CHICAGO -- The NACS Show® is the world’s largest convenience store, a showcase of innovation unlike any other in the industry for convenience retailers. Operators from across the country will meet this year in Chicago to hike the halls of McCormick Place, hunting for their next best-seller.
The following slides don’t come even close to approximating the number of new products that will line the aisles. Simply, this is a taste. But these products represent trends from across categories, including foodservice and confection. They exemplify advancements in flavor, equipment and technology. And they embody the changing c-store landscape, one that caters to a modern consumer and one that thrives on its nimbleness and its resilience.
Showgoers can use this list of what’s hot right now to help guide their show strategy. But even without heading to the NACS Show on Oct. 17-20, this list is as an indication of what the new-product landscape—and c-store shelves—will look like in the year to come.
If you have a new product launching at this year's NACS Show, send details and a photo to email@example.com.
1. Aloe Coco
Five distinct lines make up the Alo portfolio, including its newest Aloe Coco line, which consists of two varieties, original Aloe Coco and Aloe Coco + Watermelon. Aloe Coco is a blend of pure coconut water and real aloe vera juice, while Aloe Coco + Watermelon also contains watermelon juice. The Alo Original line consists of 10 flavors packed in 16.9-ounce bottles.
2. Kar's Thai Sweet Chili Mix
A bold new flavor joining Kar’s Fresh Harvest line, Thai Sweet Chili Mix marries the bold heat of Thai chili peppers with the sweet infusion of pineapple, honey sesame sticks and orange-flavored cranberries. Thai Sweet Chili Mix is available in 2.5- and 5-ounce packages for a suggested retail price (SRP) range of $1 to $2.89.
3. El Monterey Breakfast Empanadas
El Monterey Breakfast Empanadas are made with a light and flaky crust and are available in the Egg, Sausage, Cheese & Potato flavor, as well as the new Egg, Bacon, Cheese & Potato flavor. Also available is Tornados Grande, a premium seasoned beef sausage link and cheesy sauce wrapped in a bold-flavored tortilla and served hot from the roller grill or hot case. The 4.5-ounce product is available in Cheesy Beef & Bacon and Spicy Italian Beef & Cheese.
4. Three Bold Brothers burritos
New to the NACS Show is Three Bold Brothers’ premium burritos, which are marked by restaurant-quality ingredients such as grilled steak or chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, black beans and cilantro lime rice—all packed into a pressed tortilla. The burritos are wrapped in authentic butcher paper for consumers who want a fresh, high-quality burrito without sacrificing speed and convenience, according to the company.
5. Van’s Kitchen's Crispy Stix
Van’s Kitchen is offering five bold Crispy Stix flavors—Cheeseburger, Buffalo Chicken, Korean BBQ Pork, Chicken Taco and Orange Chicken. Crispy Stix are a competitively priced handheld snack that also delivers profitability to operators, the company says. The brand can be merchandised in a hot case in the supplier’s branded sleeves.
6. Himalayan Natural Mineral Water
Himalayan Natural Mineral Water is a premium water from a pure underground moving stream aquifer, which is about 400 feet below the surface in the foothills of the Himalayas. Every drop travels through layers of rock, sand and silt for more than 20 years. These layers act as natural filters, allowing water to pick up essential minerals from which it acquires its unique composition and taste, the company says.
7. Bigs King Size
Packaged in 6-ounce gusseted bags and containing 12% more seeds that the brand’s 5.35-ounce bags, Bigs all-American king-size seeds have no artificial flavors or preservatives and deliver 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving. The 6-ounce seeds carry the same SRP ($1.99) as Bigs’ existing 5.35-ounce bags.
8. Duke's Brisket Strips
Duke’s is improving its existing line of steak strips and moving to 100% grass-fed brisket for a more tender eating experience. Other enhancements include improved marinade for better taste and flavor and new packaging and graphics. A new Chile Lime flavor joins existing flavors such as Traditional Sea Salt, Honey Bourbon and Chipotle BBQ.
9. Hatco Toast-Qwik Conveyor Toasters
Booths #5939 and #5739
Redesigned with a modernized look, advanced controls and increased production capabilities, Toast-Qwik Conveyor Toasters now include a touchscreen control panel to allow implementation of up to 12 programmable product settings. With a USB port on the front for easy transfer of product information and software updates, the TQ3 uses the patented ColorGuard Sensing System to monitor and adjust conveyor speed for consistent toast results.
10. McLane Divinely Sweet
A McLane Co. private-label product within its Consumer Value Products company, Divinely Sweet is made with high-quality ingredients. Whether a consumer is looking for a milk-chocolate peanut butter cups or Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Grahams, Divinely Sweet offers a line of confections that are designed to cater to a multitude of decadent cravings.
11. AdvancePierre Fresh-Cut wraps, wedges and subs
AdvancePierre is introducing 13 new Fresh-Cut sandwiches that feature homestyle breads, natural cheeses and premium meats. All products have a front-of-pack calorie callout. Sandwiches include Fresh-Cut Wraps (Chicken Caesar and Southwest Turkey); Fresh-Cut Wedges (Smoky Ham & Natural Cheddar, Turkey Breast & Natural Cheddar, Chicken Salad and Tuna Salad); and Fresh-Cut Hearty Size Wedges and Fresh-Cut Subs.
12. E. & J. Gallo Barefoot Rose
E. & J. Gallo Winery is introducing a new line extension of its Barefoot Rose offering. With the line extension comes multiple size offerings, including 1.5 liters, 750 mL and 187 mL, the latter of which is available in a four-pack. The 10.5% ABV product is light bodied, refreshing and fruit-driven, according to the company, and regarded as the driest Barefoot pink still wine.
13. PowerBar Plant Protein
The brand’s first plant-based snack bar within its Clean Start initiative, PowerBar Plant Protein Bars are considered a better-tasting option not typical of the plant-protein category, according to the company. With no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, the bars’ protein comes from simple ingredients such as cashews, almonds or peanuts, pea protein crisps and rice protein crisps.
14. Slim Jim Premium Smoked Sticks
A premium meat snack available in both sticks and jerky, Slim Jim Premium Smoked Sticks deliver high-quality ingredients and sophisticated flavors, according to the company. Each protein stick is made with grass-fed 100% beef or 100% premium pork and contains no artificial colors, flavors or MSG. They come in three flavors: Smokehouse Original, Thai Style Chili and Memphis Style BBQ. The varieties are available in 1.2- and 4.1-ounce resalable packs for an SRP of $1.79 and $4.99, respectively.
15. Ne-Mo’s cake squares
Ne-Mo’s Bakery is introducing four innovative cake-square flavors: Vanilla Birthday Cake With Buttercream Icing, Pumpkin Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Icing, Lemon Cake With Buttercream Icing and Peppermint Mocha Cake With Cream Cheese Icing. These join classic cake flavors such as Chocolate, Banana, Red Velvet and Carrot.
16. Gaea Veggie Snacks
Veggie Snacks from Gaea are considered the first shelf-stable veggie snack on the market, according to the manufacturer, and are offered in three varieties: Carrot, Cauliflower and Gherkin. Made with all-natural ingredients and zero preservatives, Veggie Snacks are in line with ongoing consumer health trends.
17. Deli Express Market Salads
Created with intriguing flavors and wholesome ingredients, new Deli Express Market Salads are convenient, better-for-you options for on-the-go consumers. The trend-driven varieties include Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad, Italian Pasta Salad, Egg Salad With Bacon and Homestyle Tuna Salad.
18. Arcadia Bay Select from Core-Mark
The new Arcadia Bay Select coffee program from Core-Mark offers a fully branded, turnkey line of modern brewing and dispensing options, as well as installation and service for c-store operators. Using its successful strategic alignment with Boyd Coffee Co., Arcadia Bay Select includes 10 varieties of both single-origin and blended, 100% Arabica bean coffees. The program comes complete with menu boards, prefab kiosks, branded cups and varying roast levels.
19. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
Coke Zero is receiving a new name, new look and new recipe with the launch of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. According to the company, the new Coca-Cola Zero Sugar has more real Coca-Cola flavor but without the sugar. The bottler’s latest zero-sugar product is available in stores and on fountain and Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.
20. Swisher Sweets Banana Smash
Joining the Swisher Sweets limited-edition lineup is the brand’s Banana Smash cigarillos, which provide a bold yet sweet blend of banana and strawberry, according to the company. The cigarillos are available in a resealable two-count pouch with the company’s “Sealed Fresh” guarantee. The product comes in “2 for 99 cents,” “Save on 2” and “2 for $1.49” price options.
21. Airio Micro-Filter
Noted for being small and discreet, the Airio Micro Tar Reducing Cigarette Filter reduces tar and other harmful chemicals, according to the company. It comes equipped with a counter-friendly display. The supplier is also offering retailers an introductory display deal: Buy 10 packs and receive two packs free. A 20-count pack is available for an SRP of $1.99.
22. KPS Global walk-in cooler
KPS Global will now stock commonly sized walk-in coolers and freezers that are ready to ship to customers within 48 hours. As with its custom-built walk-in solutions, KPS is offering everything an operator needs to outfit a quick-ship walk-in, including jamb guards, closers, LED lights and a thermometer.
23. NestFresh pasture-raised eggs
NestFresh Eggs is expanding its line of pasture-raised eggs with Pasture Raised Organic Eggs, Pasture Raised Non-GMO Eggs and Pasture Raised Soy Free Eggs, all available in 12-count plastic or pulp cartons. The line is designed to cater to consumers looking for a healthful way to enjoy eggs with an added element of convenience. The expanded lineup joins its existing line of hard-cooked eggs.
24. Perdue Sliced Smoked Turkey and Dark Turkey Burgers
Perdue Foodservice is introducing two new products—Sliced Smoked Turkey and Dark Turkey Burgers—to the Perdue Harvestland all-natural turkey portfolio. The turkey burgers are made with 100% vegetarian-fed turkey that is ground, lightly seasoned and formed into a 4-ounce patty. Sliced Smoked Turkey is also made with 100% vegetarian-fed turkey that is cooked, lightly smoked and sliced into 0.67-ounce slices and then packaged in a 2-pound resealable package.
25. Nestle Waters sparkling waters
Six Nestle Waters North America brands—Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Poland Spring and Zephyrhills— are available in newly reformulated carbonated versions that feature natural flavors. These new regional sparkling waters are free of calories, sugars, sweeteners and colors. The new lineup is available in redesigned PET bottles (0.5 liters, 1 liter and a new 20-ounce immediate-consumption format) as well as 12-ounce cans.
26. Hershey’s Gold
New Hershey’s Gold bars feature a rich cream that is slowly heated to deliver a buttery, sweet flavor that is a distinctively new Hershey’s experience, the company says. The bar also has salty, crunchy bits of peanuts and pretzels. Hershey’s Gold Caramelized Creme Peanuts & Pretzels will be available Dec. 1 in a standard 1.4-ounce bar for an SRP of $1.29 and a 2.5-ounce king bar for an SRP of $1.99.
27. Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup
Reese’s now comes stuffed with chocolate cookie bits. The new texture delivers a sensorial experience that adds a crunchy bite to complement the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup is available in a standard 1.5-ounce two-cup size for an SRP of $1.09 and in a king 2.8-ounce two-cup size (Big Cup) for an SRP of $1.79.
28. Sour & Chewy Bears and Worms
Each peg bag of this new offering from Candy Dynamics features 5 ounces of sour treats in five flavors: pineapple, strawberry, lime, blue raspberry and tangerine. Each bag has bright, colorful and fun artwork designed to stand out in the candy aisle. Each case contains 12 peggable units, and each peg bag has an SRP of $2.49. Bulk purchasing options are also available.
29. Second Nature Coconut Almond Medley
A mix of indulgent dark-chocolate chunks with roasted and lightly salted almonds and lightly toasted coconut chips, Second Nature Coconut Almond Medley is Non-GMO Project verified, gluten-free, low in sodium and made with no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. It is available in 5- and 12-ounce resalable pouches for an SRP range of $3.99 to $6.49.