role in assortment optimization for your category? At Coen Oil, we look at a lot of data segments including demographic data. We have a lot of different communities, therefore we tailor our product mix and set sizes to particular locations. For example, in more rural areas we provide more groceries and snacks. One of the sources we use is Infometrics, which is provided by AWMA, and our distributor set us up to see the reports. This allows us to compare against the market and identify new items to consider.
In what ways are you collaborating to make an impact at retail? We have a core principle, which is to treat vendors as partners. One example of this is selecting a category captain for key categories and also working with a category validator. Collectively we review trends and apply recommendations to sets to make sure our guests are getting the best experience in store when they look at our product offering.
What changes have you seen in category management recently? The practice of category management is becoming more holistic, offering the opportunity of reinvention and innovation. Our clients on the manufacturer side are becoming aisle and total store partners with major retailers. As a leading solution provider active in the CMA, we represent best practices in category, aisle, department and total store optimization.
In what ways does Fifth Dimension play a role in aisle management and total store optimization? We combine 3D visualization of virtual stores with space management and advanced analytical software to provide aisle, department and total store optimization. Fully integrated macro through micro technology combines strategic scenarios with advanced analytics and shopper insights.
What can collaboration do for a c-store chain? Major c-store chains are realizing that they can test everything from theory to store layout and product mix virtually without store interruption or risk. The results we provide demonstrate performance scenarios that once implemented offer the greatest ROI. In a recent project, a key manufacturer wanted to demonstrate total store optimization while considering limited space and maximizing assortment. The recommendations led to an average increase of $7.55 in sales per linear foot per week. For just those six test stores, that translates to over $400,000 in annual sales. With the possibilities of expanding the insights to over 650 stores, that can equate to additional sales revenue of over $45 million chain wide. True collaborative efforts such as these can provide phenomenal results.
STORESPOTLIGHT Shopton Commons BP
On Its New Mark Mark oil co. unveils a “non-standard” c-store design that highlights a safe environment By Renée M. Covino
onvenience store design change is good, particularly in a competitive market like Charlotte, N.C., according to Mark Oil Co. President Bill Tome, who recently told Convenience Store News that the formidable presence of QuikTrip and 7-Eleven has made “everyone up their game.” And so, the BP distributor that owns but doesn’t operate most of its 26 locations unveiled a new design with its latest store, Shopton Commons BP. Constructed near a new Tanger outlet mall west of Charlotte, the convenience store had a soft opening in December and celebrated its grand opening in April. “The large-format stores we built in our market over the last 10 years were mostly of the old BP Connect construction and we felt we needed a change to the interior beyond the standard graphics package,” Tome explained. That desired change came with the help of an area
designer, Gay Diller, who was recommended to Tome by a jobber in a nearby county. She created a look that was “non-standard” to the convenience store industry, reflected in the wall colors, lighting, department signage and delineation of Shopton Commons BP, according to Tome. Lighting is an important element in creating a modern and upscale look in the store, Diller believes. Drop-in 2x4 fluorescents are “unique and do not create such a harsh and cold look,” she said. To accentuate the lighting, the ceiling was painted a taupe color “so it was not too dark or stark white.” The design also incorporates a lot of LED can fixtures — on dimmers in the coffee and cashier areas, as well as LED tracks around the perimeter of the store. Even the bathrooms were taken into unique design consideration, in this case thanks to an idea Tome borrowed from an article he read in CSNews on Ricker’s convenience stores in Indianapolis. “There was a picture and description of a sink whereby customers could get soap, wash and dry their hands all within the sink itself,” he said. “So, I called the company and got their input on it. It’s a great example of reaching out to some of your friends in this business and getting help.” Brew AttrAction
Signage in the coffee and fountain areas evokes a fun, almost carnival-like vibe.
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Department-wise, the beer cave is a highlight at Shopton Commons BP, inspired by the microbreweries found in the area. “We created a color palette with the warm metal and wood finishes you see in a lot of the old mills that have been renovated and repurposed into breweries around Charlotte’s South End neighborhood,” said Diller. “The design of the beer area
evolved as we discovered more efficient and easy ways to install and replicate finishes.” The first idea was to use actual distressed or reclaimed wood. “We ended up using a unique wood grain wallpaper product over the entire area above the beer cave doors, then making the signage out of grey and metallic materials, conveying an industrial look and feel,” she added. The beer cave sets the tone for the rest of the store, too. Although the rest of the store is more colorful, metal finishes and industriAn open layout and low shelving make the Shopton commons Bp store feel safe and friendly. al “bolt-like hardware” were incorporated throughout the design, according to Diller. graphic signage all blend together in a warm way to reach Overall, the goal was to achieve “a balance of a out to both male and female customers, Tome reported. modern look with some references to a fun, almost The new store is receiving a good percentage of destination nostalgic, carnival-like vibe, repeating geometric dia(outlet mall) traffic as well as neighborhood traffic — both mond and circle shapes around the coffee and soda in a growth stage thanks to local residential development. corner,” she noted. The lighting package, wall color scheme and edgy SAfe ApproAch
the beer cave design was inspired by local microbreweries, with the wood finishes and metallic accents carried throughout the store.
Safety was equally important to an attractive store design when Shopton Commons BP was planned, and so the design shouts out a very visible and open layout. “The public, and primarily women, like to see clearly through to the back of the store,” Tome explained. “So, we keep signage off the windows, maintain low shelving and make sure the beverage vendors don’t put tall racks up, blocking the windows in the front. From the pump, people should see clearly inside to the store. The police recommended that, too. It’s been proven safer if they can see through to the inside view.” Making the store feel as friendly and safe as possible to invite folks to come inside were the main objectives, added Diller. “We wanted to make the store look as intriguing and unique as we could from the outside, while allowing customers to see what was going on inside as they approached,” she said. While Shopton Commons BP is not being called a new prototype, per se, Mark Oil does plan to incorporate many of the design elements of this latest store into its next locations with “some tweaking here and there,” based on the particular store and location, Tome said. There is another store planned in the Charlotte area, but since it’s not finalized yet, Tome said he is “keeping it quiet” for now. CSN
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Spotlighting major industry events
New Name, Same Key Principles AWMA reveals identity change to Convenience Distribution Association at annual expo By Melissa Kress
he American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) will move into the future with a new name, but its key pillars will remain the same. The association’s board of directors approved a measure to change the name to Convenience Distribution Association (CDA) during its meeting at the 2015 AWMA Marketplace & Solutions Expo, which took place in late February in Las Vegas. “AWMA is going away. Not the association, but the name,” said Chairman Robert Sincavich, president of Team Sledd, based in Wheeling, W. Va. “Convenience Distribution Association is who we are and what we do.” The switch comes as the association and its members face a changing landscape. Financially speaking, CDA is still strong, but distributors are declining in number as consolidation takes hold in the distribution industry, Sincavich explained. In addition, the industry continues to deal with increasing regulatory and legislative pressures. Another factor for members, he pointed out, is the AWMA Marketplace rise of retailers turning to self& Solutions Expo distribution, and manufacturFeb. 24-26, 2015 ers of emerging products like Las Vegas electronic cigarettes going direct to retail. Failing to adapt to the evolving landscape will push the distribution industry and the association toward becoming obsolete, according to Sincavich. Despite the name change, the association will stay focused on several key pillars including government affairs, industry affairs and education. A new digital portal will be available to provide a menu of programs and training tools to association members. In addition, the association is establishing a series of “communities” designed to allow collaboration and learning, and forming a manufacturer advi-
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sory council designed to get greater input from manufacturer partners. CHANGE: THE ONLY CONSTANT
Just as convenience distributors are facing change, so too is the c-store industry as a whole. “Change is happening at a faster and faster pace,” Kelly Tackett, U.S. research director for Planet Retail, said in a presentation at the AWMA Marketplace & Solutions Expo. The catalysts for change include consumer demographics, lifestyles and technology. C-store retailers are dealing with new shopper demands at the same time they’re facing increased competition from other sectors and channels looking to win that “quick trip,” she explained. Contvenience retailers must adapt, and Tackett offered the following tips: • Build a higher-margin mix with foodservice, which accounts for 18 percent of sales but 29 percent of gross margin. • Localize the assortment. • Capture the expanded shopping trip. More than three-quarters of consumers have purchased groceries at a non-grocer in the past 12 months. • Grow the private-label assortment. • Connect with tech-savvy consumers as smartphones are becoming the ultimate shopping companions. • Use technology, like self-checkout and touchscreen ordering, to improve the in-store experience. “Change really is the only constant,” Tackett said. “...Convenience has replaced location. It is no longer location, location, location. It is convenience, convenience, convenience.” CSN
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Spotlighting major industry events
Equipment Suppliers Keep Pace With Foodservice Growth The NAFEM Show offers a wide variety of solutions By Don Longo
ith foodservice sales growing faster on a percentage basis at convenience stores than at restaurants, it’s no surprise many exhibitors at this year’s NAFEM Show — held Feb. 19-21 in Anaheim, Calif., by the National Association of Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers — were showing products to improve the operations of c-store chains. From quick-cooking ovens to new coffee systems to iced tea makers, c-store retailers were sure to find something new and exciting to help them grow their foodservice business. The NAFEM Show Guy Strayer, foodservice Feb. 19-21, 2015 director for Country Fair Inc., Anaheim, Calif. the Mid-Atlantic convenience store chain owned by United Refining Co., told Convenience Store News he attends the NAFEM Show so that he is “aware of all the many facets of equipment and services provided to the foodservice industry.” This was Strayer’s third time at the NAFEM Show. His goal this year was to find services that would make his company’s foodservice operations more efficient and productive. “I have always found something unexpected that has given our company an opportunity to become more profitable,” he said. COFFEE, ESPRESSO, ETC.
“When it comes to espresso in the c-store world, retailers are trying to figure out if they are competing with McDonald’s or if they are competing with Starbucks,” said Jon Shalen, president of Espresso Soci, an importer of premium espresso machines. “They are torn between self-serve and employee-served systems.”
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The NAFEM Show featured foodservice equipment and supplies from more than 500 manufacturers.
The company recently installed its Faema XI espresso machine with patented auto-steam technology at about 100 QuickChek stores. Shalen said QuickChek Corp. is expected to roll out the machine chainwide by the end of the year. The employee-served machine is so easy to use that he remarked: “I trained a QuickChek manager over the phone.” Meanwhile at the Bunn booth, Strategic Account Manager Randy Vickery said specialty drinks and regional coffees (think blends from Sumatra, Ethiopia, etc.) are in greater demand by consumers, and c-stores are broadening their hot coffee offerings to meet this demand. Bunn was showing two units of particular interest to c-store retailers: the Trifecta, a brewer that uses air infusion to brew a superior cup of coffee; and the Sure Temp, a self-serve espresso machine with an intuitive touchscreen interface for easy use. Another popular c-store supplier of coffee brewing equipment is Wilbur Curtis Co. Getting a lot of
attention from retailers at the company’s booth was Curtis’ TFT Freshness Monitoring System. The system includes a digital timer, volume indicator and flashing LED lights to alert store employees to refill the urn, ensuring fresh coffee is always available to customers.
Brewed iced tea is also becoming more of a yearround beverage in many parts of the country, said Greenberg. “It’s no longer just a summer drink in many markets.” WHAT’S COOKING
Frozen yogurt continues to be a rising trend in the c-store industry, said Tricia Bennett, senior director, global marketing for Rockton, Ill.-based Taylor Co., which makes a broad range of foodservice equipment for frozen treats, frozen dispensed beverages and grilled specialties. Fun and tasty treats, like frozen yogurt and frozen carbonated beverages, get the coveted Millennials involved and offer them the ability to customize, Bennett added, predicting that smoothies are likely to become the next big c-store hit in the not-too-distant future. These products can create an environment for repeat traffic visits while increasing daypart sales for the c-store operator. The growing use of blenders to make a variety of products, from smoothies to specialty coffee drinks, was not lost on Vitamix Corp., which introduced a new line of color-coordinated blender containers at the NAFEM Show. The containers make it easy, by sight, for operators to keep food and drink ingredients separated to avoid cross-contamination. All the containers work with the company’s The Quiet One blender, a popular c-store item. Vitamix also showed its Modular Blending System (MBS), which debuted last October at the NACS Show. Taking up only 30 linear inches of countertop space, the MBS provides precise measurements of ingredients, improves speed of service and reduces waste, while being able to make a wide variety of customizable drink options. FIT TO A TEA
Despite recent news reports about research extolling the healthful benefits of coffee, tea remains consumers’ top-of-mind choice for a healthy beverage, according to Larry Greenberg, director of national accounts, Western U.S. and Canada, for FETCO Corp. “Hot water is not sexy, but its revenue streams are,” said Greenberg, pointing out that the company’s Temperature On Demand instant four-temp machine can be used for a wide variety of menu items, from tea and soup to ramen noodles, oatmeal and even instant mashed potatoes.
A few years ago, Ovention Inc. introduced its Matchbox fast-cook oven and then its Shuttle conveyor oven — both of which have become mainstays of c-store foodservice programs.
Rapid-cook ovens, new coffee brewing systems and iced-tea makers were among the products showcased for c-store operators.
This year, the company introduced Matchbox 360, its smallest footprint rapid-cook oven yet. Ovention can only hope to match the success of its earlier models — QuikTrip has installed two Shuttle ovens in all of its foodservice model stores, while the Matchbox is a mainstay at such c-store industry giants as Speedway and Kum & Go. A lot of companies at the 2015 NAFEM Show were displaying new equipment inspired by smartphone technology as well. Digital operating interfaces were everywhere. “Buttons are expensive and they break,” said Chad Vendette, director of marketing for Broaster Co. Its popular line of pressure fryers, for example, features new touchscreen digital controllers and even has USB connectors to allow for easy and quick reprogramming of each unit. Alto-Shaam Inc. also introduced a new high-speed oven called TrueTouchControl, offering one-touch programmable cooking with product photos on the display. “This is a new category for us,” said Kellee Johnson, director of marketing for Alto-Shaam. “C-stores are a small, but growing part of our overall business.” CSN
WWW.CSNEWS.COM | APRIL 2015 | Convenience Store News 79
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: CANDY & SNACKS NEW JUICY DROP FLAVOR EXPERIENCES
Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of The Topps Co. Inc., is adding two new, tantalizing favor experiences to its Juicy Drop lineup. Juicy Drop Pop is about to unveil its most extreme sour favor yet — Berry Melon Blitz — that will enable fans to test their sour boundaries. Juicy Drop Taffy will stretch favor limits with the launch of its Apple Attack favor, in stores now. Berry Melon Blitz kicks off a brand-new line of “extreme favors” that lets fans test their favor limits with its deliciously challenging sour liquid. The unique packaging enables fans to be in control and turn up the sour as much as they would like. It debuts at retail in April. Both launches will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign that includes broadcast advertising starring the brand’s signature spokesperson, Señor Sour, as well as digital and social media promotion.
2015 SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO The Sweets & Snacks Expo will take place May 19-21, 2015 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, the Expo is the industry’s most successful, world-class event. It attracts 16,000-plus confectionery and snack professionals and offers 3.5 acres of candy and snacks from 600-plus companies showcasing their latest releases (40 percent of exhibitors showcase snack products). Experience the Sweet Insights Theater featuring 20-minute learning labs on the show foor. With 18 years of solid growth, the Expo provides more access to the people, products, insights and innovations you need to grow your business. Come hear what the industry is talking about!
Bazooka Candy Brands New York www.candymania.com
Sweets & Snacks Expo Chicago www.sweetsandsnacks.com
BEAR NAKED LAYERED GRANOLA BARS
HERSHEY’S CARAMELS The newest addition to the Hershey’s brand, Hershey’s Caramels are gourmet quality, chocolate-covered caramels that combine delicious Hershey’s milk chocolate with smooth, creamy caramel. Available in a 1.1-ounce package, with a suggested retail price of $1.29.
The Hershey Co. Hershey, Pa. www.hersheysconvenience.com
Category Spotlights APRIL 2015
ICE BREAKERS COOL BLASTS CHEWS New Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews provide an icy cool blast of freshness in a rapidly dissolving chew. Available in a 0.8-ounce innovative slide pack, Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews come in Spearmint and Peppermint favors. Suggested retail price is $1.99. The Hershey Co. Hershey, Pa. www.hersheysconvenience.com
Bear Naked offers an ever-growing variety of products for health-conscious consumers to enjoy. New Bear Naked Layered Granola Bars feature granola on the bottom, layered with nuts and/or fruit and chocolaty chunks, then dipped in chocolate for an epic taste. Available in two delicious favors, Nutty Double Chocolate and Fruit and Nutty. For more information, call (877) 511-5777. Kellogg’s Specialty Channels Elmhurst, Ill. www.kelloggsconvenience.com
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: CANDY & SNACKS PRINGLES WITH DIP
JUICY DROP GUMMIES
Offer consumers a new way to enjoy Pringles crisps with on-trend dip favors. New Pringles with Dip are on-the-go, single-serve snacks that combine Original favor Pringles with a cup of Creamy Ranch, Jalapeno Cheddar or Honey Dijon Dip wrapped on top of the can. Exclusive to convenience stores, Pringles with Dip offers a whole new way to build your salty snacks set. Available in 12-count cases. For more information, call (877) 511-5777.
New Juicy Drop Gummies are 12 sour-sanded gummies with a special “drop zone” and sour gel pen that come in four delicious favors: Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Sour Apple and Watermelon. Juicy Drop Gummies are the only gummy product where kids get to control their own favor intensity with the interactive 2-in-1 favor intensity experience. The idea: squeeze the gel onto the sour-sanded gummy’s “drop zone” and pop it in your mouth. Enjoy the uniquely sweet and sour experience!
These single-serve premium muffns are available in the two most popular favors among convenience store shoppers: Banana Nut and Blueberry. The new muffns are made specifcally for the needs of the convenience store shopper looking for an on-the-go snack.
Kellogg’s Specialty Channels Elmhurst, Ill. www.kelloggsconvenience.com
Bazooka Candy Brands New York www.candymania.com
Little Debbie Collegedale, Tenn. littledebbiecstore.com
M&M’S BRAND CRISPY CHOCOLATE CANDIES
LITTLE DEBBIE PREMIUM MUFFINS
SNICKERS XTREME BAR
M&M’S Crispy Chocolate Candies feature a unique, crispy center covered in creamy milk chocolate, enclosed in a colorful candy shell. Mars Chocolate frst introduced this favor variant as a limited-edition item in 1998, and consumers have been asking for its return via Facebook, online petitions and phone calls. The January 2015 launch of M&M’S Crispy Chocolate Candies is the biggest M&M’S brand launch since the introduction of M&M’S Pretzel Chocolate Candies in 2010. The product is available in three sizes: Singles (1.35 ounces), Sharing Size (2.83 ounces) and Medium Laydown Bags (9.9 ounces).
Offering 50 percent more caramel and 14 percent more peanuts than the original SNICKERS Bar, SNICKERS Xtreme Bar certainly lives up to its name. The moniker is an appropriate description of an extreme blend of the ingredients fans love: a single layer of crunchy roasted peanuts and smooth caramel, perfectly blended and enrobed in milk chocolate. This favor combination was a popular limited edition in 2007 and 2010, so Mars Chocolate brought it back in December 2014. SNICKERS Xtreme Bar is available nationwide in a 3.59-ounce 2 to Go, with two pieces in each package.
Mars Chocolate North America Hackettstown, N.J. www.mms.com
Mars Chocolate North America Hackettstown, N.J. www.mars.com
APRIL 2015 Category Spotlights
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: FOODSERVICE TWO NEW BIG AZ SANDWICHES AdvancePierre Foods, a nationally recognized, fully integrated producer and seller of handheld sandwiches and value-added meats, is introducing two new offerings: the BIG AZ Angus Cheddar Cheeseburger and the BIG AZ Chicken Bacon Cheddar Club. The BIG AZ Angus Cheddar Cheeseburger is an oversized charbroiled Angus beef patty with fresh, off-the-grill favor sandwiched between two slices of cheddar cheese and served on a hearth-baked BIG AZ bun. The frst grilled chicken offering in the BIG AZ line, the BIG AZ Chicken Bacon Cheddar Club is on trend with the clubstyle sandwich offerings that have gained popularity in the quick-service restaurant and casual dining industries. Both new sandwich offerings have a 14-day refrigerated, 12-month frozen shelf life, and can be held hot in a sandwich warmer for up to four hours. They will be available at retail in June.
READY TO BAKE PANFREE MUFFIN BATTERS Our PanFree line of muffn batters allows you to offer fresh-baked muffns at your convenience. PanFree muffn batters don’t require muffn pans for baking, making them the most convenient product in the market. Offer customers fresh-baked, moist and delicious muffns the easy way! Available in all popular favors, in both traditional and whole grain varieties, you can bake just what you need of any favor. The 4.25-ounce size is ideal for the grab-and-go customer, and our upscale liners add enticing eye appeal. Our PanFree line of muffn batters are made with only premium ingredients for consistent quality and great taste.
AdvancePierre Foods Cincinnati www.advancepierre.com/Brands/BIG-AZ.aspx
OREO CHURROS J&J Snack Foods Corp. proudly announces a partnership with Mondeléz International to introduce OREO Churros. With a crispy exterior, warm soft interior and real OREO cookie pieces in every bite, OREO Churros have a “just baked” OREO cookie taste. Available in traditional sticks, doubletwisted Churros and bite-size Churros, these delicious treats can be served with OREO cookie crème dip, rolled in sugar or topped with ice cream. OREO is a registered trademark of Mondeléz International Group. J&J Snack Foods Corp. Pennsauken, N.J. www.jjsnackfoodservice.com
Category Spotlights APRIL 2015
Bake’n Joy Foods Inc. North Andover, Mass. www.bakenjoy.com
INTERNATIONAL DELIGHT® PORTION-CONTROL SINGLES
COLD STONE™ FLAVORED CREAMER
Next to their coffee, nothing matters more to your customers than creamer. International Delight® brings variety to the coffee bar with its broad selection of non-dairy flavored creamers, half & half and STOK coffee-based caffeine. Offer core flavors, French Vanilla and Hazelnut, to satisfy 80 percent of flavored creamer users.* Expand your line to five SKUs and reach 90 percent of customers.* Call The Coffee Bar Experts Experts at (888) 620-9910 to learn how to become a coffee bar destination. *Dataessentials PC Turf, March 2012
International Delight® now offers new Cold Stone™ Sweet Cream in its line of non-dairy favored creamers. Create a coffeehouse experience at your coffee bar with sweet cream, one of the top four non-dairy creamer favors in retail.* The new favor adds a rich, creamy indulgence to coffee and brings to mind the taste of fresh, homemade ice cream. *Nielsen Data XAOC 52 weeks ending 2/21/2015
WhiteWave Foods Broomfeld, Colo. www.whitewavefoodservice.com
WhiteWave Foods Broomfeld, Colo. www.whitewavefoodservice.com
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: FOODSERVICE CHEESY GARLIC BREAD
HUNT BROTHERS PIZZA SHOPPES
HUNT BROTHERS PIZZA CHEESEBREAD AND MARINARA DIPPING SAUCE
Committed to being the total pizza shop solution, we evolve at the speed of our consumers by developing in-house products like our delicious Cheesy Garlic Bread. Manufactured at our USDA- and FDA-compliant facility, this perfectly sized on-the-go snack is ideal for consumers. A tempting combination of custom-blended real cheese, garlic and Italian spices and a melt-in-your-mouth crust — it’s an irresistible treat certain to delight your customers. Find out for yourself how to drive sales in the ever-growing snack category. Cheesy Garlic Bread is available for both franchise and private label opportunities.
Order, prep, bake and display all in one place with Hunt Brothers Pizza’s line of Pizza Shoppes. Increase visibility and accessibility for your program with an eye-catching Pizza Shoppe customized for your store’s individual needs and space. Drive interest among customers and encourage graband-go sales with integrated, branded warmers and display cases. The elevated menu boards feature interchangeable product images that can be customized per your store’s offerings, seasonal menus and dayparts so you can capture customer interest and sales all day long.
Bring in additional sales with Hunt Brothers Pizza’s new Cheesebread and premium marinara dipping sauce as an add-on to any pizza purchase or as an on-therun snack. Cheesebread comes frozen and pretopped with 100-percent mozzarella cheese, buttery sauce and garlic favor, and goes straight into the oven with the same temperature and cook time as our pizzas. Leverage Cheesebread in a combo deal as a two-piece snack size with a Hunk A Pizza, or in a six-piece family size with a whole pizza.
Orion Food Systems Sioux Falls, S.D. www.orionfoods.com
Hunt Brothers Pizza Nashville, Tenn. www.HuntBrothersPizza.com
Hunt Brothers Pizza Nashville, Tenn. www.HuntBrothersPizza.com
HOT NEW SANDWICH FLAVORS FROM JIMMY DEAN
HOT ‘N’ READY BUFFALO CHICKEN & CHEESE ROLLER GRILL LINKS
Spicy favors are on fre, with more than half of consumers saying they prefer very hot or spicy foods, up more than 48 percent since 2011.* To meet the growing demand for spicier favors, Jimmy Dean has introduced three new Blazin’ Hot Breakfast Sandwiches. Individually wrapped in butcher paper and packed 12 per case for consumers on the go, they are available in Hot & Spicy Sausage on a Biscuit; Hot & Spicy Sausage, Egg & Pepperjack Cheese on a Biscuit; and Spicy Split Smoked Sausage & Cheese on a Croissant. *2014 Technomic Consumer Food Trends
AdvancePierre Foods, the leader in fully cooked, seasoned and sauced meat products, introduces Buffalo Chicken & Cheese Roller Grill Links — extending the company’s Hot ‘n’ Ready Grill line. Hot ‘n’ Ready Buffalo Chicken & Cheese Roller Grill Links feature crispy, breaded chicken with a spicy buffalo kick and cooling cheese, resulting in a traditional buffalo chicken favor. The Buffalo Chicken & Cheese Roller Grill Links have a 14-day refrigerated, 12-month frozen shelf life. The links, sold 40 pieces to a case, include grab-and-go merchandising sleeves and are available now nationwide.
Tyson Convenience Foodservice Springdale, Ark. www.tysonconvenience.com
AdvancePierre Foods Cincinnati www.advancepierre.com
APRIL 2015 Category Spotlights
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: TOBACCO VAPIN PLUS E-LIQUID Vapin Plus E-Liquid is American made and manufactured in an FDA-registered facility that follows cGMP. The government’s regulations require manufacturers to register with the FDA and follow cGMP, which puts Vapin Plus ahead of the pack. Vapin Plus isn’t just made here, almost every ingredient that makes up our e-liquid, including our bottle and its components, are manufactured in the United States. We use only 99-percent pure nicotine, and every shipment is tested for purity per cGMP requirements. Vapin Plus E-Liquid comes in 2.4 percent, 1.6 percent and zero nicotine, and all bottles have child safety caps with tamper-evident bands.
MISTIC BRIDGE The category continues to evolve with new product innovations that respond to changing adult consumer preferences. New products introduced by some of our competitors try to emulate the fexibility of an open tank system in a closed, cartridge-like offering. We addressed this market demand by recently introducing our Mistic Bridge with HAUS technology, the latest generation of our cig-alike rechargeable line that combines the fexibility of an open tank system with the convenience of a cigarette-like confguration. The great news is that our Bridge tank not only fts Mistic batteries, but also competitors such as blu and MarkTen. Ballantyne Brands Charlotte, N.C. www.misticecigs.com
CB Distributors Inc. Beloit, Wis. www.vapinplus.com
BODYSHOT VAPOR LIQUID Looking for straight up favor? Bodyshot Vapor Liquid provides adult consumers with a USA-made, premium product crafted by experts with decades of experience. Offered in three nicotine variations, Bodyshot Vapor is making clouds above the horizon of competitors. With cocktail-inspired favors, Bodyshot Vapor has the perfect blend of unmatched taste for every adult vapor consumer. Create vaping decadence, satisfaction and straight up favor with Bodyshot Vapor Liquids. Cheyenne International LLC Grover, N.C. www.cheyenneintl.com
Category Spotlights APRIL 2015
GAME MANGO To further fuel the fastest-growing segment, natural leaf small cigarillos, Game went tropical with new Mango. In extensive proprietary Swedish Match market research testing, consumers picked Mango as the latest new favor in the wildly popular limitededition Game line. Consumers can’t wait to get a taste of the tropics in their favorite brand of cigar. Mango is available while supplies last in 2/99¢ and “Save on 2” pouches. Swedish Match Richmond, Va. www.swedishmatch.com
BLACK & MILD CASINO Black & Mild Casino from John Middleton Co./Altria is a rich and smooth blend that features a black tip to reinforce the brand’s essence of style and sophistication. John Middleton Co. Richmond, Va. www.altria.com/our-companies/ johnmiddleton/Pages/default.aspx
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: TOBACCO VAPIN PLUS PRE-PACK DISPLAYS Vapin Plus offers convenient three- or four-tier Pre-Packed Acrylic Displays that organize the hardware and E-Liquid in a small footprint with great visibility. Each display is sealed in front; product is accessible from the back; and E-Liquid and tanks are in drawers with dividers that pull out. Both displays hold at least 12 E-Liquid favors, 650mAh Vaporizer Kit, 1100mAh Vaporizer Kit, and Atomizer reflls. Vapin Plus also offers other products such as colored batteries or tanks, atomizers and lanyards. CB Distributors Inc. Beloit, Wis. www.vapinplus.com
VAPIN PLUS VAPORIZERS
GAME LEAF With the launch of Game Leaf, retailers and consumers alike that have been “Lost in the Woods” now have a chance to “Turn Over a New Leaf.” Game Leaf is targeted to “value conscious” rolled leaf segment users and provides retailers a complement to premium Garcia y Vega’s 1882 award-winning brand that was launched in 2014 in the Swedish Match brand portfolio. Game Leaf is available in four exciting favors — Sweet Aromatic, Wild Berry, Natural and Cognac— in two different value price points: 2/99¢ and “Save on 2” FoilFresh pouch. Swedish Match Richmond, Va. www.swedishmatch.com
DUTCH MASTERS Dutch Masters has a long, rich history dating back over 100 years to 1912 when its frst cigars were made. Today, Dutch Masters continues its commitment to high quality, natural-leaf-wrapper cigars, but while classic never goes out of style, Dutch Masters is evolving to meet the changing preferences of today’s adult smoker, including an exciting refresh to the iconic Dutch Masters packaging.
Vapin Plus Vaporizers offer a wickless tank atomizer design with a 5-volt battery. The 2.5-milliliter tank is great for extended usage and has glue-free gasket seals to prevent leakage. These tanks come with replaceable atomizers, allowing the consumer to rebuild and reuse their tanks for an even greater value. The kits come in either 650mAh or 1100mAh batteries with a spring-loaded terminal to ensure contact with the tank atomizer. The Bottom Dual Coil Atomizer Housing Unit is wickless and produces more vapor with a supreme clean favor. All kits come in a fashionable box package.
Just in time for spring, White Owl introduces Watermelon to its award-winning line of limited-time favors. Watermelon is available while supplies last in a 2/99¢ pouch and “Save On 2” format. Following in the successful footsteps of White Owl Pineapple and Mango, White Owl Watermelon continues our trend of popular spring favor cigarillos. As with our previous offerings, retailers will have a hard time keeping these on the shelf as consumers fock to try our newest tropical offering.
CB Distributors Inc. Beloit, Wis. www.vapinplus.com
Swedish Match Richmond, Va. www.swedishmatch.com
Commonwealth-Altadis Inc. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. www.commonwealthaltadis.com
WHITE OWL WATERMELON FOILFRESH CIGARILLOS
APRIL 2015 Category Spotlights
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: TOBACCO VIPER DRY TOBACCO LEAF VAPORIZER The Viper Dry Tobacco Leaf Vaporizer uses an electric coil and ceramic heating chamber for the ultimate vaping experience. Dry herbs or tobacco can be used with the Viper, which is also compatible with the Vapin Plus 2.5-milliliter E-Juice tanks. The Viper comes with the necessary accessories to get started, including: Viper Battery, Ceramic Heating Chamber, Spring, Mesh Filter, Chamber Connector, Ceramic Filter, Glass Filter, Rubber Mouthpiece, Cleaning Brush Tool, Packing Tool, Wall Adapter, and USB Charger.
RONSON JETLITE BUTANE TORCH LIGHTER The Jetlite Butane Torch Lighter from Ronson is the perfect companion to your tobacco offerings. It’s available in a convenient and ultra-compact 12-unit display for easy countertop impulse buys, and features an array of Jetlite lighters in brushed metallic fnishes with handsome tooling. Two edgy new designs — the ace of spades or a grinning skull, both on a sleek black matte fnish — are also available. Ronson Multi-Fill Butane is a great upsell with this rugged, refllable torch lighter. Contact either your Zippo or Ronson sales representative for details and pricing.
CB Distributors Inc. Beloit, Wis. www.vapinplus.com
Ronson, part of the Zippo family of brands Bradford, Pa. http://ronsonusa.com
SWISHER DIAMONDS The new Swisher Diamonds Cigarillos, the un-sweet Swisher, are one of Swisher’s hottest new products. These cigarillos are everything you love about Swisher without the sweet; just a smooth, rich taste created by master tobacco blenders. Swisher Diamonds cigarillos are available in a two-count resealable pouch at three popular price points: 99 cents, $1.49 and non-priced “Save on 2.” Swisher International Inc. Darien, Conn. www.swisher.com
Category Spotlights APRIL 2015
SPLITARILLOS NEW 18K & LOUD FLAVORS
BIC SPECIAL EDITION “THE WALKING DEAD” SERIES LIGHTERS
Innovative lifestyle brands manufacturer Trendsettah USA Inc. has added two new favor profles to its industry-leading Splitarillos cigarillos lineup. The 18k favor is infused with a richly sweet maple syrup favor. And super sweet LOUD is already becoming the talk of the industry. These two very distinguished favors from Trendsettah are a natural complement to its growing Splitarillos line of premium cigarillos.
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is a pop culture phenomenon! It’s the No. 1 show on U.S. television among adults aged 18 to 49. The lighters in this series appeal to the show’s dedicated fans, featuring zombie images and the show logo. Lighters in this series are made in the U.S., and have a suggested retail price of $1.89 per lighter.
Trendsettah USA Inc. Doral, Fla. www.trendsettah.com
BIC USA Inc. Shelton, Conn. biclighter.com
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: TOBACCO RONSONOL LIGHTER FLUID, RONSON MULTI-FILL BUTANE & RONSON LIGHTER ACCESSORIES Your tobacco display isn’t complete without Ronson lighter accessories. Ronsonol lighter fuid and Ronson Multi-Fill Butane are among the highest quality brands of fuel on the market, bottled from a superior fuel source that doesn’t need multiple refning processes before sending to your shelves. Flints and wicks are available in space-saving, grab-and-go 12-pack boxes. Contact either your Zippo or Ronson sales representative for details and pricing. Ronson, part of the Zippo family of brands Bradford, Pa. http://ronsonusa.com
KLONDIKE PREMIUM MOIST TOBACCO 6-PACK TUB
SWISHER SWEETS MINI CIGARILLOS Swisher Sweets’ Finest Fusion Mini Cigarillos have two new tropical tastes: Tropical Storm and Island Bash. Tropical Storm Mini Cigarillos have a refreshing blend of citrus and raspberry, while Island Bash Mini Cigarillos are a fusion of fruit punch and watermelon. The Finest Fusion Mini Cigarillos join the Swisher Sweets Mini Cigarillos line — Original, Blueberry and Grape — in a redesigned, resealable three-count foil pouch. All of the Mini Cigarillos are available in “Buy 2, Get 3.” Swisher International Inc. Darien, Conn. www.swishersweets.com
USA GOLD GLIDE TEC PACK Launched in select markets, USA Gold’s new “Glide Tec” pack symbolizes American ingenuity at its best and functionality that is as simple as “slide up, light up.” Glide Tec packaging’s unique sliding mechanism allows packs to be opened with one hand. The Glide Tec pack contains our same great USA Gold product. Emblazed with American colors, it embodies the American spirit and highlights USA Gold’s American heritage and pride in a contemporary and relevant manner. Commonwealth-Altadis Inc. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. www.commonwealthaltadis.com
Muscle up with new Klondike Smokeless Tubs! The Klondike 6-Pack Tub is redefning what a tub should be by eliminating the mess and hassle of traditional tubs. Adult tobacco consumers are saying “no” to the timeconsuming, messy process of flling cans with loose tobacco and saying “yes” to the convenience of six prepacked, always fresh cans. Available in Wintergreen Long Cut, the Klondike 6-Pack Tub perfectly fts the needs of adult smokeless consumers.
Visual Marketing’s AIM tobacco merchandising system is the right fxture solution for your stores. Made from high-quality powder coated steel, the AIM system is durable and built to last in your busy retail environment. AIM has the fexibility, versatility and options to meet and exceed the needs across your cigarette, e-cigarette and OTP categories for today and tomorrow. Take AIM and control of your tobacco category today. Visit our website to design your own custom tobacco fxture and receive a quote.
Cheyenne International LLC Grover, N.C. www.cheyenneintl.com
Visual Marketing Inc. Chicago aimvmichicago.com
AIM TOBACCO SYSTEM
APRIL 2015 Category Spotlights
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: TOBACCO
LEX12 STAPLE E-LIQUID VAPORIZER & E-LIQUIDS The LEX12 Staple premium rechargeable E-Liquid Vaporizer kit comes with a lithium ion battery, a top-loading, easy-tofll LEX12 tank, and USB charger packaged in a distinctive, embossed tin. LEX12 Staple is complemented with 16 LEX12 E-Liquids, expertly blended favors available in fve different nicotine strengths. The E-Liquids come in 12-milliliter bottles with slender, extended applicator tips; are manufactured in the USA; and have childproof, tamper-resistant caps. For more information, call (800) 766-5342. S&M Brands Inc. Keysville, Va. www.smbrands.com
BIC SPECIAL EDITION BLACK & WHITE MINITRONIC SERIES LIGHTERS The new BIC Black & White MiniTronic electronic lighters are the perfect accessory for the fashion-forward consumer. These products use push-button ignition and come in eight chic, monochrome designs inspired by the runway. This mini lighter may be compact and convenient, but its bold patterns make a big statement! Lighters in this series have a suggested retail price of $1.79 per lighter. BIC USA Inc. Shelton, Conn. biclighter.com
LEX12 E-SENSE Escape the ordinary with distinctive and great-tasting E-Sense — designed with the on-the-go smoker in mind. Premium disposable LEX12 E-Sense combines the best of e-liquid and vape technology for a distinctive experience. Available in six expertly blended, aromatic and delicious favors: Classic, Menthol Chrome, Broken Dawn, Temptation, Napa Night and Carnal Ecstasy. Each unit offers up to 700 puffs, is available in 0.6 percent tobaccoderived nicotine strength, and has no tar, ash or fame. Packaged in sleek, colorful embossed tins. For more information, call (800) 766-5342. S&M Brands Inc. Keysville, Va. www.smbrands.com
Category Spotlights APRIL 2015
BIC SPECIAL EDITION GENTLEMEN’S CLUB ELECTRONIC SERIES LIGHTERS The new BIC Gentlemen’s Club Electronic Series Lighters with push-button ignition incorporate six luxurious, textured designs in rich gold, black and white patterns. Ideal for the sophisticated man with discerning taste, the premium lighters in this series are the perfect accessory for any cigar afcionado. The lighters in this series have a suggested retail price of $2.49 per lighter. BIC USA Inc. Shelton, Conn. biclighter.com
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: BEVERAGES COORS LIGHT CITRUS RADLER
SAMUEL ADAMS BOSTON LAGER
Announcing summer’s most refreshing seasonal beer — Coors Light Citrus Radler is a blend of cold, refreshing Coors Light and natural citrus favors. As seasonal beers grew 11 percent* in 2014, this comes at just the right time and launches this month in 12-ounce 12-packs, 16-ounce single cans, and 24-ounce single cans. *Nielsen, Total US xAOC/Conv 1/04/14-11/08/14
Samuel Adams Boston Lager helped lead the American beer revolution, reviving a passion for full-bodied brews that are robust and rich with character. Since 1984, Samuel Adams Boston Lager has used only the fnest hand-selected ingredients to create this perfectly balanced, complex and full-bodied original brew. Now available in 16-ounce cans, six-pack bottles, 12-pack cans and bottles, and 22-ounce bottles.
MillerCoors LLC Chicago www.millercoors.com
Boston Beer Co. Boston www.samueladams.com
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: EquIPmEnT & TECHnOLOGY McLANE SMART HANDHELD LOTTERY APPLICATION
Twenty years ago, Verifone changed the industry with a valuepriced, all-in-one POS. A lot has changed in the industry since, but Verifone did it again! Simplify your POS technology, increase the speed of operations and enhance your management tools with this all-in-one EMV ready solution.
Petrosoft LLC delivers cloud-based software, hardware, services and business solutions for the retail and petroleum industries. The Petrosoft Platform connects third-party data and applications along with its proprietary SmartPOS, Qwickserve, DirectConnect, C-Store Offce and Fuel-Central solutions.
The McLane Smart Handheld Lottery application allows you to quickly activate lottery books, from any state, with an easy-to-use, automated interface. What’s more, activations are immediately communicated to your backoffce system so you know what’s going on at your store in real-time. Reduce errors and liabilities while saving time and improving cash fow with a simple scan and push of a button.
Verifone Inc. Clearwater, Fla. www.verifone.com
Petrosoft LLC Pittsburgh www.petrosoftinc.com
McLane Co. Inc. Temple, Texas www.mclaneco.com/goto/lotto APRIL 2015 Category Spotlights
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: EquIPmEnT & TECHnOLOGY IMAGEWORKS DISPLAY ImageWorks Display and Marketing Co. is the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading manufacturer of high-quality and innovative tobacco displays. Whether you operate a single store or thousands, you can depend on ImageWorks for all of your tobacco category display needs and accessories. All ImageWorks displays feature the highest quality materials available, providing you with unmatched quality and long-lasting durability. We have made shopping very simple with an updated website, which also includes how-to instructional videos. Our customer service team is always available to assist you and will help tailor your display to your specifc needs and budget.
Launched in November 2014, Rubbermaidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Maximizer mop is designed to deliver maximum foor coverage at an optimal weight, signifcantly reducing the effort to lift and move the mop. Greater foor coverage and a lightweight design reduce the time spent cleaning large areas, which means increased productivity and less strain on cleaning professionals. The Maximizer mop delivers 30 percent more foor coverage than traditional mops and weighs 25 percent less in comparison.
ImageWorks Display Winston-Salem, N.C. www.imageworksdisplay.com
Rubbermaid Commercial Products Huntersville, N.C. www.rubbermaidcommercial.com
McLANE DIRECT STORE DELIVERY APPLICATION The McLane Smart Handheld DSD application allows any product from any distributor to be checked in and accounted for in real-time, all from one single device. Plus, you can easily place orders, take inventory and create shelf labels for all your McLane and DSD products. The McLane Smart Handheld DSD application eliminates inconsistencies, streamlines processes, reduces errors, saves time and money and empowers you to order the products that you need to run your business. McLane Co. Inc. Temple, Texas www.mclaneco.com/goto/dsd
RUBBERMAID MAXIMIZER MOP
Category Spotlights APRIL 2015
RUBBERMAID WAVEBRAKE WaveBrake bucket technology reduces splashing for more effcient mopping, cleaner foors and an overall safer environment. The revolutionary bucket with molded-in baffe technology reduces splashing up to 40 percent for cleaner foors, more effcient mopping and safer conditions for customers and staff. The down-press wringer is tested to exceed 50,000 wringing cycles and sidepress wringer is tested to exceed 40,000 cycles. Rubbermaid Commercial Products Huntersville, N.C. www.rubbermaidcommercial.com
CATEGORY SPOTLIGHTS: OTHER MERCHANDISE & SERVICES MINI THIN 25MG EPHEDRIZINE ENERGY PILLS Mini Thin 25mg Ephedrizine Two-Way Action delivers on high-speed energy and enhanced metabolism. This energy product provides a highly effective formula that provides hours of energy to consumers. It is ideal for consumers seeking to maximize their energy levels while saving serious money over the cost of energy shots and drinks. A multiple-dose pack or bottle of Mini Thin conveniently fts into a shirt pocket, purse or car cup holder. Available in fourcount blister cards or 24-count bottles. DBI Distribution Carmel, Ind. www.dbidist.com
SAVE-A-LOT FOOD STORES Save-A-Lot is the leading hard discount grocery retailer designed specifcally for independent retailers. Opening a Save-A-Lot has never been easier with a comprehensive retailer support program, access to exclusive brands provided by our company-owned distribution centers, and a strong fnancial incentive of a minimum $200,000 toward the development of a new store. If you have an interest in expanding your retail portfolio to include a proven hard discount grocery business, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talk. Save-A-Lot Food Stores St. Louis www.save-a-lot.com/own
SOPOQUIL SLEEP AID Introducing Sopoquil, a new sleep aid supplement for the convenience store market. Sopoquil helps you enjoy up to eight hours of tranquil sleep, so now sleeping is easier than ever. This fast-acting formula provides high-quality ingredients for a peaceful night sleep. Each packet includes four capsules for four servings, or four nights of rest. Available with 24 packets per display and 24 displays per master case, each packet retails for $2.49. DBI Distribution Carmel, Ind. www.dbidist.com
BOOTY CALL Introducing the one and only Booty Call, a sexual supplement designed especially for women. This amazing new item helps to increase the sex drive in women by providing a high-quality herbal formula. It will defnitely light her fre, ignite her desire and heighten her pleasure! This product is available in packets, with one serving per packet. It is available in display boxes of 24 packets per display and retails for $2.49. DBI Distribution Carmel, Ind. www.dbidist.com
TESTOSTREX Testostrex, an herbal dietary supplement for men, helps to increase erectile response and sex drive with its stateof-the-art formula. This high-quality formula also works to enhance muscle mass, making it ideal for the workout afcionado. With many men showing signs of lower testosterone levels as they age, this item is the ideal testosterone booster. Each packet contains two servings. It is available in 24-unit display boxes, consisting of 12 display boxes per case. Suggested retail price is $2.49 per packet. DBI Distribution Carmel, Ind. www.dbidist.com
APRIL 2015 Category Spotlights
San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA
HOTPRODUCTS Special Advertising Section
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HOTPRODUCTS Special Advertising Section
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CLASSIFIED Credit Card Processing / Merchant Services
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CLASSIFIED Air Vacs
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CLASSIFIED Age Verifier
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CLASSIFIED Air Vacs
Age Verifer / POS
1-800-542-3336 Back Offce Software
OUR STARTER PACK
12 Dozen Sunglasses, FREE Display & Shipping
500% Proﬁt on our sunglasses
GUARANTEED: • Superior Customer Service • Fast Shipping • No Hassle Exchange Policy • Latest Men and Women Designs
Fast Return on Investment! High Profit Great Impulse Item!
www.solarsunglasses.net WWW.CSNEWS.COM | APRIL 2015 | Convenience Store News 103
CLASSIFIED Help Wanted
LOOKING FOR A NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER. Tobacco experience a plus. Use your relationships and knowledge of Chain Stores to proft in 2015. You will be selling nationally known tobacco and electronic products.
We offer salary, commission, bonuses, benefts, company auto, etc. Send resume in confdence to Dave Darilek at email@example.com or fax to 903-892-0572.
Looking for ideas to promote your product or services? Need help creating an ad that fts your needs without spending a fortune with an advertising agency?
We are here to help you, 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 agencies charge!
Our ads get results! CALL TERRY KANGANIS TODAY-
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Equipment / Supplies
CLASSIFIED Financial Services
DAVY CROCKETT HATS SELL BY THE TENS OF THOUSANDS AT $3.50 EACH. Silver Fox tails are a good seller!
You Can Scan We have: Red Fox tails, Coyote tails, White tails, Racoon tails, etc.
Leopard Rabbit Skin
Rabbit skins come in White, Natural colors, Cheetah, Tiger, Leopard, Ocelot and Black.
LARGEST FUR TAIL DEALER WITH OVER A MILLION TAILS AT LOW WHOLESALE ONLY PRICES. $100 MIN. FREE PRICE LIST.
Strips Inc. Tel.: (718) 786-3381 Fax: (718) 786-0203 http://stripsinc.tripod.com
Check Guarantee Services
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who read Convenience Store News do so because they want to find out about new products. Reach those important hard to reach retailers by advertising here in the Hot Products Section of Convenience Store News by contacting:
of retailers 570 Lake Cook Road, Suite 310, Deerfield IL 60015 Phone (224) 632-8200 Fax (224) 632-8266 www.stagnitobusinessinformation.com
Terry Kanganis at Stagnito Media at 201-855-7615 for more details.
Harry Stagnito President and CEO 224-632-8217 firstname.lastname@example.org Kollin Stagnito Chief Operating Officer 224-632-8226 email@example.com
ADINDEX AdvancePierre Foods
Ned Bardic Senior Vice President/Partner 224-632-8244 firstname.lastname@example.org Korry Stagnito Chief Brand Officer 224-632-8171 email@example.com Terry Kanganis Account Executive & Classified Advertising 201-855-7615 firstname.lastname@example.org Kevin McKay Western Regional Sales Manager 847-49-9519 email@example.com Kim Hansen Midwestern Regional Sales Manager 847-726-1590 firstname.lastname@example.org Rachel McGaffigan Northeast Regional Sales Manager 508-385-2524 email@example.com Christina Bear Associate Brand Director 224-632-8182 firstname.lastname@example.org Roz Gilman Ad Manager 224-632-8243 email@example.com
Stagnito Business Information U.S. brands:
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www advancepierre com
Altria Group Distribution Company
www anheuser-busch com
Berry Plastics Corp
www versalite com
BIC USA Inc
www BicLighter com
Boston Beer Company
5 45 13 67
www cdlatm com
Category Management Association
www cpgcatnet org
www 21stCenturySmoke com
www bodyshotvapor com
Commonwealth- Altadis Inc
1 800 440 5797
69 71,72,73 33 59 25,61
www conagrafoods com
DelMonte Fresh Produce Inc
www freshdelmonte com
www ECRM MarketGate com
Global Tobacco LLC
888 597 6653
www hatcocorp com
Imageworks Display & Marketing Group
www imageworksdisplay com
Innovative Control Systems
www icscarwashsystems com
Liggett Vector Brands
877 415 4100
Living Essentials LLC
www 5hourenergy com/trade
www logicecig com
McCain Foods USA
www mccain4cstores com
McLane Co Inc
www mclaneco com
Nat Sherman Inc
www natsherman com
National Tobacco Co
www V2 com
Orion Food Systems
info hotstuffpizza com
Papa Johns International
800 528 NUTS
R J Reynolds Tobacco Company
www engagetradepartners com
19 CV1,10-11 49 14-15 63
R J Reynolds Tobacco Co/Santa Fe Tobacco
www engagetradepartners com
www LEX12 com
www save-a-lot com
Spark Industries LLC/VAPAGE
800 280 8089
www swisher com
Tillamook Country Smoker Inc
www tcsjerkey com
www nynab com
Visual Marketing Inc
www AIMvmichicago com
www ronsonusa com
57 30-31,55 29 51 Outsert 107 35
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