C-store Industry Category Definitions & Numbering Guide Updated

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C-store Industry Category Definitions & Numbering Guide Updated

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Nearly two decades after putting category definitions into print, NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, has released its NACS Category Definitions and Numbering Guide – Version 7.2.

The NACS Research Committee worked with industry leaders and key stakeholders to implement two important changes to the 7.1 version, which was published in 2013. These changes improve the clarity of the guide and reflect recent updates resulting from product transition and diversification, the association stated.

"These changes to our category definitions simplify the terminology and will further enhance our industry's ability to benchmark performance within a key category," said Kevin Smartt, NACS Research Committee chairman.

The key changes made include: adding "Cold Brew Coffee" to the "Other Cold Dispensed Beverages" category; and changing the "Alternative Beverages" subcategory name to "Energy Drinks."


The category switch to energy drinks comes as a new primary research study conducted by the NACS Panel in partnership with Red Bull found that 54 percent of convenience shoppers choose energy drinks when they "need a boost."

According to the panel, energy drinks are commonly consumed during the morning/breakfast daypart and the mid-afternoon. The research suggests that energy drinks are a great candidate for peak food purchasing occasions in c-stores.

The analysis also found that 72.8 percent of high-frequency c-store energy drink shoppers purchase and consume energy beverages during the first half of the day. These heavy-use shoppers come to a convenience store five to six times per week or more to purchase their favorite energy drink.

Research also shows that consumers are loyal to a particular energy drink brand, with more than one-third of consumers indicating that they would not change brands based on price.

The Energy Drinks subcategory will now include only energy drinks over 4 ounces. Relaxation drinks and neutraceuticals have been re-classified under the “Other Packaged Beverages” subcategory, according to NACS.

NACS released the first Category Definitions and Numbering Guide 1.0, in 1998 to provide a framework for data collection and benchmarking the industry's category performance.

The new NACS Category Definitions and Numbering Guide – Version 7.2 is available for download in PDF and an Excel format​.