New Food Items Prove Popular at 2023 NACS Show

The Cool New Products Preview Room garnered a total of 17,082 product scans.
Danielle Romano
NACS Show 2023 teaser

ATLANTA — The 2023 NACS Show came to a close earlier this month, but not before providing 24,084 attendees four days of education, networking and a look at what's up and coming in the global convenience and fuel retailing industry.

Held Oct. 3-6 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, the expo delivered buzz around a number of new products and drove category excitement. Overall, there were 7,334 attendees classified as "buyers," as well as attendees from 67 countries, NACS reported.

[Read more: NACS SHOW REWIND: Convenience Channel Enters the New Age of Advertising]

Organized around five broad categories — in-store merchandise, technology, facility development and store operations, fuel equipment and services, and food equipment and foodservice programs — the 436,100-net-square-foot expo featured 1,261 exhibitors, including 205 exhibitors in the New Exhibitor Area, which provided retailers with a unique look at the new products and services that are relatively new to the convenience channel.

A marker of the annual expo included the Cool New Products Preview Room, where attendees could scan QR codes through the NACS Show mobile app for any of the 300 products on display. Of the 17,082 product scans, the most-scanned products centered predominantly on new food products.

The top 10 most-scanned products featured in the Cool New Products Preview Room were:

  1. Lunchables Crispy Grilled Cheesies, KraftHeinz
  2. Sow Good Freeze Dried Candy, CB Distributors Inc. dba Fenix
  3. Safe Pinch Tamper-Evident Bowls With Insert, Anchor Packaging
  4. Freeze Dried Crazy Candy, Smithco Distributing DSD Express
  5. New Products from Drink Blocks LLC, Drink Blocks LLC
  6. New Products from Hatcheri Foods, Hatcheri Foods
  7. New Products from Cheers, Cheers
  8. Value Lunchables, KraftHeinz
  9. Café Tango, Frazil
  10. Alcohol Breathalyzer Rapid Test, Big Ideas Marketing

Exploring Hot Topics

The NACS Show featured 49 education sessions designed by retailers for retailers, and focused on topics related to food, fuels, leadership, technology, human resources, marketing, operations and government relations, with special sessions focused on the unique needs of smaller operators.

Each session averaged nearly 250 attendees. The most-attended education session, "Solutions to Optimize Your Foodservice Space," drew nearly 400 attendees, according to NACS.

[Read more: NACS SHOW REWIND: How to Increase Seasonal Candy Sales]

This year's expo also included two co-located events held prior to the NACS Show that covered topics that required more in-depth discussion:

  • The Food Safety Forum brought together food-focused industry leaders to address food safety, foodservice, quality and assurance, and risk management.
  • The NACS Advanced Category Management Certification course provided highly interactive learning for experienced category management and merchandising professionals from retailer and supplier companies.

Inspiration at the Forefront

Packed general sessions focused on cultivating and leading innovation.

Kevin Paul Scott, co-founder of ADDO Worldwide, kicked off the Oct. 3 general session and set up the case for return on inspiration, defining how leaders can grow their businesses by leading inspiration. Following the session, the NACS Show Kick-Off Party took place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The focus on Oct. 4 was inspiring a great customer experience. 2022-2023 NACS Chairman Don Rhoads shared how his road trips to convenience stores this year gave him a deeper appreciation of the industry. He then led a panel with three acclaimed road trippers — Stephanie Stuckey of Stuckey's Corp., Stafford Shurden of Gas Station Tailgate Review and Al Hebert of Gas Station Gourmet — who shared ideas and strategies for retailers to elevate their brands and become destinations.

NACS President and CEO Henry Armour ended the day by talking about the industry's community focus, specifically around TruAge, the free age-verification program that can protect retailers and communities. Industry-leading point-of-sale provider Verifone also announced that its latest Commander software release is able to implement TruAge at stores.

Inspiring operational excellence was the focus of the Oct. 5 general session, which kicked off with a keynote by 2023-2024 NACS Chairman Victor Paterno, president & CEO of Philippine Seven Corp., operator of 3,600 stores. Panel discussions on inspiring innovation and redefining your workforce took deep dives into these issues.

To close out the 2023 NACS Show on Oct. 6, WWE Superstar, actor and philanthropist John Cena inspired attendees to reach for their dreams and gave suggestions how to do so in a highly industry-focused talk.

The general sessions also debuted the new NACS Ideas 2 Go videos that showcase exceptional retailing, which will be available online.

Other Business at the NACS Show

Additionally, NACS presented awards recognizing excellence. The association launched the Convenience Retailer of the Year Award Latin America with two winners: Lion Place Cardales and LiSTO! Castaños. Then, OnCue Marketing and Sheetz Inc. were recognized with the Fuels Market News Magazine Innovator of the Year Awards.

At the conclusion of the NACS Show, NACS and NACS Show exhibitors donated six trailers of food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

The 2024 NACS Show will take place Oct. 7-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Alexandria, Va.-based NACS is the leading global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing by advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. The association is a trusted adviser to retailer and supplier members from more than 50 countries. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 150,000 stores nationwide selling fuel, food and merchandise, conducts 160 million transactions daily and had sales of $906.1 billion in 2022.

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