LAS VEGAS – New products are the lifeblood of any successful retail store. Whether they stem from innovation, product improvement or line extension, the importance of fresh new products cannot be underestimated in convenience stores. The entire assortment looks and sells better when categories are transformed with new products. One new product in a category can make the entire category more exciting, which translates into incremental sales.
Out with the old and in with the new. Consumers, especially millennials, choose newness from a well-structured assortment. Or, in the words of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “The only constant is change.”
This year’s winners in the Convenience Store News Best New Products Awards program launched innovative products to meet an ever-growing array of consumer needs and desires. They represent the latest trends of protein snacks, healthy bites, crunchy products, foodservice, alternative waters, value pricing and 24-hour snacking.
After a month of consumer testing, the votes were tallied and 25 winners are being recognized by CSNews at the 2015 NACS Show in Las Vegas for bringing the best new products to the convenience store industry during the past year.
Judging for the 19th annual CSNews Best New Products Awards was supervised by Past Times Marketing, a New York-based consumer research and product testing firm. Entries were rated and awarded points by consumers based on the criteria of taste, value, convenience, healthfulness, ingredients, preparation requirements, appearance and packaging.
The 2015 winners are:
- Alternative Snacks/Energy Bars: Fit Crunch Baked Protein Bars; Fit Crunch
- Alternative Snacks/Health Bars: Stone Ground Gluten Free Fig Bars; Nature’s Bakery
- Alternative Snacks/Meat Snacks: Turkey Jamaican Style; Perky Jerky
- Automotive Products: Armor All Vent Clip Air Fresheners; The Armor All Co.
- Beer: Samuel Adams Summer Ale 16-Ounce Can; The Boston Beer Co.
- Bottled Water: Banana Water Mango; Elmhurst Naturals
- Carbonated Soft Drinks: Sprite LeBron’s Mix; The Coca-Cola Co.
- Candy/Chocolate: M&M’S Crispy Chocolate Candies; Mars Chocolate North America
- Candy/Non-Chocolate: Honeybell Buds; Butterfields Candy LLC
- Cigars: Backwoods Honey Bourbon; ITG Brands LLC
- Dairy Beverages: Cold Stone Creamery Milk Shakers Coffee Caramel Dream; Cold Stone Creamery Inc.
- DairyProducts: LALA Greek Smoothies; LALA USA
- Edible Grocery: Kraft Big Cheese Mild Cheddar and Colby Jack; The Kraft Heinz Co.
- Electronic Cigarettes & Vapor Products: blu PLUS+; Fontem Ventures
- Foodservice/Breakfast: Jimmy Dean Blazin’ Hot Breakfast Sandwiches; Tyson Convenience
- Foodservice/Lunch: Hot ‘n’ Ready Barbecue Pork Roller Grill; AdvancePierre Foods
- Foodservice/Packaging: Readyripe Watermelon Solution; Maglio Cos.
- Foodservice/Snacks: Southwestern Style Frank; Kunzler & Co.
- General Merchandise: Pocket Selfie Stick; Mark Feldstein & Associates
- Healthy Snacks: Dark Chocolate Sunflower Granola; The Bungalow Picnic Co.
- Flavored Malt Beverages: Angry Orchard Green Apple 16-Ounce Can; The Boston Beer Co.
- Other Packaged Beverages: Kool-Aid Ready to Drink; The Kraft Heinz Co.
- Packaged Sweet Snacks: Lemon and Cinnamon Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes; Prairie City Bakery
- Salty Snacks: Bugles Ranch; General Mills Convenience & Foodservice
- Overall Innovation: Reese’s Spreads Snacksters with Graham Dippers; The Hershey Co.