CHICAGO — Innovation doesn’t stop during a pandemic.
While the COVID-19 crisis has certainly forced manufacturers to focus on key products, companies are still innovating and anxious to showcase those creations at a reimagined NACS Show this year.
The 2020 NACS Show in Las Vegas has been canceled as an in-person event, and the association will instead present the show as an online experience, to take place over a five-week period starting Nov. 2. The Crack the Code Experience will include access to 45-plus education sessions, showrooms with virtual demos and an interactive online showcase for trends and new products.
Products that convenience-store suppliers recently released—or plan to release in coming months—include a range of items, from sweet gummy candies to umbrella racks, fried-chicken programs and more. Flavor mashups and twists on classic candies and beverages are a trend this year, as seen in products such as Coca-Cola With Coffee and SweeTarts Ropes Collision.
While c-stores across the country have pivoted during this tumultuous time, so have suppliers, and the innovation goes on. Here’s just a peek at some of the new products c-stores suppliers are touting this year.
Fruit-Tella Soft Gummies
Perfetti Van Melle USA’s Fruit-tella Soft Gummies are coming to market in two fl avor combinations: Strawberry/Raspberry and Peach/Mango. Real fruit puree is the No. 1 ingredient, and the gummies are made with real colors, flavors and sweetness from nature, according to the company. Each gummy has a playful fruit character shape. The gummies have an SRP of $1.79 for a 3.2-ounce pack and $2.49 for a 5-ounce pack. Products will hit store shelves by first-quarter 2021.
CVP Rain Gear Display
McLane Co.’s CVP Rain Gear Display features new rainy-day items, including ponchos and large and compact umbrellas. Products include the CVP Umbrella Standard Compact Black (SRP $5.99), CVP Umbrella Large Black 4 Finger Grip ($9.99), CVP Umbrella Golf Black-White 4 Finger Grip ($14.99) and CVP Rain Poncho ($3.99). CVP Umbrella-Ponchos come in a 42-count display.
Monster Energy/Reign Inferno
Monster Beverage Corp. is releasing a new flavor of its Monster Energy drink in October: Ultra Watermelon. The drink has zero sugar. Monster is also introducing Reign Inferno Watermelon Warlord, which features metabolism-boosting functionality with ingredients that include citrulline, panax ginseng extract, caffeine, L-carnitine, great tea extract and capsicum. It has zero sugar and 300 milligrams of natural caffeine.
Dunkaroos, the cookie and icing combo from the ’90s, are coming back to c-stores thanks to General Mills. The snack pack comes with vanilla cookies and vanilla frosting with rainbow sprinkles. The cookies originally were released in 1992 and left shelves in 2012. The cookies launched again this year in 7-Eleven c-stores and will roll out to other convenience and grocery retailers soon. The cookies come in 1.5-ounce trays for an SRP of $1.99.
Game Minis from Swedish Match is a new line extension for the Game brand. Game is the first natural leaf cigarillo in the mini segment. Game Minis are launching in Black Sweets, Blue, Diamond and Red Sweets. They will be available in a single stick option in Red Sweets and Diamond. Game Minis pouches are offered in a save-on-three and three-for-$1.29 price format. Game Minis single sticks are priced at two for 99 cents or 50 cents each.
Welch’s Juicefuls Fruit Snacks
Welch’s Juicefuls Fruit Snacks are available in Berry Blast and Island Splash. The snack is made with a chewy gummy on the outside and a burst of liquid fruit juice on the inside. Real fruit puree is used for the filling for an authentic fruit flavor. The Berry Blast pack has a mix of blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and cherry flavors. Island Splash has a mix of kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, mango and passion fruit flavors. National distribution will be available in January. A six-count box has an SRP of $2.32.
BIC EZ Reach
The BIC EZ Reach lighter is designed for lighting hard-to-reach places and keeping fingers away from flames. The EZ Reach lighter features a 1.45-inch extended wand, but its body is the size of a pocket lighter so it fits comfortably in users’ hands, bags and pockets, according to BIC. The lighters have an SRP of $2.99 for the one-pack Classic, $3.49 for the one-pack Home Decor design and $4 for the Bob Marley lighters.
Vector H Series Multi-Cook Ovens
Alto-Shaam’s Vector H Series Multi-Cook Ovens with Structured Air Technology off er up to four ovens in one. Users can control temperature, fan speed and cook time in each individual oven chamber. Its Structured Air Technology eliminates steps in food production and the need to watch and rotate pans. H Series countertop ovens have a compact footprint and ventless operation, according to the company.
Perfectly Southern is a new fried-chicken program launched by Eby Foodservice and sister company Performance Foodservice. The chicken has proprietary coatings, spices and toppings that make the product unique, according to Eby Foodservice, and the program has no royalty fees. Perfectly Southern breading can also be used for seafood and breakfast items. Complimentary sides include chicken tenders, hush puppies, fries, cole slaw and five sauces. Benefits of the program include simple preparation, low labor cost and consistent quality, according to the company.
SweeTarts Ropes Collision
Ferrara USA’s SweeTarts Ropes Collision is a dual flavor rope candy. The soft and chewy ropes come in a dual Watermelon Berry flavor with SweeTarts signature tart filling. The candy comes in a value peg bag, share pack, medium peg and laydown bag, which have SRPs ranging from $1 to $3.49. SweeTarts Ropes Collision will be available in December nationwide.
Bud Light Seltzer Remix/Platinum Seltzer
Anheuser-Busch has a new twist on its hard seltzers. Bud Light Seltzer is a hard seltzer that’s light and refreshing with a hint of fruit flavor, the company says. The remixed variety pack features Cranberry, Grapefruit, Pineapple and Strawberry flavors. A-B also released Bud Light Platinum Seltzer, an 8% ABV hard seltzer made with agave, triple filtered sparkling water and natural fruit flavors. It comes in Blood Orange, Citrus and Wild Berry flavors.
Chocolatey PayDay from The Hershey Co. delivers Payday’s customary truckload of peanuts surrounding caramel, but now has a chocolatey taste, according to the company. It’s available in a 1.84-ounce standard bar for an SRP of $1.11 and a 3.1-ounce king bar for $1.66.
Nestle Pure Life Fruity Water
Nestle Pure Life Purified Water introduced a new flavored water collection for children. Pure Life Fruity Water has no sugar, sweeteners, preservatives or artificial colors and comes in Apple, Watermelon and Tropical Twist. Fruity Water is sold in Tetra Pak cartons with paper straws. Fruity Water’s SRP is $3.99 for an eight-pack and $14.99 for a 24-pack. Nestle Pure Life is owned and operated by Nestle Waters North America.
Coca-Cola With Coffee
The Coca-Cola Co.’s latest beverage is a coffee-cola hybrid. Coca-Cola With Coffee fuses the taste of Coca-Cola with 100% Brazilian coffee and comes in three signature flavors: Dark Blend, Vanilla and Caramel. The beverage will be available in December nationwide. A 12-ounce sleek can has an SRP of $2.32.
Vuse Alto Devices
Vuse Alto Devices, e-cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., off er consumers different nicotine levels, flavors and colors of the devices. Vuse Alto Devices are now available in Slate, Silver, Red, Gold, Rose Gold, Teal and Blue to allow adult customers to choose their color at a competitive price, according to the company.