Foodservice

Core-Mark, Cuties Enter C-Store Distribution Deal

Extending its fresh food focus, distributor now offers 3-pack of the mandarins
Cuties brand mandarin oranges
Photograph: Shutterstock

WESTLAKE, Texas Core-Mark International is now virtually the exclusive distributor of three-pack bags of the Cuties brand of mandarin oranges to the convenience-store market under an agreement this week between the two companies.

With Core-Mark and Eby-Brown joining forces as one of the largest convenience distributors in the United States, the distribution of the three-pack bags of Cuties will expand to customers serviced by Eby-Brown as well. Except for one distributor in Texas who has an existing agreement to sell to one convenience retailer, Core-Mark is the exclusive distributor of three-pack bags of Cuties to c-stores in the United States.

Available now to the more than 50,000 c-stores served by Core-Mark and Eby-Brown in the United States, the Cuties three-pack gives on-the-go consumers an easy to-eat option for a healthy snack, Westlake, Texas-based Core-Mark said. Consumers are increasingly looking to convenience stores for fresh food, with 63% saying they would visit their favorite c-store more often if it offered fruits and vegetables, according to a consumer trend report from Technomic, CSP’s sister research company.

“As a well-established brand, Cuties can give convenience retailers more credibility as they enter or grow their presence in the fresh food marketplace,” said Chris Murray, executive vice president of marketing at Core-Mark. “By adding Cuties to the Core-Mark fresh food program, our retail customers will attract consumers who recognize the value of fresh food, enabling more traffic and bigger baskets.”

Barney Evans, president of sales and marketing at Pasadena, Calif.-based Sun Pacific, which owns Cuties, added, “With more consumers seeking healthy options wherever they shop, we see the convenience channel as a high-growth opportunity for Cuties. By partnering with Core-Mark and Eby-Brown and tapping into its extensive North American distribution network, we have a great opportunity to introduce our popular brand to a wider range of consumers.”

Cuties are sweet, seedless and easy-to-peel, offering a nutrient-packed addition to any diet, Core-Mark said. Adding Cuties to the Core-Mark and Eby-Brown fresh food product line builds on its commitment to offering wide-ranging choices to convenience retailers, from established brands to emerging upstarts.

Earlier this year, Core-Mark entered into an exclusive distribution arrangement with San Fernando, Calif.-based Fresh & Ready Foods, a provider of on-the-go meals, including sandwiches, salads, wraps, snacking items and more. Fresh & Ready has gained traction in almost 10,000 stores in 2021, and Core-Mark has similar expectations for Cuties. Also, the company recently unveiled My Daily Crave, an in-store beverage program offering dozens of customized, pour-your-own drink options that address consumer tastes and cravings.

Performance Food Group Co. last year acquired Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc. The transaction created a convenience business within PFG’s Vistar segment that includes the Core-Mark and Eby-Brown businesses.

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