ATLANTA -- Editors of CSP Daily News and its sister website C-Store Products Online scoured the trade-show floor during the NACS Show last month to find the most intriguing new products and trends coming to convenience-store retailers.
Here’s a summary of what we found in each major category and links to complete lists on CStoreProductsOnline.com …
Snacks and candy
Premium ingredients, intense flavors and even a nod toward healthier snacking options peppered the trade-show floor. Meanwhile, Hostess added new twists to its traditional Twinkies and Ding Dongs (above).
Spicy flavors, “clean” ingredient labels and cold-brew coffee were the three biggest c-store foodservice themes to permeate this year’s NACS Show. But a number of microtrends and unique supplier initiatives also dotted the show floor, such as Jedidiah’s Artisan Jerky and the Unburger Pizza from Land Mark/Piccadilly Circus Pizza: a rich cheese and ground beef base balanced by crisp lettuce and pickles.
The beverage category was a flavor bonanza on the trade-show floor, with unique new offerings in beer, wine, iced tea, energy drinks and more. But cold-brew coffee from nearly a dozen manufacturers was easily the top trend.
Despite the federal government’s newly "deemed" regulations casting a shroud over innovation in the tobacco category, trends on the NACS trade-show floor included the design, weight and makeup of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping devices. In addition to the look and feel of new products, another strong trend involved premium cigarettes and cigars.
Technology was everywhere on the NACS Show floor, and not just in designated, high-tech areas. Giving people relevant choices in the store, bringing efficiencies to headquarters and offering engaging apps and games were prominent themes at this year’s convention.
Retailers had their say in which new products were the most alluring, voting with scanners in the Cool New Product Preview Room. The most scanned product was in the beverage-equipment category, but others in the top 10 included snacks, cleaning solutions and kiosk opportunities.