The partnership between 7-Eleven and Optimum Nutrition has been churning for months. Optimum Nutrition was one of the featured brands at the 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Association of Chicagoland Tradeshow in November 2018, an event at which manufacturers showcase their items with hopes of them soon arriving on 7-Eleven’s shelves.
"Optimum Nutrition first launched grab-and go-snacks into the convenience channel at NACS, and now, following a successful 7-Eleven regional test, we are very proud to have earned national availability in 7-Eleven and welcome these popular stores to our Optimum Nutrition family," said Jean Terminiello, national director of immediate consumption for Optimum Nutrition. "Optimum Nutrition’s strong promotional and marketing support coupled with our existing large fan base will drive incremental growth in the category."
Optimum Nutrition’s snack products include Cake Bites, Protein Almonds, Protein Crisp Bars and Protein Wafers. The brand also offers bottled protein water and protein powders.
"We are excited about our partnership and offering our consumers Optimum Nutrition protein snacks," said Nancy Gallardo, category manager for 7-Eleven. "Cake Bites, Protein Crisp Bars and Protein Almonds will be set in our national spring plan-o-gram, allowing us to offer consumers Optimum Nutrition’s popular variety of tasty better for you snacks."
Optimum Nutrition is a sports nutrition company based in Downers Grove, Ill. It manufactures a variety of protein bars, powders, beverages and vitamins. Besides 7-Eleven, Optimum Nutrition products are available at retailers such as Speedway, Kum & Go and Meijer.
Based in Irving, Texas, 7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises or licenses more than 66,000 stores in 17 countries, including 11,600 in North America and nearly 9,100 in the United States. The chain ranks No. 1 in CSP'sTop 40 update to the 2018 Top 202 list of the largest c-store chains in the United States.
CHICAGO -- Gone are the days of breakfast, lunch and dinner being consumers’ only meals of the day. People are increasingly snacking to cure their hunger, and they don’t seem to be stopping. More than half of consumers (55%) snack between meals at least twice a day—a 5% increase compared to two years ago, according to the 2018 Snacking Consumer Trend Report by CSP sister research firm Technomic. This year brought an onslaught of new snack and candy trends to retailers, some that may continue drawing customers down treat aisles in 2019.
Here are five snack and candy trends that could set the stage for next year …
Private-label snacks have already emerged in large c-store chains, giving these brands an opportunity to compete with their counterparts.
In March 2018, 7-Eleven expanded its line of packaged bakery items with the 7-Select private-label sweet bread. The bread, which was available for a limited time only, came in three varieties: Panquecitos, miniature vanilla loaf cakes; Roles de Canela, cinnamon rolls with raisins; and Panque con Nuez, sliced pound cake with chopped pecans.
Six months later, Yesway launched its newest private-label products, Yesway Candy and Yesway Baked Goods, in Yesway c-stores nationwide. Yesway Candy features loose-bag candies such as Mini Sour Gummi Worms and Gummi Bears, while Yesway Baked Goods features Powdered Donut Holes, Blueberry Muffins and fried pies.
Tortilla chips are dominating c-store salty snacks. The category garnered more than $1 billion in sales—good for a 10.8% increase compared to 2017—making up a fifth of the entire salty snack segment, according to data from Chicago-based research firm IRI. Cheese snacks were the only snack segment to come close to tortilla chips in terms of growth, yet the category still fell behind by more than 3%.
Popular tortilla chip brands this year included Doritos’ Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy (up 875% from 2017), Paqui (up 163%), Barcel Takis (up 63%), El Sabroso Guacachips (up 23%) and El Sabroso Salsitas (up 20%). Highlighting these brands, as well as other tortilla chip labels, may spark the snacking category altogether.
Between January and October 2017, cannabidiol, or CBD, candies accounted for nearly 11% of the total candy market in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, according to Boulder, Colo.-based research firm BDS Analytics. Moreover, CBD candy grew by nearly 170% in 2017, compared to 51% for candy overall.
CBD operators are channeling consumers’ interests in cannabis by infusing various candies with CBD, which doesn't contain the psychoactive element tetrahydrocannabino (THC). CBD products entering the c-store market include Hemptail, a flavored malt beverage made with Hemp; Instant CBD strips; and CBD Lollipops.
The U.S. chocolate market is expected to reach about $23 billion in total retail sales by the end of 2018, according to research firm Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md., and it doesn't appear to be slowing down. This is partially due to the emergence of premium chocolate—products that sway from traditional chocolate bars, the research firm said.
New premium chocolate products have emerged in c-stores this year, such as Mars Wrigley Confectionery's new line of chocolate-covered nuts for its Dove brand or the Hershey Co.’s Dipped Pretzels line, which debuted at the recent 2018 NACS Show. More recently, Mars Wrigley rebranded its American Heritage Chocolate (AHC) products, such as a Gourmet Hot Cocoa, Finely Grated Chocolate, Tablet Bars and Tasting Squares.
Nonchocolate candies such as sour worms, jelly beans and gummy bears are surging. Packaged Facts foresees total retail dollar sales of the sector hitting $11 billion by the end of the year, with sales having increased 3% from 2013 to 2018.
Specifically, sour candies have erupted in the nonchocolate category this year. Products such as Mike and Ike Mega Sour Mix, Trolli Sour Brite All Star Mix and Sour Punch Wild Bites all debut at the 2018 NACS show, ready to arrive in c-stores in 2019. These lip-puckering treats may be help spark continued growth in the candy segment for c-store operators next year.