A Show Floor Sampling
In order to provide 2013 NACS Show attendees with a product primer and the opportunity to streamline their time at the show, Convenience Store News asked some of the leading and up-andcoming convenience channel suppliers to preview the products and services specifically suited for c-stores that they will show off in Atlanta.
21st Century Smoke/CB Distributors Inc.
At this year’s NACS Show, electronic cigarette maker 21st Century Smoke will highlight its new Genuine Soft Tip filters, which the company said are “almost identical to the look and feel of a traditional cigarette.” This is important to bring consumers even closer to the smoking experience they enjoy with traditional tobacco cigarettes without the additives, tar, offensive smell and dangers of secondhand smoke and flame.
The new Genuine Soft Tip Disposables are featured in an “eye-catching” dual-purpose, 40-count, two-tier counter display. The display contains four individual 10-count displays, with two at the top and two at the bottom. There are three 10-count displays of the regular tobacco flavor and one 10-count display of the cool menthol flavor. Each disposable is sealed in an easy-to-store sealed box. Even the “familiar foil ribbon” used to unseal tradi tional cigarette packs is evident to give that “old familiar and comforting feel of the original tobacco cigarette experience,” 21st Century Smoke noted. The individual box is meant to fit in a pocket or purse between uses for convenient storage.
The company will also showcase its new e-liquid vaporizer, Vapin Plus. 21st Century Smoke said this product has “been the rage in Europe for a couple of years now, and we are bringing it to [the U.S.] market in a higher-quality, lower-cost and attractive point-of-sale display.” This display includes its custom variety of e-liquids in 2-milliliter nicotine strength in 10- and 15-millilitersize bottles with child-safe caps for added safety.
The Vapin Plus brand has safety-tested, quality batteries with a chip for automatic shut-off for additional safety, the maker stated, also noting that its e-liquids are made at a “GMP facility under the safest and strictest guidelines in the industry.”
5-hour Energy/ Living Essentials LLC
The leading energy shot brand will distribute free samples to showgoers at its NACS Show booth this year, where it will be featuring three new flavors, two of which support worthy causes, according to Elaine Lutz, 5-hour Energy’s spokesperson.
A portion of each sale of new Raspberry 5-hour Energy benefits Living Beyond Breast Cancer, an organization that provides educational resources and encouragement to women diagnosed with breast cancer. “This is our second year supporting a breast cancer charity.Last year, we raised more than $380,000 for the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade through sales of our Pink Lemonade flavor,” Lutz said. “This year, we hope to raise even more.”
Its second new flavor, Extra Strength Sour Apple 5-hour Energy, sports an eye-catching camouflage wrapper and is targeted to outdoor enthusiasts.
Finally, new Cherry 5-hour Energy will be introduced in spring 2014 and be available for a limited time only. A portion of each sale will benefit The Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
“The c-store industry put 5-hour Energy on the map and is still our largest retail channel,” Lutz maintained. “Retailers can place several dozen high-profit 5-hour Energy bottles on their counters and know they will sell.”
Altria Group Distribution Co.
The annual NACS Show provides Altria Group Distribution Co. (AGDC) the opportunity to reinforce its benefit to c-store retailers as a single source for tools, information and resources across multiple tobacco categories, according to the company.
Its booth this year will feature the brands of Marlboro, Black & Mild, Copenhagen and Skoal, while also focusing on some of the company’s latest product offerings. For instance, its new MarkTen electronic cigarette will be featured.
MarkTen was designed for adult smokers with familiarity in mind. According to the company, it features a “realistic look and feel and FourDraw technology for a full draw.” The MarkTen e-cigarette is currently available in Classic and Menthol varieties.
Meanwhile, Altria’s Marlboro brand will be showing off a variety of products in its family, including Marlboro Southern Cut and Marlboro Red Label. In addition, Copenhagen will feature its seasonal product, Long Cut Black, and its fastgrowing Long Cut Wintergreen and Wintergreen Pouches, in addition to other smokeless products in the Copenhagen family. The Skoal brand will feature Skoal X-TRA Mint Chill, as well as other classic Skoal smokeless tobacco products.
Black & Mild will highlight its Black & Mild Jazz cigars, including two tipped products introduced this year that have successfully built upon the launch of the Black & Mild Jazz untipped cigarillo, as well as other cigars in the Black & Mild family.
Also at the show, AGDC will display its two “cutting-edge” technology tools, CATMAN and Insightsc3m, which it said helps retailers get the most out of the tobacco categories.
CIGR8/Merkur Group Inc.
A newcomer to the NACS Show but in business since January, electronic cigarette maker CIGR8 will already feature a new product line at the event. The line includes its new rechargeable ready packs and new flavors of cartomizers: coffee and vanilla.
“Our new No. 9 Rechargeable Ready Pack is of particular interest to the industry as it is the only one of its kind on the market: a rechargeable king size (traditional cigarette size) e-cigarette,” according to company spokesperson Sarah Gossner.
At its booth, the company will also feature its traditional disposable e-cigarettes and traditional flavors of cartomizers, tobacco and menthol.
CIGR8 recently redesigned all of its packaging and brand messaging “to be more consistent and present a stronger brand image than we had previously,” Gossner explained. “With our new package design and brand look, we believe we are showcasing that we are a modern, affordable, luxury product in the category. We also are offering one of the only rechargeable traditional- size electronic cigarettes on the market.”
The Coca-Cola Co.
Coca-Cola is inviting attendees to discover “Your Formula for Success” at its NACS Show booth this year, where the company will reveal new brands, flavors and packaging, as well as hand out product samples.
One forward-thinking feature at the Coca-Cola booth will be the “Digital Cold Vault.” This technological sensation is described by the company as “a life-sized, interactive digital display customized to showcase the brands that best address your store’s shopper demographics and business strategies.”
With a few taps and a sweep of the hand on a computer screen, the cold vault doors are transformed to reveal products, insights, videos and shopper marketing information specifically designed to meet a particular retailer’s needs.
In addition, booth visitors will be invited to learn about profitable foodservice solutions, such as as those featuring Coca-Cola with food, impulse zone innovations and the Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain machine. The company also plans to share key points to energize business from the NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council.
What’s more, NACS Show attendees can join Coca-Cola outside the expo to tour the beverage company’s Open Happiness vehicle and the Coca- Cola Freestyle truck.
Eco-Cigs will unveil two new products at the 2013 NACS Show: Eco-Cigs ULTRA King XL and Sapphyre Hookah. The ULTRA King XL is an innovative, soft filter electronic cigarette that is meant to give adult tobacco consumers the size, weight and feel they expect from a traditional cigarette, including a “real” cellulose filter.
ULTRA King XLs come packaged two in each flip-top box — a package the company believes is familiar, convenient and extends the traditional smoker experience. The product is available in 2.4-percent nicotine strength in both tobacco and menthol flavors.
Sapphyre Hookah is designed to tap into one of the hot trends in the market: flavored electronic cigarettes. The product offers a rich, metallic finish; Sapphyre Crystal tip; and 600 puffs of zero-nicotine flavor. Sapphyre Hookah has automatic operation and comes in eight flavors: Blueberry Mint, Mango Tango, Green Apple, Strawberry Fields, Peach Passion, Grape Explosion, Watermelon Heaven and Chocolate Mint.
Packaged 20 per self-merchandising box, each box of Sapphyre Hookah includes five units each of four flavors. For every Sapphyre Hookah pre-priced at $8.99, retailers can expect to enjoy more than a 40-percent profit margin, according to the company.
Tim Green, Eco-Cigs’ marketing director, said convenience stores sell the majority of traditional cigarettes and since the majority of e-cigarette consumers are current smokers, “it simply makes sense to sell through that same retail channel.”
The Hershey Co.
Hershey is bringing a number of new products, innovative extensions of its iconic brands, unique promotional opportunities, and merchandising and distribution insights to the NACS Show. After all, the company views the convenience channel as one of its most important retail channels and its product footprint is expanding across c-stores.
At the show, Hershey will highlight the investments it’s made in what it calls the “hand-to-mouth platform.” Featured products will include Kit Kat Minis King Size; York Minis King Size; Twizzlers King Size Flex Pack; and Jolly Rancher King Size Flex. Hershey is also reintroducing the Reese’s Nutrageous Candy Bar and Krackel Chocolate Bar in 2014.
New product launches, meanwhile, include Hershey’s Spreads and the Hershey’s Spreads instant consumable for the convenience class of trade, as well as new Lancaster Soft Crèmes, Hershey’s first new brand launch in 30 years. The Lancaster brand debuted this summer in China and will hit U.S. shelves in January.
As seasons continue to drive confectionery sales in the United States and the convenience class of trade, Hershey will be featuring its traditional convenience store seasons, as well as the non-traditional summer season with insight into how to drive non-chocolate sales during the summer months. Hershey is the official candy sponsor of the NCAA and is expanding its promotional partnership to football, while continuing its successful promotion with NCAA March Madness. Hershey’s booth will also display promotional bundling opportunities for Coke and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Finally, to demonstrate the importance of point-ofsale candy purchases, the Hershey booth will feature a front checkout area, featuring under-the-counter confection merchandising to drive retailer sales. Having the right item for convenience stores is critical, which is why Hershey said it will share its “Score with Core” initiative.
Just Born Inc.
Just Born will bring NACS Show news and excitement for all four of its candy brands: Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales, Peeps and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. Featured in the company’s booth will be all convenience store-specific packs, displays, new products, promotions and advertising.
Specifically, the entire Mike and Ike line has new package graphics and a new flavorful formula with real fruit juice, an all-in celebration of its character “reunion.” A special Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion five-flavor mix has been created and consists of strawberry, strawberry banana smoothie, strawberry watermelon, strawberry tangerine and strawberry pineapple.
In addition, Mike and Ike Zours is a sour line extension now made with real fruit juice, consisting of sour lemon, sour green apple, sour watermelon, sour blue raspberry and sour cherry.
For its Hot Tamales brand, Just Born will unveil Hot Tamales Tropical Heat, a threeflavor mix of mango tango, picante pineapple and limon fever, which will launch in the western U.S. According to the company, this product is ideally suited for Hispanics, as well as consumers who love spicy candy.
Not to be left out, the Peeps Brand is launching several new flavored items for key seasons: Party Cake Peeps for the Easter season; Patriotic Vanilla Crème Peeps, Bubblegum Peeps and Sweet Lemonade Peeps for summertime.
C-stores represent about one-third of Just Born’s sales, the company noted.
Kellogg will feature a wide assortment of new products at this year’s NACS Show that it said will show the breadth of its product portfolio. “Many of these new products cater to unmet consumer needs, while all provide the convenience, portability and great taste that today’s consumers require,” a company spokesperson stated.
New product introductions for the beverage category include Kellogg’s To Go Protein Breakfast Shakes, available in three flavors — milk chocolate, vanilla and strawberry — and targeted toward breakfast skippers. Kellogg will also promote two new flavors of its Special K Protein Café-Inspired Shakes, drinkable nutrition beverages offering 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. The Special K shakes are targeted at consumers looking for a nutritious pick-me-up any time of day.
In the snacks category, Kellogg will introduce several new items under the Bear Naked brand, targeted toward “lifestyle performance consumers” looking for great-tasting, all-natural foods to fuel their active lifestyles. Bear Naked products are made with real whole-grain oats, luscious fruits, hearty nuts, and no artificial flavors or preservatives.
The energy bars, trail mixes, granola and nut protein blends will be available in January.
For consumers looking for all-natural salty snacks that are better for them, Kellogg will also showcase Kashi Hummus Crisps, which combine chickpeas, whole grains, spices and herbs, offering the positive nutrition of 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 5 grams of whole grains.They come in two flavors: Caramelized Onion and Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil & Feta.
According to the company, a hot, nutritious breakfast on the go is another consumer need Kellogg is satisfying with two additions to its portable cerealin- a-cup (CIAC) product line. Special K Nourish Hot Cereal, a multigrain blend, will be available in two flavors at the end of October: Maple Brown Sugar Crunch and Cranberry Almond.
One final new product launch that will be showcased is Special K Nourish Bars, which meet consumers’ desire for nourishment in a convenient bar form. Available in three flavors — Dark Chocolate Nut, Lemon, and Cranberry Almond — they are made from “purposeful” ingredients including barley, oats, quinoa and wheat.
Kellogg said the NACS Show allows it “the opportunity to showcase our exciting new items to customers and gain their feedback, while also providing us with the opportunity for additional face-to-face meetings to discuss how we can help them grow their business,” the spokesperson said. The company believes its products are a good fit for the c-store industry because they meet the convenience consumer’s need for convenient, portable, good-tasting food that they can consume on the go in single-serve packaging.
Mars Chocolate North America
A major focus of the Mars Chocolate exhibit this year will be displays and merchandising. “We recently completed the Mars/Wrigley C-Store Front End Best Practices Study and we learned which categories belong at the front end, locations of the front end hot spots, the most effective merchandising elements, and what the front end should look like to capture shoppers’ attention,” said Larry Lupo, Mars Chocolate’s vice president of sales for the convenience and drug channels. The results will be shared at the show.
The company will also be talking about two tools created especially for the c-store channel. One is the 2014 Convenience Store Toolkit, which will help stores plan for the year. With it, retailers can review shopper marketing and pointof- purchase/point-of-sale content for each Mars program, watch TV spots and view the 2014 prepacked display calendar.
The other tool is the Mars24seven.com website, which has “everything c-store operators need to create and maintain a thriving candy aisle,” said Lupo. The site includes shopper insights, merchandising and display options, product photos and trend information.
In the way of new products, Mars Chocolate said seasonal confectionery sales continue to grow in the c-store channel and so it is expanding its seasonal shapes offering. On display at this year’s show will be new Twix Santas, Hearts and Eggs.
Unwrapped, bite-sized treats are also a hot trend, so the company is adding to its line of Bites. In May, it introduced Snickers Bites and Milky Way Bites. In 2014, 3 Musketeers Bites, Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites and Twix Bites will join the lineup.
Other product introductions that will be promoted at the show include the Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar, created with marshmallow-flavored nougat covered with almonds and dark chocolate; the new line of Mega M&M’S Candies, featuring more chocolate and more nuts; and M&M’S Brand Birthday Cake Chocolate Candies, infused with “birthday cake flavor,” which will be offered as a limited-edition item.
At the NACS Show, NJOY will launch its new and improved NJOY King, which lasts roughly 50 percent longer than the current product and features new patent-pending technology, an improved flavor formulation for a smoother taste and a new TriPort tip for improved draw.
The e-cigarette will be offered in both convenience single packs and money- saving 5-packs for adult smokers. Additionally, the product will come in a new innovative carton that the company said improves space in retail stores for growth and better profitability.
NJOY electronic cigarettes are currently sold in more than 70,000 stores nationwide, the majority of which are convenience stores, according to the company.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJRT), along with American Snuff Co. LLC , Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., will unveil a “stateof- the-art” booth at the show that features the latest from RJRT’s flagship Camel brand, as well as from its Pall Mall, Natural American Spirit, Camel Snus and Grizzly brands. The focal point of the exhibit, however, will be Vuse, which the company boasts is “the world’s first digital vapor cigarette designed and assembled in America.”
“We expanded our Vuse lead market to the state of Colorado in July and feedback from our retail partners, as well as adult consumers so far, has been extremely encouraging,” the company reported. “We believe that Vuse’s exceptional quality, innovative technology and consistent product performance will set the new standard in the e-cigarette category.”
In the smokeless tobacco segment, Camel Snus made news earlier this year with the introduction of Fresh Seal packaging that allows the product to maintain flavor and product freshness without the need for refrigeration. The company also nationally launched Camel Snus Frost in a larger 1-gram pouch.
At the show, RJRT will unveil a new, redesigned trade customer website, EngageTradePartners.com, which will replace its current site, EngageRJRT.com. The new site is designed to be easier to use, mobile friendly and to deliver information faster.
RJRT said the NACS Show provides unparallel opportunities to meet with the leadership from some of its most strategically aligned customers. “There is no substitute for engaging in face-to-face business discussions with your trade partners, and the NACS Show provides the best opportunity to connect with the most customers in a short timeframe,” according to a company spokesperson.
Rudolph Foods Co. Inc.
Rudolph Foods plans to show off its newest Gaslamp Popcorn, Olive Oil & Sea Salt, along with its Gaslamp Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn and White Cheddar popcorn. Later this year, Rudolph Foods also will also debut Granola Pop.
“Ready-to-eat popcorn continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the popcorn category overall,” said Mark Singleton, vice president of sales and marketing, noting the company will also sample its Chile Limon Dippers and Cheesy Jalapeño Curls. “We produce great products that continue to satisfy snackers in the convenience channel, and we love continuing to bring them new flavors and products to keep them snacking.”
Rudolph Foods is traditionally known for its pork rinds, and since about 50 percent of all pork rinds are sold in c-stores, according to Singleton, the NACS Show “is just the best show in the world to ultimately reach consumers. We love coming to the show to meet with existing retailers and build new relationships in the convenience store channel.”