CHICAGO — Consumers are redefining convenience, making snacking on the go an all-day affair, and convenience store suppliers in turn are filling the innovation pipeline with new products that meet the evolving eating and drinking habits of today’s consumers.
The winners of this year’s Convenience Store News Best New Products Awards skew heavily towards snacks, both center-store and foodservice category items. Many of them can be consumed during any daypart or even used as a substitute for a full meal. The snack categories received the largest number of entries in this year’s competition.
Beverages and foodservice items also make a strong showing in this year’s crop of honorees. In the beverage categories, alcoholic and fruit-flavored seltzers and malt beverages seize the day while in foodservice, the emphasis among the winning entries is on taste and flavor.
Another notable trend this year is related to the economy. Many of the winning entries focus on value as consumers are cutting back on spending in today’s uncertain economic climate.
Overall, the 27th annual Best New Products Awards program places the spotlight on 33 innovative products introduced into the convenience channel in the past year. Products brought to the market between May 31, 2022 and June 1, 2023 were eligible for entry.
A panel of consumers judged the submitted products on value, convenience, appearance and packaging, along with attributes such as taste and ingredients for edible items. Judging was supervised and tallied by Past Times Marketing, a New York-based consumer research and product-testing firm.
The winners are:
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: CHELADAS
Bud Light Chelada Tajin Chile Limon, Anheuser-Busch
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: FLAVORED MALT
Twisted Tea Pineapple, Boston Beer Co.
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: HARD SODA
Cantaritos By Jarritos – Hard Soda Variety Pack, Anheuser-Busch
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: SELTZER
High Noon Tequila Variety Pack, E&J Gallo Winery
ALTERNATIVE SNACKS: BARS
Chex Mix Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars, General Mills
ALTERNATIVE SNACKS: FRUIT
Cranberry Sweeties, Oh Snap! Pickling LLC
Twizzlers Gummies, The Hershey Co.
Buck'A Buzz, J And A Consumable Products
Cucumber Chili Lime Beer Salt, Twang Partners LLC
Jimmy Dean Sausage, Egg & Cheese Roll-Up, Tyson Foods
Chester’s New Everything Fried Chicken Sandwich, Chester’s Chicken
Cheesy Pull Apart Flatbread, Rich Products Corp.
Anchorware Reusables, Anchor Packaging
M&M’S Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich, Mars Wrigley
BIC Djeep Lighter, BIC USA Inc.
HEALTH & BEAUTY CARE
Vitamin Energy Shot, Vitamin Energy
Rockit Apples, Rockit Global Limited
Twisted Tea Whiskey, Beam Suntory
OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS: CIGARS
Game Leaf Dark Rum, Swedish Match
OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS: SMOKELESS
Mojo Balanced Energy Pouch, E-Alternative Solutions
PACKAGED BEVERAGES: ENHANCED WATER
Vitaminwater Zero Sugar With Love, The Coca-Cola Co.
PACKAGED BEVERAGES: CARBONATED SOFT DRINKS
Coca-Cola Move/Zero Sugar Move, The Coca-Cola Co.
PACKAGED BEVERAGES: ENERGY DRINKS
Gym Weed Adaptogen Energy, Gym Weed
PACKAGED BEVERAGES: RTD COFFEE DRINKS
Split Shift Swift Kick Blend Cold Brew Unsweetened, Harbor Foods
PACKAGED SWEET SNACKS: DONUTS
Lemon Cheese Cake Donuts, Bon Appetit
PACKAGED SWEET SNACKS: COOKIES
Dunkaroos Cinnamon Toast Crunch, General Mills
PACKAGED SWEET SNACKS: OVERALL
Kazbars, Hostess Brands
SALTY SNACKS: READY-TO-EAT POPCORN
Pop Crunch, Big Dipper Food Co.
SALTY SNACKS: PORK RINDS
Old-Timey Butterscotch Flavor Pork Rinds, Pork King Good
SALTY SNACKS: TORTILLA CHIPS
Chipoys Spicy Ranch, Chipoys
SALTY SNACKS: OVERALL
Old El Paso Fiesta Twists Queso, General Mills
Sunshine Bliss Wine, Circle K Stores Inc.
Reese’s Dipped Animal Crackers, The Hershey Co.