RICHMOND, Va. — This spring, Core-Mark International held its first set of Core-Mark Expo events since becoming a fully integrated company with Eby-Brown Co. under parent company Performance Food Group (PFG): Expo East in Cleveland, Ohio; Expo Midwest in Schaumburg, Ill.; and the first-ever Expo Northeast in Montville, Conn.
A 2023 Convenience Store News Category Captain for foodservice/prepared food, one of Core-Mark's biggest initiatives on display at the events was its array of fresh foodservice offerings, designed to help retailer partners maximize their sales with an all-inclusive hot food and equipment program.
A high point of its prepared food offerings is the Tru-Q Barbecue program, first launched this past summer. It features genuine, fully cooked, slow smoked barbecue with an authentic taste that barbecue with artificial smoke flavor lacks.
The company also debuted a new name for its line of grab-and-go foods: Fresh Take. It features fresh and healthy sandwiches, salads and snacks. The offerings have shelf lives long enough to suit retailers' needs, but are made at three different facilities to ensure the program works on a national scale and always emphasizes freshness.
On the technology front, Core Mark continues to boost its Top Off Rewards loyalty program, which assists independent operators with less than 20 locations by tying specific rewards to specific locations rather than treat c-stores interchangeably.
Rewards are funded and rebated through vendors, freeing retailers from the negotiation process, and stores only need to fund the cents-off-per-gallon rewards. Club programs are also available through Top Off Rewards.
Highlights from the Expo show floor gave attendees a preview of upcoming trends:
- Meat snacks — This snack segment is particularly price sensitive, leading consumers to seek out package types and sizes that will give them the most value. Large single-serve sticks are experiencing the biggest growth, according to Oberto.
- Clean snacks — As more consumers seek out healthy and better-for-you snacks, suppliers are meeting their desire for tasty, guilt-free items. Solely Fruit Jerky offers single-serve, portable strips made from whole organic fruit, with mango and banana versions containing one whole piece of fruit in each jerky piece.
- Functional frozen — Consumers don't only want to enjoy functional benefits in packaged beverages.Frazil Energy adds caffeine to the frozen dispensed segment without the medicinal aftertaste of some energy drinks. Free equipment, service and repair needs, and marketing materials make it easy for retailers to jump in to this offering.
Core-Mark is a subsidiary of Richmond-based PFG, which has a nationwide network of more than 150 distribution facilities. It markets and delivers food and related products to 300,000-plus locations including independent and chain restaurants, schools, business and industry locations, health care facilities, vending distributors, office coffee service distributors, big box retailers, theaters and convenience stores.