The ‘90s Are Back in a Big Way: Nostalgic Beverages Drive C-Store Traffic

Sunny Sky Products

Consumers across all generations are subject to feelings of nostalgia—seeking moments of joy that remind them of their childhood. Purchasing fun, nostalgic snacks that they enjoyed when they were younger—or when their kids were younger—is one way they are satisfying those joy-seeking moments. Nostalgic memories can be associated with just about any food or beverage, but sweets and candies may have a stronger pull since indulgent treats typically correspond with happy memories. Branded confections, turned into modern snacks, dessert and beverage options, present a big opportunity for convenience retailers—especially when considering consumer habits.

Nostalgia across generations

The ‘90s are back in a big way—millennials who grew up in the ‘90s and have faced a tumultuous introduction into adult life look back to their childhood as a time of fun and comfort. Of course, millennials aren’t the only age group that indulges in nostalgia — according to FONA International, 71% of U.S. consumers enjoy things that remind them of their childhood.

Mintel data shows that the nostalgia trend is for all generations, with 76% of consumers ages 22 to 55, 69% of consumers ages 45 to 64 and 70% of those over 65, all reporting they love things that remind them of the past. While Gen Z is least likely to feel nostalgic towards the ‘90s, it is still representing something new and fun to this younger generation, making ‘90s nostalgia a great way to connect to a wider audience.

Transforming nostalgia into a craveable drink experience

Some food and beverage companies have recognized the potential that these childhood comforts can have on sales and are putting a spotlight on ‘90s nostalgia in their marketing and merchandising efforts. Sunny Sky Products is tapping into consumers’ pre-existing emotional connections by introducing a nostalgic candy in a new format, such as SOUR PATCH KIDS® Watermelon Frozen Carbonated Beverage.True to its candy form, “First they’re sour, then they’re sweet”—this delicious treat floods your mouth with a tangy blast and sweet watermelon flavor—all in a frozen, fun carbonated slush format.

More than two-thirds (67%) of Americans feed their sweet tooth with candy purchases from c-stores, and many also rely on c-stores as a place to quench their thirst, according to data from NCSolutions. When combining this information with what nostalgia means to different generations, it’s easy to see where the opportunity lies—especially among convenience store beverages. C-store retailers are poised to benefit from this trend by crafting fun and unique beverage experiences that not only quench thirst, but also play into consumers’ desire to reminisce.

Sunny Sky Products, a leading producer of dispensed beverage solutions, offering hot, cold, frozen and beverage enhancer products for the c-store and foodservice industries, has a variety of solutions to target consumers’ nostalgic feelings. Following current trends as well as favorite brands and flavors, Sunny Sky’s SOUR PATCH KIDS® Watermelon FCB, Jolly Rancher FCB & FUB, REESE’S Freeze FUB and HERSHEY’S Freeze FUB choices offer a premium slush drink experience. By incorporating such familiar flavors and formats into the beverage lineup, retailers can capitalize on feelings of nostalgia to encourage more beverage purchases and repeat visits. To learn more about Sunny Sky Products’ nostalgic drink choices, visit


SOUR PATCH KIDS, SOUR THEN SWEET, SOUR PATCH KIDS logo, and SOUR PATCH KID Design are trademarks of Mondelēz International group, used under license. HERSHEY’S trademark and trade dress are used under license. JOLLY RANCHER trademark and trade dress and the character images are used under license. REESE’S trademark and trade dress and the REESE’S Orange Color and Crown Design are used under license.

This post is sponsored by Sunny Sky


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