INDUSTRY CALENDAR SEE PAGE 22
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT: Comedian and Presidential Candidate brings MiO Energy to the People SEE PAGE 4
Ethanol Providing Consumers Choice at the Pump
GIFTS & SOUVENIRS
SEE PAGE 15
SEE PAGE 16
C onvenienceRETAILER Volume 5, Number 3
C-Store Retailers Hit Hard by Credit, Debit Card Swipe Fees
comes in two colors with two printed inspirational messages in the handle and includes 15 grams of Sweet Maple Candies. Fans may also log on to a website to get a free music download from Public Enemy. Though Micheck da Candy is new to the marketplace, Ron Auerbach, President of CandyRific, said response has been great. “Consumers like this unique item and they’re interested in its positive message,”
As gasoline prices around the country approach record highs, a number of sources are receiving blame for the cost spike. Everyone from the oil industry to gasoline retailers to Congress to the president are being targeted for their inability to make gas more affordable. However, one potential contributor to the high cost drivers are paying at the pump has largely walked away from this public debate unscathed: the banking industry—despite the fact that the debit and credit card transaction fees consumers are paying each time they fill up their tanks are skyrocketing. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, more than two-thirds of convenience store customers today use debit and credit cards to purchase fuel and in-store items. In order to accept this form of payment, retailers must also be willing to accept the interchange or “swipe” fees that the banking industry dictates. However, with these fees now reaching as high as 22 cents per transaction, convenience retailers are suffering. In fact, in 2010, the convenience store industry reported profits of $6.5
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BY LUCAS WITMAN
America’s Sweet Tooth Still Craves Candy, Confections—Lots of Chocolate Sometimes, the most routine task can reap sweet rewards. Just ask Sensei Aaron, rapper Chuck D’s first MC partner and former bodyguard. The mandatory concert sound check gave Aaron and Chuck D the idea to make microphone-shaped candy, which they took to candy and novelty product maker CandyRific. Micheck da Candy was launched in February. Each microphone plays three Chuck D voice-recorded empowering messages, BY A.J. FLICK
Consumers Seeking Healthier Snack Options
According to a recent report issued by foodservices industry research and consulting company Technomic, people are snacking much more frequently today than they were just two years ago. Forty-eight percent of the 1,500 people Technomic surveyed claim to snack at least twice a day, nearly twice as many as the 25 percent who claimed to do so in a 2010 survey. The study shows that snacking is becoming a larger part of consumers’ everyday lives, with many choosing to graze throughout the day, or even replace larger meals with a series of smaller snacks. As snacks increasingly make up a significant portion of many individuals’ daily diets, people are broadening their definition Continued on Page 14
C-Stores Under Fire for Synthetic Drug Sales Sold under the seemingly innocuous names “spice” and “bath salts,” synthetic drugs—popular primarily among adolescents and young adults—are a dangerous growing national trend. And despite increasing attempts to regulate these substances, these products are readily available online, and even continue to be sold at some convenience stores. Bath salts and spice, or synthetic
FEATURES SEE PAGES 10-14 n Metro® Seven™ Launching This May n Popchips: “Bringing the Fun Back to Snacking”
MARKETWATCH SEE PAGE 18 n Johnsonville C-Store Website Provides Valuable Access to Operator Information n Knauss Foods Launches PJ’s Beef Steak
TOP TECH SEE PAGE 20 n JobApp Unveils Bold New Look, Redesigned Website, Revised Product Lineup n Walgreens and Foursquare Team Up to Help Customers Save
BY LUCAS WITMAN
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PRODUCT FEATURES SEE PAGE 21 n Shock Top Lemon Shandy n Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration n Doritos Jacked Chips www.convenienceretailer.net
NEXT ISSUE: BEVERAGES
3Coconut Tea Forté: "A Journey in Tea”
Car Care Products
sure bets New Insulated Solo Cups Serve Hot and Cold Beverages
Solo Foodservice has launched a dual-temperature insulated cup with better rigidity and an enhanced glossy appearance. The company hopes that the product will help foodservice operators to boost beverage sales, improve efficiency, control costs and build their business. A single-cup solution for both hot and cold beverages, Trophy Plus cups offer increased customer satisfaction with improved rigidity to prevent spills and a durable construction that resists crushing. The Cozy Touch insulation ensures customer comfort, providing a sense of warmth or coolness without transferring extreme temperatures. The insulation also eliminates the need for sleeves or double cupping for hot beverages and reduces condensation from cold beverages. Solo’s Trophy Plus cups are available in five sizes between 6 and 24 ounces. However, the product actually streamlines an operator’s inventory, as it utilizes a single common lid for fall five cup sizes. Still, there are a wide variety of different lid
types available for the new cups, including both domed and flat varieties. Trophy Plus reduces storage requirements with space-saving compact case cubes. Tight nesting also allows for more cups per stack, reducing the frequency of dispenser refills, and freeing up counter space. The top-to-bottom print capability of Trophy Plus gives operators maximum space to showcase their brand and special messaging. In addition, paperlike printing quality and an enhanced glossier finish set these cups apart from the crowd and increase brand perception. A variety of stock prints are also available. Trophy Plus offers performance, versatility and efficiency in a single cup. The cup’s secure, leak-resistant lid make it optimal for both handling and transport. And because Trophy Plus works with both hot and cold beverages, it is a perfect product for a variety of market segments including convenience stores, quick-service restaurants, hospitality/lodging and healthcare. n
Comedian & Presidential Candidate brings MiO Energy to the People
There’s a new presidential candidate in the mix, and he claims to have the solution to America’s energy woes. Actor, comedian and presidential candidate Judah Friedlander recently commandeered three Los Angeles 7-Eleven stores on behalf of MiO Energy, the new platform for the popular liquid water enhancer. Friedlander, a self-proclaimed beverage expert, met with locals to serve up both MiO Energy and laughs. “Energy is a major issue facing our nation. I need to let Americans know where I stand on this vital issue. Nobody cares more about the USA than me,” said Friedlander. “What better way to do that than to hang out at 7-Eleven and talk with real people and throw my support to MiO Energy. “And I know what I’m talking about,” he said. “I have two Ph.Ds in energy and three Ph.Ds in beverages. I’ve dedicated my entire life to studying energy drinks.” Building upon the successful launch
Bacardi Celebrates Founders with Rare New Artisan Rum
To commemorate the rum making standards achieved by Bacardi 150 years ago, family-owned Bacardi Limited recently announced the release of the rarest Bacardi rum ever to be sold by the company, in celebration of the expertise and craftsmanship that goes into making every bottle of Bacardi rum. For the limited edition rum, an unprecedented eight Bacardi Master Blenders or “Maestros de Ron,” each one a Bacardi family member, have combined their extraordinary talents to create a very special and rare Bacardi product, Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage MMXII. A blend of the finest Bacardi rums aged in oak barrels over the past 20 years and finished in 60-year old Cognac barrels, this vintage blend is presented to consumers in a hand-blown crystal decanter. The masterful art of rum making, commemorated by the release of this exquisite vintage spirit, was perfected in 1862 in Santiago de Cuba, by Bacardi founder Don Facundo Bacardi Masso, the original Maestro de Ron. According to Manny Oliver, Bacardi Master Blender, “Don Facundo forever changed the spirits world by creating Bacardi Superior Rum, 4
the most mixable of all Bacardi rums, introducing steps and setting the standards in rum-making.” The limited edition Bacardi MMXII Vintage is a highly aromatic, full-bodied and generous rum with a mellow flavor. It has an expansive nose full of fresh tropical fruits and sweet floral aromas, balanced with soft vanilla and a smooth oaken character. Its inviting aromatic qualities are enriched with notes of sweet Caribbean honey and fragrant fruits, leading to a long, pleasing finish with a smooth background of oak. “We created the taste profile that we wanted, something different, from the very best vintages that we had in our barrels,” said Toten Comas Bacardi, Bacardi family member and Master Blender. Fellow Master Blender Facundo Bac-
ardi Bravo said, “We have created a new rum that brings the very best of all our experiences into one Bacardi rum that will help us to remember and celebrate Don Facundo and the generations and generations of blenders that came before us, and to carry on their legacy.” The unique hand-blown crystal decanter represents the coconut palm planted at the entrance of the first Bacardi distillery in Santiago de Cuba by Don Facundo’s son 150 years ago. Known as “El Coco,” this coconut palm tree became a symbol of the Bacardi family’s heritage and Cuban roots. This decanter embodies a new seed for the spirit of the next 150 years. Each hand-blown 500ml crystal decanter, housed in a finely detailed leather case, retails for $2,000. Truly a limited edition, only about 200 decanters will be made available at select international airport duty-free stores and premium retail establishments around the world. n
of MiO last year, MiO Energy, a brand new plank in the brand’s platform, is a portable liquid water enhancer with an added energy benefit. With 60 mg caffeine per eight fluid ounce serving, about the same amount as a 6-ounce cup of coffee, each MiO Energy bottle offers multiple servings right in the palm of your hand. “MiO Energy is not your typical energy drink, so for the launch we teamed up with the most unconventional presidential hopeful to ever throw his hat into the ring,” said Sam Garfinkel, Senior Associate Brand Manager of MiO. “Between Judah’s trademark trucker hats and his slight unpredictability, we can’t wait to see what he has in store for 7-Eleven customers.” MiO Energy is available in both Black Cherry and Green Thunder flavors. It is sold at 7-Eleven Stores, where it can be found right next to the cash registers. It is also available at other convenience and grocery stores nationwide. n
C onvenienceRETAILER Lee M. Oser CEO and Editor-in-Chief Lyle Sapp Senior Associate Publisher Director of Sales Kate Seymour Senior Associate Publisher Kim Forrester Associate Publisher Lorrie Baumann Editorial Director A.J. Flick Senior Editor Lucas Witman Editor Rocelle Aragon Associate Editor Monica Boland Art Director Yasmine Brown Graphic Designer Ruth Haltiwanger Selene Pinuelas Traffic Manager Clarissa Alvarez Conrad Mendoza Angela Bosso Lynn Hilton Paul Harris Adriana Inzunza Account Managers Enrico Cecchi European Sales Convenience Retailer is published by Oser Communications Group ©2012. BPA Worldwide Member since June 22, 2009. All rights reserved. Executive and editorial offices at: 1877 N. Kolb Road, Tucson, AZ 85715 520-721-1300/Fax: 520-721-6300 www.oser.com www.convenienceretailer.net European offices located at Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 11, 50125 Florence, Italy.
sure bets Dentyne Releases New Split2Fit Dual Gum Packs
Dentyne recently introduced the new Split2Fit pack—an innovative, versatile and sleek package that holds 33 percent more gum than before (16 vs. 12 pieces) and can be split into two smaller, sleeker and easier-to-carry packs. Now you can carry all 16 pieces at once, or, if space is limited, you can split the pack into two smaller halves that are easier to slip into closefitting places like a shirt pocket or a clutch. The new Dentyne Split2Fit pack makes it much easier to carry your socializing essentials when you go out for the night. Additionally, because the new Split2Fit pack holds more pieces than before, you’ll be even more prepared to practice safe breath while on the go. In addition, Dentyne has a new flavor, Dentyne Ice Mint Frost, bringing a unique profile to the Dentyne lineup of intense, breath-freshening gums. In connection with the dual release of the Split2Fit pack and Ice Mint Frost gum, Dentyne recently commissioned a nationwide study of 18- to 34-year-olds, regarding their safe breath practices. The company has also compiled a list of the top U.S. cities for safe breath.
According to the study, 86 percent of those surveyed stated that they could not disregard a companion’s bad breath on a first date. In addition, 71 percent stated that they feel less confident meeting someone of the opposite sex if they do not have fresh breath. And if you are counting on a friend to let you know if your breath is not fresh, think again, as
85 percent of survey respondents stated that it is difficult for them to bring up the topic. Despite the proven importance of maintaining fresh breath in social situations, the study also found that 23 percent have left gum at home, because
Super Low-Calorie Beer Miller64 Re-Launches Nationwide
MillerCoors, the company that popularized the light and super-light beer categories, is bringing a new look, name and personality to beer drinkers this spring. Beginning in March, Miller64, previously MGD 64, became available to consumers across the country. The nationwide re-launch of Miller64—still 64 calories and with the same crisp, light taste as before—will be supported by new television, radio, digital and out-of-home advertising. The new marketing campaign demonstrates how Miller64 complements a balanced lifestyle for legal-drinking-age consumers who are committed to making good choices with their daily responsibilities and in their social lives. Miller64 is available in cans and clear bottles featuring the brand’s bold new logo and its 6
eye-catching smoky silver and red labels. “Whether it’s the man who gets a little exercise playing recreational softball or the woman who takes the stairs instead of the elevator, we are confident consumers will appreciate that Miller64 won’t undo all their efforts to maintain a balanced lifestyle,” said Rita Patel, Miller64 Marketing Manager. “Miller64 is the perfect light-beer choice for today’s consumers who are always on the go but strive to balance their responsibilities and social life.” With 64 calories and 2.4 grams of carbohydrates per 12 ounces, Miller64 offers legal-drinking-age consumers the opportunity to feel good about their alcoholic beverage choice. The beer is available at bars, restaurants and stores across the country. n
they could not find room for it in their pockets or handbags. According to Dentyne’s “safe breath rankings,” Los Angeles is the most breath-conscious city in the U.S., followed by Atlanta and Dallas. Meanwhile, Boston and San Francisco find themselves at the bottom of this list, showing that residents in these cities may want to triple-check their breath before going on on that first date. The Dentyne brand offers a wide range of flavors and options to encourage social connections. Dentyne Ice gum delivers bold breath freshening with intense, smooth and great tasting flavors including Arctic Chill, Peppermint, Spearmint, Dentyne Fire and new Mint Frost. In addition, Dentyne Pure is the first gum product available with NeutraFresh, a proprietary blend of ingredients that is clinically shown to neutralize bad breath odors. Available in Mint with Herbal Accents and Mint with Melon Accents, Dentyne Pure doesn’t just mask bad breath, it purifies breath deliciously. All Dentyne sugarless gum products can be found in convenience, mass merchandise, drug stores, grocery stores and other retail outlets. n
West Coast Chill Becomes First Beverage Available In Self-Chilling Can
On March 24, West Coast Chill Pure Energy Drink utilizing Microcool technology became the first ever self-chilling beverage can to go on sale in the United States. West Coast Chill Pure Energy Drink in the Chill Can made its debut at the Hotelympia Show in London, one of Europe’s largest exhibition shows for the food services and hospitality industries, this past February. Attendees at the trade show were reportedly astonished by the groundbreaking technology they witnessed. Those present were treated throughout the day to demonstrations of the innovative Microcool technology that enables West Coast Chill Energy Drink to go from a room temperature drink to a cold, refreshing one in just three minutes. In addition, the demonstration also showed how the Chill Can allows the beverage to stay colder longer in comparison to a conventional refrigerated can. West Coast Chill’s award-winning Microcool technology is eco-friendly, using carbon dioxide reclaimed from the atmosphere and activated carbon ascertained from a renewable vegetable source. An activation button on the can allows the beverage to drop 30 degrees within minutes. The Chill Can does not require any energy and eliminates the need for any refrigeration as it “chills on demand,” anytime, anywhere. “The Chill Can will revolutionize the beverage industry, and the way the consumer perceives a cold drink,” states Mitchell J. Joseph, CEO of Joseph Co. International, the developer of Microcool technology. West Coast Chill Energy Drink is based on all natural ingredients and contains no sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors or colors. In addition, the company’s commitment to environmental awareness goes beyond the eco-friendly Microcool technology itself, as stores selling the drink will be outfitted with recycling containers, where West Coast Chill Energy Drink purchasers can return the cans so that the cooling mechanisms can later be reused. Already available at retail stores in Las Vegas and Southern California, West Coast Chill is expected to expand the product’s retail market soon. Recommended retail price for the West Coast Chill Pure Energy Drink is $2.95 per can. n
sure bets Shell Launches Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines
Shell, the No. 1 selling brand of gasoline in the U.S., recently launched its Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines, in an effort to address the increasing need for engine protection. With the rapid growth of advanced engine technologies and with consumers holding on to their existing vehicles longer, it is becoming increasingly important for consumers to protect their vehicles, typically an individual’s second largest investment. Carbon deposit build-up or “gunk” on critical engine parts is the result of various chemical processes that occur in the engine dur-
ing its normal operation. The engine gunk can make your engine less efficient over time by acting like a sponge, absorbing and trapping gasoline on intake valves and impairing the flow of gasoline through fuel injectors. The new formulation from Shell delivers 20 percent more active cleaning agents than before, designed to protect the engine’s intake valves and fuel injectors from performance-robbing gunk. The company claims that no matter what vehicle you drive, no other gasoline protects your engine better than new Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines.
“Whether it’s a new car with an advanced engine technology or an older one that is needed for continued use over the long haul, today’s drivers need protection from engine gunk,” said Dan Little, North America Fuels Marketing Manager for Shell Oil Products U.S. “Knowing this, Shell set out with our research teams and with input from leading automakers and other stakeholders to design a formulation to meet the needs of today’s consumer and protect critical engine parts, no matter what they drive.”
For those drivers who simply expect the most from their vehicle’s perespecially formance, those with vehicles whose manufacturers recommend or require a premium gasoline, the company recommends Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline. This new formulation boasts the highest concentration of the Shell Nitrogen Enriched Cleaning System, and is designed to clean an engine’s intake valves from performance-robbing gunk even faster than regular Shell gasolines. n
Snack Maker Old London Launches “OPA! To a Better You” Sweepstakes
Old London, makers of America’s beloved Melba Snacks, has partnered with Emmynominated “Dancing With the Stars” performer Chelsie Hightower to launch the “OPA! To A Better You” Sweepstakes, and to encourage consumers to live a more balanced, healthy lifestyle. Hightower and a team of nutrition and culinary experts have come together to provide simple health tips and recipes to support a Mediterranean-influenced lifestyle. Through the new sweepstakes, one lucky winner and a guest will have a
chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to the Greek islands, in order to give them the opportunity to experience the Mediterranean lifestyle firsthand. For thousands of years, residents of the Greek islands have enjoyed a healthy, balanced cuisine of olive oil, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy. Old London encourages consumers to adopt the same balance in their own lives by incorporating aspects of the Mediterranean diet into everyday meals. “Old London continues to believe that
LifeStyles Condoms Expanding Brand of Skyn Polyisoprene Products
The makers of LifeStyles Condoms revolutionized the condom aisle in 2008 with the release of the first non-latex polyisoprene condom on the market, LifeStyles® Skyn®. The next generation of condoms, Skyn was designed to give condom buyers what they desire most, comfort and sensitivity. The product was the first clinically approved polyisoprene condom, and LifeStyles is still proud to be the only condom company in the U.S. to provide this innovative contraceptive in a range of styles and sizes. Today, the Skyn portfolio includes Skyn, Skyn, Large, Skyn Extra Lubricated, and Skyn Variety Pack. Lifestyles is now planning for the release of two additional Skyn products later this year. Considered by many to be the closest thing to wearing nothing at all, Skyn provides greater sensation and more comfort than other condoms on the market today. Compared to other brands of non-latex condoms, which are primarily made from polyurethane, Skyn is softer and stretchier, easily adapting to the form of its wearer for a more ergonomic fit. Research 8
shows that 66 percent of condom users convert to Skyn once they experience the unique benefits of polyisoprene firsthand. “The introduction and reception of Skyn to the marketplace has changed everything, and we have been thrilled with the overwhelming positive consumer feedback,” said Carol Carrozza, Vice President of Global Marketing for Ansell Healthcare Products LLC, makers of LifeStyles Condoms. “Research has shown that users prefer the feel of Skyn over latex as evidenced with a 97 percent satisfaction rate in consumer trials, and this is certainly reflected in the climbing sales for this premium product. “Now, in response to consumer demand, we are proud to offer our discerning users a variety of new product offerings featuring this innovative, nonlatex material.” All LifeStyles Condoms are triple tested to meet the highest U.S. reliability standards. LifeStyles Skyn products are available at a wide range of big box retailers, drugstores, grocery and convenience stores across the country, as well as online. n
balance and consistency are essential to a healthy lifestyle,” said Chris Gunsch, Director of Marketing for Old London. “We offer consumers resources that encourage and help them reach their goals. Our lowin-fat snack options make for a guiltless snack throughout the day.” Old London’s light, crisp cracker line makes the perfect supplement for maintaining a balanced nutrition regimen. Their products include Melba Toast, Melba Snacks and Bagel Chips and are available at a suggested retail price of $2.80-$2.99.
Old London products can be found at grocery and retail chains nationwide. The “OPA! To A Better You” Sweepstakes will send one lucky winner and a guest on an unforgettable eight-day, sevennight vacation to the Greek islands, enabling them to walk along mountain trails, discover ancient ruins and taste the amazing flavors of the Mediterranean cuisine. Those interested can enter now through June 30 by visiting the Old London Facebook page at www .Facebook.com/OldLondonFoods. n
Stevia In The Raw Doubles Overall 2011 Sugar Substitute Sales Growth
Stevia In The Raw, the all-natural, zero calorie sweetener made by Cumberland Packing Corp., continues to grow in popularity with consumers, showing a dramatic surge from 2010-2011, with a 57 percent increase in overall U.S. sales. This places Stevia In The Raw firmly as the second best-selling stevia brand on the market. In addition, of the top five nationally branded sugar substitutes, Stevia In The Raw had the fastestgrowing volume sales. Stevia In The Raw’s growth in market share was led by its Bakers Bag, which saw an astounding 122 percent increase in sales in 2011 over the previous year. As a growing number of consumers are searching for natural ways to reduce sugar and calories in their food as well as their drinks, they are increasingly turning to Bakers Bag, the only stevia brand on the market that measures cup for cup like sugar and can be seamlessly used in cooking and baking.
“We’re thrilled that Stevia In The Raw is the choice brand for so many consumers who are looking for an all-natural, zerocalorie sweetener,” said Steven Eisenstadt, CEO of Cumberland Packing Corp. “More than ever, people are looking for products that are health-conscious, versatile and easy to use. We’re happy to provide this as well as an everyday lower price versus its primary competitor, delivering more sweetness, dollar for dollar.” Cumberland’s In The Raw line of products also includes both Sugar In The Raw and the company’s newest product, organic Agave In The Raw. The company has become a commanding presence in the market, answering the growing demand for nutritious all-natural ingredients. Cumberland looks to continue to build its In The Raw family of products, and to provide healthy options for consumers looking for better ways to eat right and to enjoy the sweet life. n
Metro Seven™, the Next Big Leap in Disposable Electronic Cigarettes, Launching This May Nicotek®, electronic cigarette provider, supplies the most cost-effective, affordable alternative to cigarette smoking. Based in Colorado, Nicotek™ distributes its electronic cigarettes across the nation under the brand name Metro®. Metro e-cigarettes, or e-cigs, are available in both traditional tobacco and menthol flavors. Nicotek is launching a new gamechanging electronic cigarette called the Metro Seven™, which is scheduled to hit retail shelves this May at more than 3,500 locations. This one-time-use e-cigarette is being hailed as the next big leap in disposable e-cigs. Selling at a suggested retail price of $7.99, this new product will deliver up to 300 puffs to the smoker, and is equivalent to about two packs of traditional cigarettes. Metro Seven e-cigarettes are groundbreaking, because of their quality, size and affordability. Metro Seven e-cigarettes are built as one piece, requiring no assembly, and their length and width are comparable to a standard King cigarette. Seven is considered one of the most lifelike e-cigarettes in the
Candy Continued from Page 1
Auerbach said. “The inspirational phrases came from Chuck D. They are empowering messages aimed at teens and young adults, to help inspire them.” The economy may have soured in the last few years, but America’s sweet tooth hasn’t decayed a bit, according to the recently released 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study on brand equity by Harris Interactive. The poll determined that above candy and confections, chocolate still rules. Hershey’s Kisses topped the chart for the fifth time in eight years and unseated its perennial rival, M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candy, which fell to fourth place. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chocolate Candy rose to the No. 2 position for the first time, according to the poll, which measures brand awareness and recognition among consumers. “For the last eight years, it has been a battle between Hershey’s Kisses and M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candy for the top spot as America’s favorite,” says Aron Galonsky, Senior Vice President of the Brand and Communications Consulting Group at Harris Interactive. “While Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chocolate Candy is usually in the top five, 2012 marks the first time that it is a contender for the top spot. It will be interesting to see if it continues this momentum.” Other top brands in the poll include Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Candy Bars, Kit Kat Bars and Reese’s Pieces. Topranked Mars products include Peanut 10
world, as it closely resembles and feels like a traditional tobacco cigarette. This is something that smokers have been eagerly awaiting from the industry. Chris Colón, Category Development Manager at the Cary, N.C.-based convenience store operating company The Pantry, Inc, says, “E-cigs are constantly evolving. This new item from Metro will allow us to offer our guests a more natural smoking experience through an e-cig that is about the same size as a traditional cigarette. Consumers are shopping with their wallets in today’s economy, and I feel Metro Seven provides the consumer with an option they have been looking for.” The Pantry is the leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States and one of the largest independently operated convenience store chains in the country. As of January, the company operated 1,620 stores in 13 states under select banners, including its primary operating banner Kan-
garoo Express. “Having partners like The Pantry allows us to blitz the market with new items like Seven and increase the distribution that makes the product immediately successful,” says John Wiesehan III, Vice President of Sales at Nicotek, LLC. “We are excited about this launch and completely feel that this unit is a game-changer in the electronic cigarettes space.” The excitement about this new product category stems from Nicotek’s mission to provide the finest and most economical alternative to the traditional tobacco smoking experience. The marketing materials provided by Nicotek provide a tremendous benefit to retailers and are well-designed to see that the product nearly sells itself. The launch of Metro Seven brings with it new innovative point-of-purchase displays unlike any the e-cigarette industry has seen as of yet. With creatively designed, eyepopping POP materials and unique countertop displays, retailers are never struggling to push Metro products. n
M&M’s, Snickers and Twix. For the first time, the EQ poll separated premium chocolate into its own category. Ghirardelli Chocolate ranked No. 1, followed by Godiva Chocolate and Dove Milk Chocolate. Americans do not snack by chocolate alone, of course. The EQ study ranked Life Savers Candy first, followed by Jolly Rancher, Tootsie Pops, Skittles and Starburst. Chewing gum was sorted out in the EQ poll for the first time this year with Extra Gum on top, followed by Dentyne Gum, 5 Gum, Trident, Orbit, and Stride Gum. Tim Quinn, Vice President of Trade Development for Mars Chocolate North America, said it’s no surprise that candy remains a popular snack. “Consumers are looking for simple things to bring them joy, such as delicious chocolate from the brands they know and love,” Quinn said. “Forwardthinking retailers will appeal to these consumers by continuing to offer new flavors and promotions, which add excitement to the category.” Quinn said consumers are snatching up stand-up-pouches (SUPs) because they are convenient and portable, retain freshness, control portions and allow candy to be shared. Mars has launched several SUP lines that combine flavor variety and bite-sized candies: M&M’s Candies in an 8-ounce SUP in milk chocolate, mint dark chocolate and raspberry dark chocolate; Dove Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins & Peanuts; and M&M’s Snack Mix in three
sweet and salty varieties. “Mars works hard to keep our finger on the pulse of consumer preferences and to identify emerging trends,” Quinn said. “Our focus on consumers is what makes us a leader in new product innovation.” “Star Wars” themes are hot with retailers this year—with the iconic movies released on Blu-ray and the 3-D theatrical release of “The Phantom Menance”—and candy is no exception. CandyRific has M&M’s Star Wars Character Flashlights with Clip and M&M’s Star Wars Dispenser Fan Gift Packs. End-of-year holiday sales for candies will be greeted with new stock including Peeps Treats for Halloween (ghosts and pumpkins) and Christmas, Snickers Pumpkins and Santa, Milky Way Simply Caramel Snowman, Twix Sugar Cookie Minis, 3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Minis; and Mint & Chocolate Holiday PDQ with M&M’s Mint Chocolate Singles and new Dove Brand Peppermint Bark Singles. “Developing a comprehensive seasonal candy merchandising plan is vital to the bottom line,” said Quinn, who recommended maximizing in-store signage to encourage candy sales. “Eighty-three percent of Halloween consumers say they decide in-store which candy brands to purchase for trick-ortreating, so make in-aisle signage and secondary displays a priority,” Quinn said. “Seasonal is also the best time to capitalize on bagged candy, so create in-store excitement by displaying it on end caps and combining it with themed promotions.” n
Retailers, Suppliers Anticipate Spring/ Summer Surge in Consumer Confidence
Importers who sell to America’s major retailers are preparing for a significant uptick in consumer spending this spring and summer, according to a recent survey conducted by Capital Business Credit, a non-bank lender that services the retail sector. According to the quarterly Global Retail Manufacturers and Importers Survey, 43.2 percent of respondents believe that the 2012 spring season will be stronger than 2011, and 40 percent believe that the 2012 summer season will surpass last year’s sales as well. In addition, fears of a double-dip recession also seem to be declining, as an additional 40 percent of respondents believe that the spring and summer retail seasons will be at least as robust as last year’s. “Retailers have played it very close to the vest for the past several years, fearful of overstocking the shelves,” said Andrew Tananbaum, Executive Chairman of CBC. “As consumers begin to open their pocketbooks again, importers and manufacturers are finally beginning to see increases in orders and re-orders. This is indicative that a stronger retail and economic recovery is under way.” According to survey results, 40 percent of respondents indicated that retailers ordered more merchandise for the spring season as compared to last year. Twenty percent reported that orders stayed the same. And an overwhelming 78.3 percent cited that they are receiving re-orders for spring merchandise, an indication that there has been a stronger consumer demand than was initially anticipated. Slightly more than one-third (37 percent) of respondents indicated that they are seeing an increase in orders for the summer season as well, while another third (30.4 percent) are seeing orders stay the same. The overwhelming majority (81.8 percent) believe that the summer season will perform better than, or at least as well as, 2011. “These numbers are very encouraging for the overall state of the consumer-driven economy,” said Tananbaum. “This is the first time in nearly three years that the importers we work with are manufacturing more than they did last year and are planning on having to restock shelves.” However, Tananbaum added a note of caution. “While increases in orders are important, retailers are still relying on heavy discounting to move merchandise, which is affecting margins across the board,” he said. “Retailers are going to need to work hard to re-train consumers to rely less on discounts.” n
features Popchips: “Bringing the Fun Back to Snacking” Keith Belling, CEO and Founder of popchips inc. recently spoke to Convenience Retailer about the company’s growing success in the retail market.
CR: What would you say makes your company unique?
KB: At popchips inc., we believe the driving force behind what makes our brand and company culture successful is innovation. Starting out, we knew we were entering a competitive billion dollar category with limited marketing funds. In order to counter this, we focused on grassroots marketing efforts that centered on giving as many consumers as possible a chance to try popchips. We were confident that if they simply tried our product, they would spread the word. They have successfully done this for us and we have been winning awards and acclaim ever since, including being named “Best Crunchy Snack,” by Fitness Magazine and “Best Chip,” by both Health Magazine and Real Simple. We were also
named one of “America’s hottest brands” by Advertising Age.
CR: What products do you anticipate being this year’s hottest?
KB: With the increased focus on health and wellness products, we continue to believe there is a growing market for guilt-free snacks that still satisfy cravings for something delicious and crunchy, like popchips. At the end of the day, however, consumers won’t sacrifice all indulgences when it comes to snacking, and that usually means great taste and flavor. This opens a window for us to provide these snackers with an opportunity to enjoy a healthier snack, but one that still tastes like an indulgent one. CR: What distinguishes your products
from the competition?
KB: Popchips was formed in 2007 to create a new category of popped snacks for the snack aisle. Popchips are a delicious, guilt-free option to the fried (unhealthy) and baked (un-delicious) choices lining snack aisles. We start with the finest potatoes, add heat and pressure, and “pop!” it’s a chip. The only thing added is a flavorful blend of seasonings, making for a snack that’s so crispy and delicious, consumers don’t even notice it’s (we hesitate to say) healthier. Thanks to the innovative magic of popping, popchips have all the flavor and less than half the fat of fried chips, as well as fewer calories, and none of the trans fat, fake col-
Simpli OatShake Wins 2012 Product Innovation Award Simpli OatShake has been named the winner of the 2012 Food and Beverage Product Innovation Award by the National Restaurant Association. This high-profile distinction is given to consumable products that deliver significant advancements and innovation in ingredients, preparation, processing and packaging. Award recipients were judged by a panel of highly influential food industry experts, and chosen products will be showcased at the 2012 NRA Show in the Food and Beverage
Synthetic Continued from Page 1
marijuana, include a variety of humanmade chemical substances, that when ingested, smoked or inhaled mimic the effects of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines or hallucinogens. First popping up in the U.S. in 2010, the popularity of these synthetic drugs has skyrocketed over the past year. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the number of calls made to poison control centers nationwide regarding bath salts jumped from 303 in 2010, to 4,720 in the first eight months of 2011 alone. And the number of calls regarding synthetic marijuana more than doubled, from 2,906 in 2010 to nearly 7,000 in 2011. Those under the influence of synthetic narcotics have been known to experience a variety of negative consequences, including suffering from psychotic breakdowns, extremely elevated body temperature, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, kidney 12
ors, artificial flavors and preservatives that give snacking a bad name. The best part that our health-conscious consumers love is that a single serve pack is less than 100 calories.
CR: To what do you attribute your company’s success?
KB: While popchips is one of the fastest growing snack brands in North America, we still have a long ways to go. Our success to date has been due to a combination of innovation, teamwork, passion and attention to detail―that and making sure we’re bringing the fun back to snacking.
CR: How can our readers find out more about your company?
KB: You can check us out at www.popchips.com, like us on Facebook or follow popchips on Twitter (@popchips). And if you want the latest updates, sign up for our “popped culture” newsletter on our website. n
Product Innovations Gallery, from May 5-8 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Simpli OatShake was chosen for this award on the basis of its healthy nutritional profile, as the product is made with only a few all-natural, high quality ingredients. With its introduction to the U.S. market only one year ago, Simpli OatShake has already established a new category within the beverage industry, by capturing the hunger-busting power of oats in an all-natural, all-vegan portable snack.
“The recognition we are achieving from this prestigious NRA industry award is an affirmation that OatShakes’ popularity extends to a wide audience and has a unique place in the market,” said Helena Lumme and Mika Manninen, the co-founders of Oat Solutions, the maker of Simpli OatShake. In December, OatShake was also named the winner of the BevNET Best New Smoothie award, one of highest honors within the beverage business. OatShake makes it easy for today’s busy
families to eat healthy on-the-go. Available in four delicious, thick and creamy flavors—Original, Chocolate, Tropical Fruit and the just-announced OatShake Coffee—the all-natural OatShake delivers luscious taste and is a perfect alternative to wheat, soy, rice, nut, egg and dairy products. OatShake is vegan-certified and contains only ingredients that are 100 percent free of genetically-modified organisms. All flavors contain no added colors, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup. n
failure, breathing difficulties, uncontrollable vomiting, paralyzation and death. There have been many efforts to regulate bath salts and synthetic marijuana at both the state and federal level, but as yet there is no permanent federal ban of the substances. To date, 34 states have passed legislation banning the sale of these drugs. And although the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would ban the drugs nationwide, the legislation is tied up in the Senate. A temporary ban on synthetic marijuana issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration expires in September, and another temporary ban on bath salts is set to expire one month later. One major difficulty that lawmakers are encountering in their attempts to establish a nationwide ban on bath salts and synthetic marijuana concerns the drugs’ fluctuating and somewhat unclear formulations. Unlike other drugs that can be more clearly defined, synthetic drugs are made from a variety of different chemicals in a variety of different combinations. As a state bans a
particular chemical formulation, it is easy for the drug’s maker to slightly alter the formulation so that the resulting substance falls outside the scope of the ban. Over the past year, a number of convenience stores throughout the country have come under fire for selling synthetic narcotics, both over- and under-the-counter. In November, several Indianapolis-area Marathon gas station franchisees were accused of selling bath salts to undercover police officers and reporters. Earlier this year, police raiding three convenience stores in Port Lavaca, Texas, uncovered 200 doses of bath salts and 200 packages of synthetic marijuana. And just last month, police in Dover, Del., discovered more than 900 doses of synthetic narcotics at local convenience store The Tobacco Hot Spot. As states continue to crack down on these substances, convenience stores selling these products will be under increased scrutiny as well. Legislators in Louisiana are working on a unique solution for keeping synthetic nar-
cotics out of convenience stores. In April, State Rep. Lowell Hazel proposed a bill making any retailer convicted of selling synthetic marijuana or bath salts banned for life from receiving a license to sell liquor or tobacco in the state. This move mirrors a larger effort by law enforcement to go after legitimate businesses selling these substances, as opposed to focusing solely on the drugs’ manufacturers and users. For their part, a growing number of individuals and groups within the convenience store industry appear as equally committed to eradicating bath salts and synthetic marijuana from retail store shelves as are legislators and law enforcement officers. After the Indianapolis-area busts in November, the Indiana Grocery and Convenience Store Association issued a statement, emphatically arguing that these drugs should not be available and urging retailers in the state to remove them from their stores. Still, it is unclear how the industry as a whole would ultimately respond to a federal ban of the substances. n
features Swipe Fees Continued from Page 1
billion and interchange fees of $9 billion. So who is to blame for the high cost to retailers of accepting plastic? The blame rests on the shoulders of the credit card companies, said Lyle Beckwith, NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations. “The way that Visa and MasterCard compete with one another is an inverse form of competition,” Beckwith said. “They compete by raising the fees.” The unfair, anti-competitive relationship between these companies enables interchange fees to continuously rise, Beckwith said. The banking industry denies that the credit card companies are engaged in any sort of anti-competitive behavior. According to the Electronic Payments Coalition, a group comprised of banks, credit unions and payment card networks, credit card companies actually negotiate interchange fees with retailers, allowing them to seek out more competitive rates. EPC argues that retailers routinely switch processors in order to obtain a better price. However, Beckwith said, it simply is not true that retailers can do anything to negotiate lower swipe fees. “What you can negotiate is processing,” said Beckwith, “a minute portion of the interchange fee. They don’t negotiate interchange fees.” EPC argues that interchange fees are vital to banks, covering a wide variety of costs, including customer service, system efficiency, online transaction costs, protection of consumer data, and card production costs. However, Beckwith said these costs to banks are actually decreasing, at the same time that swipe fees are on the rise. “The (processing) fees are going down, because technology gets better,” said Beckwith. “It’s a lot easier to process (transactions) electronically than to have paper checks.” As swipe fees go up, retailers aren’t the only ones that are suffering. “(Retailers) pass it on to consumers as best they can,” said Beckwith. Hence, drivers find themselves paying more at the pump as a result of heightened interchange fees. And it is not just those paying with plastic that are feeling the pinch, as even those who use cash to purchase gas are paying the added fees retailers are forced to include in the price-per-gallon. According to NACS, all drivers are paying on average 6 to 10 cents more per gallon due to interchange fees. In addition, those purchasing other non-fuel items at convenience stores and gas stations, whether it be food, coffee, car accessories, or gifts are all paying a little more lately, as retailers are inputting the cost of the swipe fees they are charged by the banks into the price of their merchandise. Beckwith said it is possible for the banking industry to continue to charge exorbitant interchange fees primarily
because these fees are not transparent to consumers. He points to the recent controversy surrounding Bank of America’s proposed $5 debit card fee as an example of the power of consumer transparency when it comes to banking fees. After consumers became aware that they were going to be charged this fee, they responded angrily and en masse, forcing Bank of America to drop the proposal. “What we need to see in terms of these credit card fees is transparency,” said Beckwith. “If the consumer knows, he can make an informed choice.” As the convenience store industry attempts to confront the issue of high inter-
change rates, solutions are limited. After pushing Congress to pass legislation limiting these fees, many in the convenience store industry continue to argue that the resulting Durbin Amendment has not been effective in reducing fees to a reasonable rate. And it is simply not an option for convenience retailers to abandon plastic altogether, as credit and debit cards are now vitally important to consumers. The best option the industry has is to continue to push to make these fees more transparent and to educate the public about precisely what kinds of hidden bank fees they are paying. Still, convenience store retailers are not
helpless when it comes to fighting back against high interchange fees. “What they can do is help themselves to stay politically engaged and talk to their member of Congress,” said Beckwith. Retailers play a potentially important role as an intermediary between the banks and the public, Beckwith said, and can be a vital tool in educating consumers about the fees they are paying. “There is a growing opportunity to steer the customer to less expensive forms of payment,” said Beckwith. “Communicate with the customer. The more transparency, the more likely the customer can make an informed choice.” n
features Pilot Flying J Introduces Revamped MyRewards Loyalty Program for All Customers
This spring, Pilot Flying J launched its revamped MyRewards customer loyalty program. The MyRewards program now offers a specialized card for every customer type: professional drivers, RV customers and, for the first time, preferred fuel customers as well. MyRewards members are eligible for instore retail and restaurant discounts. Professional drivers will accumulate shower credits and points for purchasing fuel, which are redeemable for in-store merchandise and food. MyRewards for the RV customer will offer discounts on fuel and dumping fees. Customers can find their MyRewards account details on customer receipts, at the instore kiosk or on the Pilot Flying J website. “MyRewards allows us to tailor rewards
and benefits that best fit our customers’ needs and wants,” said Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J. “As the driver-driven company, serving our customers is always our top priority, and we wanted to make it easy for them to simply ‘join, drive and save.’ That’s how the MyRewards loyalty program works.” Customers can pick up a MyRewards loyalty card at any participating Pilot or Flying J location. Cards can be registered online, with the store cashier or at the instore kiosk. Professional drivers and RV owners who have an existing Driver Payback or Frequent Fueler Advantage card are not required to get a new loyalty card or to re-register for the new program. In connection with launch of My
Rewards, Pilot Flying J has also announced that it has chosen a new celebrity spokesperson for the company, country music star Trace Adkins. Adkins said he is proud to represent Pilot Flying J’s new customer rewards program, because of its emphasis on loyalty. “Loyalty is important to me, my fans and the hardworking Americans out there who know the value of a dollar and who appreciate a company that values its customers like Pilot Flying J does,” said Adkins. “The people who rely on Pilot Flying J for fast, friendly service will get great value from this new loyalty program.” For more information about the Pilot Flying J MyRewards program, visit myrewards.pilotflyingj.com. n
PepsiCo Potato Chip Brands Surpass $10 Billion in Global Retail Sales PepsiCo Inc. recently announced that its global “Banner Sun” potato chip portfolio has grown to more than $10 billion in annual retail sales, anchored by Lay’s, the world’s largest food brand and the No. 1 global potato chip brand. The “Banner Sun” logo, which appears on packaging for leading brands including Lay’s, Walkers, Smith’s and Sabritas, has grown into a symbol for quality potato chips around the world. Lay’s and Walkers are among PepsiCo’s portfolio of 22 separate billion-dollar food and beverage brands, a number that has doubled since
Snacks Continued from Page 1
of what actually constitutes a snack, and many are seeking to expand their snacking repertoire beyond the traditional vending machine offerings. In particular, there is a growing trend among consumers toward enjoying more nutritious and health-conscious snack options. According to Technomic, 33 percent of consumers surveyed stated that they plan to eat more healthy snacks in the year ahead. This indicates that there is a considerable and growing market for fast, cheap, portable and smaller-portioned food products that still contain healthy, natural ingredients and provide nutritional benefits to the consumer. “Eating healthy snacks can offer many benefits to consumers, such as increased energy and feeling fuller longer,” said Molly Maier, Senior Wellness Analyst at market research company Mintel. “There is a big opportunity for the makers and marketers of snacks to leverage these connections to maximize health positioning.” Of course, precisely what defines a snack as healthy is open to interpretation. For consumers, a healthy snack may be one that is low in fat and calories, high in vitamins, protein, and healthy fiber, free of chemicals and preservatives, or some 14
2000. The success of these “Banner Sun” potato chip brands further illustrates the strength of the company’s larger worldwide food and beverage business. Expansion into international markets has driven the success of PepsiCo’s potato chip portfolio, with about 60 percent of “Banner Sun” sales coming from outside North America. The top 10 markets include the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Canada, Spain, Australia, China, Mexico, Netherlands and India. “PepsiCo continues to focus on growing its largest food and beverage brands, combination of these characteristics. In a Mintel study, the No. 1 snack identified by consumers as healthful was fresh fruit (86 percent), followed by raw vegetables (73 percent), and nuts and seeds (71 percent). However, for most consumers, snacks are impulse purchases, rather than something that is planned by an individual in advance. Therefore, it is likely that, for many, there may not be an abundance of fresh fruit and crudites available when a snack craving hits. Convenience stores can play an important role in satisfying consumer cravings for healthful on-the-go snacks by stocking up on a few products that satiate hunger while still meeting the consumer demand for non-processed, low-calorie, nutritious food. Healthy chips, for example, like popchips and Baked Lays, satisfy those looking for a crunchy, salty snack, but who want to avoid the high levels of fat and sodium associated with traditional fried chips. Fresh yogurt and pre-packaged smoothies can serve as a nutritious, filling bite or meal replacement for those looking to add a little protein to their snack routine. And granola bars, nuts and trail mix are a good snack option for convenience store customers looking for a little energy boost to get them through the afternoon. In addition, another way convenience
and this milestone is another example of how our efforts are paying off,” said Salman Amin, PepsiCo’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Whether it’s Lay’s, Walkers, Smith’s or Sabritas, PepsiCo has built some of the world’s strongest brands that are loved by consumers around the globe. And it’s because of PepsiCo employees throughout the world that we are able to achieve this impressive milestone, from the growers in our fields to our frontline workforce that makes, sells and delivers our products each and every day.” n retailers can reach out to those seeking to make their impulse snack purchases a little healthier is by offering pre-portioned set-calorie packaged items. Healthy snacks including Orville Redenbacher SmartPop popcorn are now individually packaged in 100-calorie portion sizes, specifically designed to satisfy consumer hunger without adding unnecessary fat, calories and sodium. “ConAgra Foods is pleased to…provide tasty and convenient foods that can help people save time and improve their health,” said Kristin Reimers, Nutrition Manager for ConAgra Foods, maker of Orville Redenbacher Smartpop. She added that this product proves that “even the busiest people can stay on the right track for better health.” “Snacks may seem like trivial things overall, but if you think about it in terms of a year, you will end up eating around 400 to 750 snacks per year, if you have one or two per day,” said Jolly Backer, CEO of Fresh Healthy Vending, a company working to stock vending machines with healthy, natural foods. “That really adds up and can make a big difference in your heart health.” The convenience store industry is in a unique position to help consumers seeking to make healthy changes to their overall diet, and at the same time capture an important segment of the snack market. n
Annual CRN Consumer Survey Finds Overall Use of Supplements on Rise Sixty-nine percent of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, according to a survey commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the dietary supplement industry’s leading trade association. The survey indicates an overall upward trend in dietary supplement consumption, as consumer usage is up from 66 percent in 2010, 65 percent in 2009 and 64 percent in 2008. In addition, consumer confidence in dietary supplements remains steady, as the survey also finds that in 2011, 84 percent of adults are confident in the safety, quality and effectiveness of supplements, vs. 82 percent in 2010. According to Judy Blatman, Senior Vice President of Communications for CRN, the steady rise in supplement usage is indicative of a savvier, more health-conscience consumer. “As more consumers are educated about the role vitamins and other supplements play in their overall health and wellness, they are incorporating them into their lives, along with other healthy practices such as trying to eat a healthy diet and getting regular exercise,” she said. Regarding the specific types of specialty supplements consumers are most often taking, the survey found that overall, fish is first. The use of Omega-3/fish oil supplements increased by two percent, from 21 percent in 2010 to 23 percent in 2011. The next two most popular supplement types in this category were Glucosamine and/or Chondroitin (8 percent) and fiber (8 percent). Vitamin supplement usage is even more popular, with the study indicating that 71 percent of respondents take a multivitamin. Overall, 49 percent of all adults report taking multivitamins. Letter vitamins are also popular, however, with 22 percent taking Vitamin D supplements, 22 percent taking Vitamin C, and 17 percent taking Vitamin B/B complex. When it comes to supplements, the survey noted that women are more likely to be supplement users than men, with 74 percent of women using them versus 64 percent of men. Supplement use also grows with age. While 60 percent of adults aged 18-34 take supplements, the percentage increases to 69 percent among those aged 35-54, and 78 percent among those 55 and over. The 2011 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements was conducted Aug. 25-29 by Ipsos Public Affairs and was funded by CRN. The survey was conducted online and included a national sample of 2,015 adults aged 18 and older. The survey has been conducted annually since 2000. n
o pnewe rproducts ations Survey Reveals Less Than 2% of Most Retailers’ Sales Currently From Mobile Devices
According to the annual Q1 Merchant Survey, conducted by the Direct Response Forum, 63 percent of responding retailers indicated that only 2 percent or less of their sales are generated from a mobile device. Only 17 percent reported that their mobile sales are, in fact, over 10 percent of their total. With regard to mobile commerce, 17 percent of retailers report that the majority of their mobile purchasers are new customers to the company. Another 17 percent indicate that their mobile customers are largely pre-existing customers who are now purchasing via a mobile device. However, 54 percent of retailer respondents said that they are not able to determine this information regarding their mobile customers. “It’s important to realize that mobile commerce is in its infancy, while there are larger opportunities for (Card-Not-Present) merchants to capitalize on now, including international payment strategies and reduced fees,” said Chantal Gaspie, DRF Executive Chair. “Mobile commerce will be important but the volume is just not there yet to deploy resources away from other important initiatives.” In light of the reported limited importance of mobile sales, the top areas of focus in 2012 for leading CNP merchants are not mobile commerce, but general credit/debit processing issues, fees, and the implementation of international payment strategies. The survey also indicated that recycling and fraud strategies are also important areas of focus for CNP professionals. This Q1 survey garnered 110 responses from some of the largest retailers in the world. For more information on the survey results, sign up for the DRF Quarterly at www.directresponseforum.org. n
Ethanol Providing Consumers Choice at the Pump Director of Market Development, RFA/ACE BY ROBERT WHITE
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use of 15 percent ethanol (E15) for use in a very specific set of engines. Namely, EPA has limited the legal use of E15 to light duty cars, trucks and SUVs model year 2001 and newer, along with flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). All other vehicles, and engines, should not use E15. In fact, it will be illegal to do so. Insert the fuel retailer. E15 has now made it through the federal process, and in many states, it will soon be ready for prime time. It will be the fuel retailer that determines whether or not consumers can find this new fuel. The Blend Your Own (BYO) Ethanol Campaign, a joint venture of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), is once again guiding retailers on the least expensive options for adding E15 to their fuel offering. Many have stated the cost of adding E15 can be a six-figure endeavor, and while that may be true for some, it will not be true for most. Blender pumps are not a new concept. A
blender pump is a multi-product dispenser that can deliver various blends of fuel, some containing ethanol and some not. The blender pump offers more product choices for consumers on the same footprint, and you can typically use the same tanks and pipes you have today. Depending on your location, you may have the opportunity to buy directly from an ethanol plant, potentially saving money. Blender pumps will also prepare you for the future, enabling you to do more than simply meet current standards. And unlike the standalone E85 dispensers of the past, the blender pump is paid for by all of the products it dispenses, not just a single one. If you have looked at E85 in the past and been concerned about inventory turnover, you will see a much faster inventory turnover with a blender pump, as the E85 is being diluted for a variety of different blends. Last, but definitely not least, blender pumps enable you to sell E15 when the timing is right for you. The efforts of RFA and ACE will not stop there. The organizations plan on launching the largest ethanol consumer education campaign around E15’s debut. The BYO Ethanol Campaign will arm
each retailer that offers the fuel with dispenser labels, handouts, posters, and other materials to educate employees as well as customers interested in the new fuel. RFA and ACE will also be holding various events and promotions around the country to further educate consumers on who can use the fuel. Some of those will take place at fuel retail locations, involving contests, mobile education units and more. That effort will be centered on the campaign’s consumer website, found at www.ChooseEthanol.com/E15. More information is available at www.BYOethanol.com. There, you can register for one of the campaign’s upcoming webinars, view an old webinar, or simply ask questions. To get answers immediately, you can reach representatives of the RFA at 402-391-1930 or those at ACE at 805-334-3381. The BYO Ethanol Campaign is a joint effort of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), to promote the benefits of blender pumps and ethanol-blended fuel. This effort is predominately funded by more than 12 corn grower organizations. n
StoreSigns.com Offers New Signage Options for Small Business Owners
StoreSigns.com, an e-commerce website, offers unique opportunities for individual convenience store owners to compete with larger franchises, through the creation of eye-popping, premium quality, professionally designed in-store signage. As a member of the retail industry and a strong proponent of small business, StoreSigns.com works with a variety of industry peers across the nation to support small businesses owners. Thanks to the company’s discounted rates, all retailers are now able to achieve a level of professionalism in terms of their signage that could otherwise be cost prohibitive to them. Research has demonstrated that in-
store signage has a greater degree of influence over shoppers than social media, websites or e-mail marketing. According to recent studies, most consumers indicate that in-store brand marketing does, in fact, impact the decisions they make in terms of choosing one brand over another. The user-friendly StoreSigns.com web portal hosts a library of hundreds of easily customizable layouts that are on trend with the contemporary design techniques that have proven successful when used by larger national chains. Customers can choose from hundreds of distinct layouts and easily customize them to to their brand in just minutes. “Retail stores put a lot of resources
into changing up their shopping experience to avoid boring their customers, and to keep each shopping trip a unique and different experience,” said Steve Goldbrenner, Co-Founder of StoreSigns.com. Goldbrenner brings to the company a great deal of experience in the industry, having previously overseen in-store marketing initiatives for a variety of large scale national retailers, including Zales, Ashley Stewart, Lids and The Children’s Place. The signage available through StoreSigns.com ranges from small, point of sale displays (5.5" x 7") to large, windowsize signs (59" x 82"). For more information, please visit www.StoreSigns.com. n
Consumer Research Reveals Packaging, Labeling Matter
A revealing new study by the British consulting firm London Economics illustrates the importance of packaging in influencing consumer preferences on a variety of product types. As the British government is investigating the possibility of requiring tobacco manufacturers to sell all of their products in standard plain packaging, the industry is concerned that such a move will cause tobacco users to switch to less expensive brands. In response to
this fear, London Economics, funded by Philip Morris International, undertook a study to see what effect packaging truly has on the products consumers choose to purchase. The online experiment observed the preferences of 3,000 consumers on a broad range of different everyday products including cigarettes, potato chips, chocolate, beer, bottled water, ice cream and toothpaste. The analysis involved testing respondents’ preferences under
various scenarios in which different combinations of information on price, brand name, brand imagery, product information and advertising were presented to consumers. Interestingly, the observed behavioral patterns of consumers were consistent across a majority of the products tested. In sum, the study demonstrated that plain packaging would in fact likely result in consumers switching from premium brands to cheaper products, not
only when purchasing cigarettes, but when choosing retail products more generally. “Our analysis suggests that packaging imagery is a source of information that helps consumers differentiate between alternative product characteristics,” said Gavan Conlon, a Partner at London Economics. “If consumers can’t differentiate between brands in the market, they opt for cheaper brands, whether it’s beer, cigarettes or almost any other product.” n
BUYERS GUIDE GIF TS & E- SOU CIGSVE NIRS This listing is compiled from a survey of products conducted by Convenience Retailer.
Christian as a Fashion Statement
A premier supplier of Christian-themed products, Kerusso has shipped 14 million T-shirts since 1987. Kerusso first entered the jewelry and gift market with Faith Gear in the 1990s. Shipping more than 1 million pieces, Faith Gear sales are comparable to Kerusso’s “Top 20” T-shirt volume. Since 8 out of every 10 Americans are Christian, with millions of Americans overtly supporting Christian brands, adding Kerusso jewelry and accessory displays has helped retailers improve sales with new purchase opportunities. Christina Butler, representative for Bucee’s, a Texas-based travel center chain that sells Kerusso products, said, “We averaged one turn a month on our display in our first 10 months.”
Designed with a focus on safety, durability and style, Vinci Sunglasses are a perfect fit for any person’s individual style or mood and fit any occasion. Vinci Sunglasses are made from only the highest quality materials, and the impenetrable UV Barrier they provide promotes eye safety. In addition, by reducing glare, Vinci Sunglasses also make it safer and easier to drive or do other activities, while exposed to direct sunlight. Available in four stylish lines—Edge, Florida, Casanova and Fashion—the looks Vinci provides range from cool and sleek to bold and expressive. The high quality of the eyewear sold by Vinci can only be compared to in-demand designer eyewear companies. In addition, Vinci Sunglasses works to maximize profits per square foot, by providing retailers with sleek, non-obtrusive towers, complete with a patented locking system that holds the product in place.
Kerusso 800-424-0943 www.kerusso.com
Vinci Sunglasses 855-250-1555 www.vincisunglasses.com
Black Canyon Outfitters Black Canyon Outfitters is a quality line of men’s clothing, luggage and accessories sold nationwide through travel centers and gas stations. The company prides itself on producing durable, high-quality products that are stylish, comfortable and fit into any man’s active outdoor lifestyle. Black Canyon Outfitters caters in particular to professional drivers, business travelers and others traveling for leisure. In addition, the products are a perfect gift choice for any man in your life who is constantly on the move. Black Canyon Outfitters offers a number of stylish, heavy-duty water-resistent options, including duffels and toiletry bags. The company also markets denim jackets and blue jeans, sweatshirts and flannels. In addition, Black Canyon Outfitters also markets a variety of men’s accessories, including hats, gloves and socks. Black Canyon Outfitters 800-233-7009 www.blackcanyonoutfitters.com
Platinum League Hip Hop Trading Cards The world’s first hip-hop trading cards with interactive content debuted on May 1 in more than 20,000 retail stores nationwide. The Platinum League Trading Card Series, the inaugural product of Texas-based Green Media, features one-of-a-kind photos of today’s greatest hip-hop artists, their individual background information and career highlights, and a QRL code link to an exclusive video message from each artist accessible from any smart phone or mobile device. Each pack of trading cards will feature five artist cards and a "6th Card" that gives consumers an access code to log on to a mobile web site, claim instant prizes and enter a sweepstakes where prizes include new cars, Rolex watches, cash, apparel, ring tones, screensavers, backstage passes and much more. With a winner in every pack, the company projects it will give away approximately 3 million prizes every three months. A new series of Platinum League Trading Cards will be launched every quarter (April-June, July-September, October-December, January-March). Platinum League www.platinumleague.com
Southwest Specialty Foods Anyone looking for a taste of the Southwest, with an added helping of tongue-incheek humor, should check out the variety of sauces and snacks marketed by Southwest Specialty Foods. The company offers a melange of wryly named product lines, including Ass Kickin’ Products, Products from Hell, Whoop Ass, Spontaneous Combustion, and Chit’s Gormay Foods. All of Southwest Specialty Foods’ products are presented in creative, brightly colored, and comical packaging, making them an ideal gift for foodies with a sense of humor. From the company’s Ass Kickin’ Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce to its Habanero Salsa from Hell, many of Southwest Specialty Foods products are custom made for fiery foods aficionados. Heat loving snackers will enjoy Scorpion’s Sting Stingin’ Hot Peanuts and Ass Kickin’ Habanero popcorn. In addition, Southwest Specialty Foods markets chili and bread mixes, rib rubs, dip mixes, condiments and even cocktail mixers. Whether or not you like to sweat while you’re eating, you will find a product from Southwest Specialty Foods to meet your tastes. Southwest Specialty Foods 800.536.3131 www.asskickin.com
Burt’s Bees People’s health and well being are impacted by the beauty and hygiene products they use daily, and Burt’s Bees is committed to educating the public about the benefits to the body of using all natural products. The company offers more than 150 products, including lip balms, facial cleansers, shampoos, body washes, toothpaste and baby products, all free of artificial colors, unnecessary fragrances and other harmful chemicals. The result is a line of nourishing, soothing and beautifying personal care products that are proven safe and natural. In addition, Burt’s Bees’ social consciousness shines through in its product line. The company uses recycled materials when possible, packages their products with an eye towards recyclability and never engages in animal testing. Particularly en route to beach, spa or camping destinations, Burt’s Bees’ refreshing Pink Grapefruit Lip Balm or Lemon & Vitamin E Bath and Body Oil are saleable impulse buys, for your customers themselves or health and planet-conscious loved ones. Burt’s Bees 800.849.7112 www.burtsbees.com
MARKETWATCH M EAT SNACKS
Johnsonville C-Store Website Provides Valuable Access to Operator Information
Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage, America’s No. 1 national brand of brats and sausages, has a new website that offers extensive tools and resources to help convenience store food service operators run their businesses and increase profitability. “Our website is designed to provide a one-stop information resource for our cstore end-users and industry professionals,” said Sarah Babb, Johnsonville Senior Brand Manager for Foodservice. The site, www.johnsonville.com/cstore, features a variety of tools for this growing pioneering segment of the foodservices industry. The Branded Benefits section of the website includes demonstrative sales ad-
vantages that clearly show Johnsonville as brand leader in this category. The site also highlights key convenience store equipment categories, including roller grills, steamers and warmers, providing operators with a comprehensive overview of products, profit scenarios and operational guides, as well as suggested plan-o-grams, designed to help retailers maximize sales throughout the day. A Commissary Section outlines the many ways convenience store operators can build on their existing foodservice business by adding appetizing ingredients to and thus increasing sales of sandwiches, pizzas and more. In addition, a new product section highlights exciting
new items that Johnsonville has introduced to the market. “The Johnsonville CStore website will provide practical business benefits to our c-store foodservice end-users,” Babb said. “Not only does it offer current, comprehensive information about how to get the best out of our products, it also features advice and tips on a range of topics such as merchandising, pricing, equipment operation and so much more.” Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage
is the top national brand of brats, Italian sausages, smoked-cooked links and fresh breakfast sausage links. Johnsonville employs approximately 1,300 individuals. Founded in 1945 by Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, the company remains privately owned today. n
Wings More Popular Than Ever Among Snackers, More Open to Innovation
New data compiled by the food industry research and consulting company Technomic reveals the importance of chicken wings as an in-demand snack staple, both for consumers and for the food service industry itself. The study shows that wings are a year-round favorite of consumers, and thus the snack exhibits substantial room for marketplace growth and product innovation. “Wings and sports have long been a winning combination, and more than 10 percent of all wing-based limited-time offers are game-day promotions,” says Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano. “However, wings’ overall appeal comes from their ability to suit consumers’ desire for customization, including traditional and global flavor op-
tions from sweet to super hot, and for portion flexibility, serving as snacks, starters, entrees and sides. “And they are fun finger foods that are easy to share, so they lend a social aspect.” In its new report, “Category Close-up: Wings,” Technomic delved into its MenuMonitor online menu-tracking resource and found that 36 percent of the Top 500 restaurant chains offer wings on their menus. In addition, this number has continuously grown, year after year. One particularly interesting finding in Technomic’s report regards the extent to which restaurants have innovated within the wing category. Wing flavors and sauces found on menus range from traditional buffalo and barbecue to Quaker Steak & Lube’s more avante garde tequila-lime-bar-
becue and Hurricane Grill & Wings’ offthe-wall Raspberry Ice, a sweet and tangy blend of raspberry and horseradish. Buffalo and traditional hot sauces are still the most common wing sauces on restaurant menus. However, even within this category, tastes are changing as consumer interest in mild and medium spicy sauces has declined in favor of extra-hot varieties. In general, wing purveyors are increasingly seeking to bring in consumers by increasing the variety of different wing flavors offered. On average, wing purveyors are offering 18 different sauce options, with Hurricane Grill actually serving 30 different varieties. In addition, the Technomic study shows that consumer interest in boneless
Knauss Foods Launches PJ’s Beef Steak For more than a century, Pennsylvaniabased Knauss Foods has been the largest producer of dried beef sold in the U.S. Now, Knauss is extending its reputation for excellence to a whole new audience, with the introduction of their newest all-natural product, PJ’s Beef Steak. PJ’s Beef Steak is a healthy, all-natural, protein-packed meat snack made from the highest quality lean cuts of 100 percent beef. Unlike jerky, it is carefully slow cooked without any artificial preservatives. The result is tender and flavorful, both easy on your teeth and pleasant to taste. In addition, 18
the convenient resealable pouch makes PJ’s Beef Steak the perfect on-the-go snack for adults, children and families. Best of all, since it’s made from healthy all-natural ingredients, you can feel good about feeding PJ’s Beef Steak to yourself as well as your family. Low in calories, but high in protein, PJ’s Beef Steak keeps you full faster and longer than less healthy snacks. And it is also an excellent source of many essential nutrients. In fact, each serving of PJ’s Beef Steak contains 35 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C, compared to other beef jerky
brands, which contain up to 8 percent of your RDA. This is just one of the many health advantages that PJ’s Beef Steak has over its competitors. The makers of PJ’s Beef Steak understand, however, that although “healthy and high in protein” sounds great, for most jerky lovers, choice ultimately comes down to taste. With three delicious all-natural flavors to choose from, Original, Cracked Pepper and Teriyaki, PJ’s Beef Steak has something to please every palate. “We’re very excited about this new product launch,” says Bill Carter, Vice President
wings is also on the rise. However, interestingly, as more and more restaurants have begun offering the boneless variety, sales of traditional bone-in chicken wings has not declined. In sum, Technomic shows that chicken wings are among the most popular items being offered on menus today, but the firm argues that they are also one of the most difficult to classify and analyze. Technomic’s “Category Close-Up: Wings” provides restaurants and industry suppliers with a thorough review of wing menu trends, pricing, sizing, sauces, accompaniments and limited-time offers, in addition to consumer perceptions of the leading wing chains and other related consumer research. To learn more about this report, please visit www.Technomic.com. n
of Sales at Knauss Foods. “Today, the beef snack market requires an all-natural offering that meets the market need for healthier protein choices. Thanks to our unique sevenday cooking cycle and all natural premium ingredients, PJ’s offers a delicious alternative to traditional jerky.” To learn more about this exciting new alternative to jerky, visit www.pjsbeefsteak.com. The company will be holding tastings of the new product throughout the summer at events in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Click on the “sampling events” tab on the website to locate a tasting near you. n
top tech JobApp Unveils Bold New Look, Parker’s Launches Redesigned Website, Revised Product Lineup New App for iPad, Illustrated novel design, streamlined solution categories and easy navigation redefine talent management branding.
JobApp, the talent management solution that helps companies quickly hire the best person for the job, has changed the game for how talent management companies represent themselves. JobApp’s recently unveiled new website applies the bright, bold look and feel of classic graphic novels, engaging site visitors through the use of superheroes. In addition, the new JobApp website also includes a new, streamlined organization of and nomenclature for the company’s products and services. The website’s new look and feel embodies JobApp’s commitment to developing talent management technology and services that help companies quickly, seamlessly and cost-effectively find, assess, hire, onboard and engage the best person for the right job.
This latest move is one more example of how JobApp is working to eliminate human resources paperwork, efficiently and confidently meet hiring compliance and tax credit concerns, and effortlessly employ performance management to determine a new employee’s best next move in the company. “Since our inception, JobApp has been known as an industry leader and innovator, with our unique phone and online candidateapplication systems, our at-a-glance five-star candidate rating system, and our seamless technology for streamlining and automating HR processes,” said Blake Helppie, JobApp CEO. “Today, we’re upping the ante on all of that. We’re presenting a new way of representing talent management to the world— as being bold, heroic and powerful. “Just as life is for the companies we represent in myriad lines of business, the world of talent management is fast-paced, exciting and constantly moving. We wanted a new
look and feel that would project that sense of speed, power and dexterity.” The new way JobApp is organizing its products and services more logically follows the HR processes of the employee life cycle. The site’s “Find” area, for example, includes pages about the JobApp Applicant Portal and its renamed “suites” of specific solutions. The suites include the Sourcing Suite, which includes sourcing tools and the robust JobApp applicant tracking system, and the Pre-Hire Suite, which includes the JobApp “One-andDone Background Check,” the patent-pending JobApp Dispenser, and Assessments. “These changes to how we present the face of JobApp represent the next generation for our company,” said Helppie. “They are part of our commitment to constantly finding better ways to serve our clients and continuously provide the most prominent thought leadership and technological expertise in the talent management industry.” n
New Report Reveals Growing Importance of Multichannel Retailing
The Retail Industry Leaders Association in partnership with Auburn University and sponsored by Accenture recently released the third annual State of the Retail Supply Chain Report. The report reveals a heightened urgency among retailers and supply chain management executives to shift from cost cutting to growth. The report also places emphasis on multichannel retailing and explores how retailers are working to meet the increased consumer demand for continual access to products from any channel. The most significant takeaway from the report centers on the importance of fulfilling online website, mobile, and tablet orders. The report states that electronic commerce sales have grown by more than 15 percent over the past year to $35.3 billion, versus an overall sales growth of 4.1 percent in the same time frame. With predictions that e-commerce sales will continue to grow 10 percent annually, multichannel retailing has become a game changer for the industry. It has also added a new layer of fulfillment complexity that retail supply chain management executives must manage.
According to the report, over 85 percent of survey participants indicated that direct consumer fulfillment is a top priority for them and that it is imperative to create a seamless customer experience regardless of the fulfillment channel, order size, origin, or delivery requirement. And in this “anytime, anywhere, anyway I choose” environment, supply chain leaders must establish the appropriate mix of fulfillment capabilities. “Consumer expectations are changing, and as a result, retail business models are changing,” said Casey Chroust, Executive Vice President of Retail Operations for RILA. “Traditionally retailers have used separate operational models to move goods and fulfill orders. Now those models need to be merged so that companies can continue to deliver the products consumers want across any channel without losing efficiency or adding cost. This requires advanced integration and innovation and working closely with suppliers and service providers while utilizing technology.” When it comes to solutions to the challenges of multichannel retailing, the report explores the various technologies that supply
chain management executives are looking at to meet their multichannel needs, including distributed order management software. With the complex challenges facing industry leaders, utilizing the right technology can mean the difference between mastering multichannel and succumbing to it. “The real challenge for today’s multichannel retailer is to become channel agnostic and fulfill demand effectively regardless of order type or origin,” said Brian Gibson, Professor of supply chain management at Auburn University. “As sales volume grows in nontraditional channels, achievement of technology integration, operational flexibility, and process visibility will separate the leaders from the pack. These capabilities provide the fulfillment agility, accuracy, and cost efficiency needed for multichannel success.” The data for the RILA report was compiled through a series of executive interviews and industry surveys with 199 supply chain executives working in every segment of retail. The goal of the report was to develop an understanding of the capabilities that drive exceptional retail supply chain performance. n
Walgreens and Foursquare Team Up to Help Customers Save Many mobile-savvy shoppers know of the myriad ways in which one can find coupons through their smartphones, but Walgreens is making saving on-the-go even quicker and easier, through an exclusive new partnership with the social media website foursquare. Now, customers who check in on foursquare at any Walgreens store nationwide, whether by via an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry, will instantly receive a unique scannable coupon that is redeemable in the store. There is no texting or other steps required. 20
Walgreens is the first and only retailer to offer this sophisticated coupon program through foursquare, building on its popularity as the retailer with the largest foursquare following in the U.S., according to the company. “We’re using mobile technology and social media to better engage Walgreens customers, to give them convenient channels to interact with us and to deliver products, services and savings they truly value,” said Sona Chawla, Walgreens President of E-
commerce. “Foursquare shares our commitment to innovation, and together we’ve developed some unique, breakthrough offerings that cater to today’s tech-savvy consumers. With this program, it’s just check in and the coupon is displayed instantly.” There is a limit of one coupon per customer, and future coupon offers will be announced at a later date. Standard smartphone data and messaging rates apply. “Walgreens has been an innovative partner on the foursquare platform and this is
BlackBerry and Smartphone Users
The Parker Companies, a nationally recognized leader in fuel and retail services across southeast Georgia and South Carolina, recently debuted a free app for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android users. The user-friendly app provides customers with a full-range of interactive services. This mobile app conveniently enables users to locate nearby Parker’s store locations, by inputting a ZIP code or city or by simply allowing the device to determine the user’s specific location. Users can then easily navigate to their desired store with convenient turn-by-turn directions provided by Google Maps. In addition, the app will also alert the user to current fuel prices, special promotions, store features, photos, the store’s address and hours of operation. The app also provides direct access to individual stores’ customer feedback forms. “At Parker’s, we believe an informed consumer is an empowered consumer,” said Greg Parker, President and CEO of The Parker Companies. “By developing this new app, we’re putting information right in the palm of our customers’ hands in real time. This app serves as an extension of the Parker’s experience and gives users 24/7 access to the Parker’s brand.” This is not the first time The Parker Companies have proven themselves proponents of using technology to reach out to their stores’ customers. The company uses its Facebook page to alert customers to new food and beverage deals, as well as to conduct promotional contests, such as the ongoing “Why I Love Parker’s” video contest, where three entrants will win a year’s worth of free gas. Parker’s customers can also sign up on the store’s website to be alerted via text message regarding special perks and promotions at the store. The new Parker’s app is currently available for free download from the iTunes App Store, BlackBerry App World and the Android Market. n a perfect opportunity to test our new functionality,” said Eric Friedman, Director of Business Development for foursquare. Walgreens first introduced mobile coupons through its award-winning mobile application this past November. On Black Friday, the company launched one of the largest retail mobile coupon offering in the U.S., with point-of-sale scanning available at all of the more than 7,800 Walgreens stores nationwide. The highly successful mobile initiative helped generate more than 500,000 downloads of the Walgreens mobile application in December. n
products pro du ctnew features Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bars are a nutritious, delicious, and all natural, onthe-go snack made from honey-roasted granola and real fruit dipped in authentic strained Greek yogurt. The one-of-a-kind bars are available in six distinctive flavors, including Blueberry Açai, Cherry Almond, Toasted Coconut, Cranberry Almond, Apple & Honey and Orchard Peach. Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bars are an excellent source of fiber, protein and probiotics. Now, busy parents, active kids and teens, and all health-conscience consumers can effortlessly enjoy the health benefits of Greek yogurt.Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bars are already flying off the shelves in major markets across the country. Within just the first 90 days of the product’s launch, the company received authorizations in more than 10,000 locations across the U.S. Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bars
The Doritos brand recently took to the streets of South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, to debut its new Jacked tortilla chips, literally the brand’s biggest innovation ever. Doritos Jacked is everything fans love about Doritos tortilla chips, only “jacked up” for a bigger experience. Forty percent bigger in size and thickness, the chip delivers an ultimate crunch. The new chips pack a punch of intense flavors up front, followed by a twist of spice or tanginess on the finish. Doritos Jacked tortilla chips are available nationwide, in two flavor combinations: Enchilada Supreme and Smoky Chipotle BBQ. The product is available in three sizes: a 2.62 oz. bag for a suggested retail price of $1.09; a 3.375 oz. bag for a suggested retail price of $1.49 and a 10.5 oz. bag for a suggested retail price of $4.29.
On the heels of its wildly popular Biscoff Spread, known as “Europe’s alternative to peanut butter,” Lotus Bakeries recently announced a crunchy version of the creamy spreadable treat containing bits of real Biscoff cookies. New crunchy Biscoff Spread hits stores this April. Just as peanut butter comes in two varieties, Biscoff Spread is available in both creamy and crunchy versions, with the crunchy spread consisting of 65 percent Biscoff cookies and featuring a crispy texture intermingled with a creamy spread. Both spreads are an all-natural alternative to peanut butter, containing no nuts and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Both Biscoff Spread Crunchy and its Creamy counterpart taste just like the beloved caramelized cookies served inflight and sold at more than half of retail stores across the United States.
Lotus Bakeries www.biscoff.com
As warmer weather approaches, shedding layers of clothing can mean cutting back on favorite snacks and making healthier choices for weight management. But this spring, there’s a new choice in grocery aisles that doesn’t involve sacrificing taste to look and feel good, Kellogg’s Special K Granola Bars. Available in two delicious flavors, Dark Chocolate and Chocolatey Peanut Butter, the bars offer those managing their weight the chance to indulge with not only the lower calories and fat people have come to expect from Special K, but also positive nutrition benefits. With 3g of fat and 110 calories, the Special K Granola Bar contains 4g of fiber and 4g of protein. Special K Granola Bars can be found now in the wholesome snack aisles of retail stores nationwide.
Sometimes eating a frozen treat can be a sticky, drippy endeavor. The solution is IceHuggy, the “Flip-Fold-Fasten” sleeve that stretches to wrap around your frosty snack. IceHuggy keeps your summer treats cold so they won’t melt all over you, while at the same time keeping your fingers toasty warm. Simple even for children to use, now you can easily enjoy a frozen dessert without having to clean up a melted mess. IceHuggy’s unique design and elastic fabric enables it to accommodate a variety of different sized treats. And as an added bonus, the fabric acts like a sponge, easily soaking up any mess accidentally left behind. IceHuggy is perfect for birthday gifts, lunch boxes, stocking stuffers, Easter baskets, party favors or just to keep around the house. Wrap yours around ice pops, yogurt sticks, electrolyte pops or sore throat coolers.
Because great style starts with great skin, Hawaiian Tropic Sun Care is unveiling its newest product, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration lotion sunscreen, the first and only sunscreen with hydrating silk ribbons for continuous in-sun moisture. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration lotion sunscreen was developed to deliver intense moisture as a solution for dull and dry skin that is often a result of long days soaking up the sun. Its lightweight, hydrating ribbons are infused with luxurious silk protein and rich shea butter to pamper and protect skin when in the sun, providing 12-hour moisturization. Like many other Hawaiian Tropic lotion sunscreen products, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration lotion sunscreen provides safe and effective broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection that won’t break down in the sun, along with nourishing antioxidants, exotic island botanicals, a warm tropical fragrance and a lightweight, non-greasy feel. It is available in SPF 12, 30 and 50. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration lotion sunscreen is available nationwide.
Special K www.specialk.com/granola-bars
Hawaiian Tropic www.hawaiiantropic.com
Lotus Bakeries Crunchy Biscoff Spread
Doritos Jacked Chips
Rickland Orchards www.ricklandorchards.com
Kellogg’s Special K Granola Bars
Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Ssunscreen
SXLiquors, a company that burst onto the spirits scene in 2011 with its launch of infused tequila and rums, has unveiled a range of five groundbreaking vodkas. The new SXLiquors vodkas, whose names are derived from the Spanish words describing the colors of the spirits and their bottles, were recently introduced in a celebration of Miami art, music and fashion. SXazul is an electric blue cane vodka with blackberry, blueberry and subtle hints of vanilla and rosemary that combine for a light and airy taste. SXverde is a fun, green spirit that playfully blends tangy apples, lemon and hints of basil, and can be enjoyed alone or used to make a simple and sexy appletini. SXrosa is vodka distilled from cane and infused with the tropical tastes of coconuts and watermelon, with a subtle cilantro finish. SXrosa is great over ice or shaken into a fun, refreshing and sexy martini. SXnegro is a truly unique vodka whose unparalleled smoothness and deep, rich and sultry tones are derived from resting cane vodka in reposado tequila oak casks for several months. The striking black SXnegro bottle is the counterpart to the glossy white soft touch bottle that contains the final new flavor, SXblanco. SXblanco is an impeccably smooth and sexy cane vodka which can be enjoyed straight up, over ice, or shaken or stirred into a favorite martini or other cocktail. SXLiquors Vodkas
Just in time for the warm weather months, Shock Top Belgian Wheat introduces its latest seasonal beer, Shock Top Lemon Shandy, which will be available through the end of July. Shock Top Lemon Shandy is a unique interpretation of a classic style, a refreshing and smooth wheat beer, perfectly complemented by spices and natural lemonade flavor. At 4.2 percent ABV, Lemon Shandy will be available nationwide in 6- and 12-packs of bottles and 12-packs of cans, as well as on draft. Shock Top Lemon Shandy
Shock Top www.shocktopbeer.com
UPCOMING EVENTS WHEN
NRA Show 2012
McCormick Place Chicago, IL
NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo
McCormick Place Chicago, IL
International Franchise Expo
Jacob K. Javits Center New York, NY
Fancy Food Show
Walter E. Washington Convention Center Washington, D.C.
NACDS Marketplace 2012
Colorado Convention Center Denver, CO
2012 GACS Annual Convention and Tabletop Show
Omni Amelia Island Resort Amelia Island, FL
NACS Global Forum
Various locations São Paulo, Brazil
SIGMA Summer Legislative Meeting
Westin Georgetown Washington, D.C.
July 29-Aug. 2
NACS Leadership Executive Program
Cornell University Ithaca, NY
Georgia World Congress Center Atlanta, GA
NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference
Colorado Convention Center Denver, CO
Philadelphia National Candy Gift & Gourmet Show
Atlantic City Convention Center Atlantic City, NJ
ANWA Summit & Business Exchange
Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, FL
Pacific Oil Conference and Trade Show
Grand Sierra Resort & Casino Reno, NV
Insight NACS Future of Convenience 2012
British Library London, England
June 29-July 2