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08/12/2021

Convenience Store News Reveals Winners of 25th Annual Best New Products Awards

Health and wellness are still strong selling points for new c-store items.
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NATIONAL REPORT — The health and wellness trend in product innovation hasn't slowed down. If anything, consumers' desire for healthier products enhanced with functional benefits has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the winners in the 2021 Convenience Store News Best New Products Awards represent examples of how Americans continue to look for proof of functional benefits in the foods and beverages they consume. Some of the more common product attributes shared among this year's honorees include low or no sugar or carbs, organic, clean label, and sustainable.

On the other hand, this year's group of winners also includes products that illustrate the fact that while consumers may want to follow healthy diets, that doesn't mean they don't like to treat themselves to indulgent sugary and salty snacks on occasion. This creates a tale of two c-stores: healthy products on one side and comforting, fun products on the other.

Another trend seen this year is "premium." Premium brand identification is on the upswing, with many products claiming unique ingredients, presentation and benefits over standard c-store fare.

More than any year prior, this year's Best New Products Awards winners backed up their claims with data showing the success of their new introductions.

From more than 100 entries, judges chose 44 products new to convenience store shelves for recognition in the 25th annual competition. The Best New Products Awards program recognizes the marketers that introduced the most innovative, high-quality products that meet consumers' evolving needs and fit a convenience store's value proposition.

Entries were rated and awarded points based on the criteria of taste, value, convenience, healthfulness, ingredients, preparation requirements, appearance and packaging. Judging was supervised and tallied by Past Times Marketing, a New York-based consumer research and product-testing firm. Detailed criteria is available here.

Products honored this year range from enhanced still waters, hard seltzers and indulgent sweet snacks to low-sugar, keto friendly and convenient grab-and-go foodservice items.

The 2021 Best New Products Awards winners are:

ALTERNATIVE SNACKS: ENERGY BARS

CLIF Bar Duos, CLIF Bar & Co.

ALTERNATIVE SNACKS: MEAT SNACKS

Country Archer Footlongs, Country Archer Provisions

ALTERNATIVE SNACKS: PROTEIN BARS

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Protein Bar, General Mills Convenience

BEER

Coors Pure, Molson Coors Beverage Co.

CANDY: CHOCOLATE

Reese's Big Cup with Pretzels, The Hershey Co.

CANDY: GUM

ORBIT Mega Pack — Peppermint, Mars Wrigley

CANDY: NON-CHOCOLATE 

HARIBO Funtastic Mix, HARIBO of America

CANDY: NOVELTY/SEASONAL

Skittles Shriekers!, Mars Wrigley

CBD: EDIBLES

Hemp Bombs CBD Gummies, Hemp Bombs

CBD: JUICE DRINKS

Forth CBD-Infused Juice Drinks, E-Alternative Solutions

CBD: SHOTS

Mad Tasty Wellness Boost, Mad Tasty LLC

DELI PRODUCTS

Van's Kitchen 4-Pack Egg Rolls — Chili Lime Chicken, Van's Kitchen

FLAVORED MALT BEVERAGES: HARD SELTZER

Truly Punch Hard Seltzer — Berry Punch, Truly Hard Seltzer

FLAVORED MALT BEVERAGES: ORGANIC HARD SELTZER

Michelob ULTRA Organic Seltzer, Michelob

FOODSERVICE: BAKERY

Rich's Ready to Finish Filled Dessert Donuts — Banana Cream Pie, Rich Products Corp.

FOODSERVICE: BASE INGREDIENTS

Garrett Valley Pork Belly, Wellshire Farms LLC

FOODSERVICE: BREAKFAST

Market Sandwich — Sausage & Jalapeno Bacon with Egg & Cheese on a Biscuit, E.A. Sween Co. 

FOODSERVICE: COLD DISPENSED BEVERAGES

Southern Breeze Ready Sweet Flavor Pak — Peach, Harris Tea Foodservice

FOODSERVICE: CONDIMENTS

Chester's Dipping Sauces — Chester's Sauce, Chester's International

FOODSERVICE: DINNER/HOME MEAL REPLACEMENT

Smoked Honey & BBQ Sausage, Johnsonville

FOODSERVICE: LUNCH

UNO Pizzeria & Grill Calzones — Chicken Bacon Ranch, UNO Foods Inc.

FOODSERVICE: SNACKS

Jimmy Dean Loaded Sausage Bites, Tyson Foodservice

FROZEN FOODS

Prairie City Ooey Gooey Molten Lava Cake — Fudge, Prairie City Bakery

FROZEN NOVELTIES

Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bars, Mars Wrigley

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Scripto Hybrid Jet Flame, Calico Brands Inc.

HEALTH & BEAUTY CARE

Headache Man, No More Pills LLC

HEALTHY SNACKS

OH SNAP! Sassy Bites, GLK Foods

HEALTHY SNACKS: KITS

Tessemae's Keto Box, Tessamae's

LIQUOR

LIQS — Cinnamon Orange Tequila, E.&J. Gallo Winery 

NON-EDIBLE GROCERY

BIC EZ Reach Lighter, BIC Corp. 

OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS: CIGARS

White Owl Swirl — Chocolate & Vanilla, Swedish Match North America

OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS: PAPERS

Hempire Wraps, Swisher 

OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS: SMOKELESS TOBACCO

Black Buffalo Wintergreen Long Cut, Black Buffalo Inc. 

PACKAGED BEVERAGES: BOTTLED WATER 

VOSS+ Vitamin D, Voss USA

PACKAGED BEVERAGES: CARBONATED SOFT DRINKS

Sunkist Berry Lemonade, Keurig Dr Pepper

PACKAGED BEVERAGES: JUICE DRINKS

Amarumayu Superfruit Juices, Amarumayu LLC 

PACKAGED BEVERAGES: OTHER

Twang Reserve Cocktail Mixes, Twang Partners Ltd.

PACKAGED BEVERAGES: RTD COFFEE DRINKS

Community Coffee Espresso + Cream, Community Coffee

PACKAGED BEVERAGES: RTD ICED TEA

POM Pomegranate Orange Blossom White Tea, POM Wonderful

PACKAGED SWEET SNACKS

7Days Cake Bars, 7Days-EPTA America LLC

SALTY SNACKS: NUTS & SEEDS

South 40 Snacks Sunflower Seeds, South 40 Snacks Inc.

SALTY SNACKS: POTATO CHIPS

Pringles Scorchin', Kellogg's Co. 

SALTY SNACKS: PRETZELS

Dot's Honey Mustard Pretzels, Dot's Pretzels

SALTY SNACKS: READY TO EAT POPCORN

Gold Medal Gourmet Popcorn, Gold Medal Products Co.