Supplier Spotlights: AdvancePierre, Gilbarco Veeder-Root & Hershey
NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.
Here are the latest supplier spotlights:
AdvancePierre celebrated the opening of its newest manufacturing facility in Vineland, N.J., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 21. The 75,000-square-foot facility contains two raw and four cooked production lines for Philly steak.
Construction of the facility began in June 2016 under the tenure of Allied Specialty Foods, which AdvancePierre acquired in October 2016. The deal expanded AdvancePierre's market position in the Philly steak platform, providing entry into fully cooked product offerings, according to the company.
"This new facility expands our production capacity in a product category that is primed for growth," stated George Chappelle, chief operating officer of AdvancePierre. "The investment in four cooked production lines underscores the importance of this new capability in our product portfolio in meeting the market demand for this versatile, easy-to-prepare, premium product."
National commercial lender Ascentium Capital LLC received the FinTech Breakthrough Award for Best Business Lending Platform. The awards' mission is to honor excellence and recognize the success of FinTech companies, technologies and products that disrupt and innovate the financial services industry.
This year's program attracted more than 3,000 nominations from more than 15 different countries. All nominations were evaluated by an independent panel of experts within the FinTech industry, including media, analysts, journalists and technology executives.
"We are excited to recognize Ascentium Capital as winners of the Best Business Lending Platform award, and we congratulate them on playing a leading role within the FinTech industry," said James Johnson, managing director, FinTech Breakthrough. "The judges were particularly impressed with the company's innovative and powerful suite of tools, such as the MyAscentium.com business portal for vendor clients and the streamlined financing process for SMBs. The Business Lending award category included nominations from the top financial services and technology companies, and we acknowledge and congratulate Ascentium Capital for breaking through to achieve this recognition."
Blue by Belly, a customer engagement platform for enterprise retailers, partnered with fuel discounts rewards company Drop Tank to bring combined customer engagement technology solutions to the fuel and convenience store space.
Drop Tank makes data readily available from all the leading fuel point-of-sale systems, while Blue's platform solution serves as the engagement and personalization engine, making that data actionable and driving marketing strategies to increase fuel demand and convenience store sales. The union of these technology solutions allows brands and retailers to not only deliver timely, personalized experiences to their customers, but also allows them to adapt to evolving technology and consumer demands quickly, according to the companies.
"We don't believe in custom solutions that inhibit the ability of our customers to evolve their marketing strategy," said Dan Gloede, CEO of Belly. "Custom solutions have trouble adapting to new consumer behavior, preferred engagement methods and changing business needs over time. We believe the path forward is being the best partner platform for marketing and IT as their initiatives evolve, and BLUE was purpose-built for this reason. David and his Drop Tank team have deep point-of-sale expertise and we believe our partnered solutions will disrupt consumer engagement solutions currently available to fuel, convenience store chains and CPGs."
Chef's Cut Real Jerky
Actress and entrepreneur Olivia Munn teamed with Chef's Cut to celebrate National Jerky Day at a steakhouse-inspired Gastro Station on June 12 in Los Angeles. Munn, who is an equity owner in the company, acted as "Master Jerky Sommelier" in a transformed Los Angeles gas station during the event, which featured unique cocktail and jerky pairings and unexpected surprises.
To kick off the partnership with Munn, Chef's Cut will turn a humble gas station into a five-star dining establishment to suit the steakhouse quality of Chef's Cut Real Jerky.
"Jerky has come a long way in recent years to become a premium, healthy snack," said Bart Silvestro, CEO of Chef's Cut Real Jerky. "We're excited for Olivia to join our team as Master Jerky Sommelier and to celebrate National Jerky Day."
To celebrate the release of Paramount Picture's "Transformers: The Last Knight," Tastykake revamped the packaging of limited editions of its Minis, Butterscotch Krimpets and Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes to honor individual characters and their unique sense of style.
Starting May 22 and running through July 10, fans can take the "Are You an Autobot or Decepticon?" quiz online at www.tastykaketransformersmovie.com to learn if they are an Autobot or Decepticon and for the chance to win Transformers-themed prizes, Tastykake snacks and more. One grand prize winner will receive a movie-inspired prize pack, and 70 weekly winners will receive other prizes, such as Tastykake snack cakes, movie tickets and Transformers branded items.
"Bringing together the iconic deliciousness of Tastykake and the entertaining excitement of the Transformers movie franchise is an exciting prospect for both brands," said Brent Bradshaw, Flowers Foods' vice president of cake marketing. "Aligning with the theatrical release of Transformers: The Last Knight is a perfect match to Tastykake's fun positioning and is sure to be a fan favorite."
In May, Gilbarco Veeder-Root announced that it has processed an estimated 350 million secure EMV transactions through March with its Passport point-of-sale (POS) EMV system, as fuel and c-stores across the U.S. continue to migrate to the new chip-enabled POS software.
"We launched EMV software for our Passport point-of-sale system almost a year ago. Consumers are starting to expect EMV payment acceptance and leading retailers like Champlain Oil Co. are listening and rapidly enabling EMV inside the store," said Mark Williams, Gilbarco's vice president of marketing for North America. "Given growing consumer expectations around EMV, we expect to see EMV 'turn on' at the fuel dispenser rapidly as well when the software is available later this year. Retailers are anxious to retain their security-conscious customers, who understand that fraud will be highest at those sites that haven't yet upgraded."
The company also announced that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bnei Brak, Israel-based Orpak Systems Limited, which delivers extensive technology solutions to oil companies and commercial fleets.
The acquisition signals Gilbarco's commitment to expanding its presence in high growth markets and to leveraging Orpak's technologies relative to automating station and fleet management systems, the company said.
The Hershey Co.
Just in time for National Dairy Month (June), Hershey launched its first national campaign highlighting the simple and delicious ingredients in Hershey's Milk Chocolate. It promotes the use of farm fresh milk delivered daily to the factory in Hershey, Pa., from farms within 100 miles, which has been done since the product was first sold in 1900.
Campaign elements include:
- A new on-pack call-out seal noting Hershey's Milk Chocolate is "Made with Farm Fresh Milk";
- Influencer partnerships with millennial mom bloggers and Tastemaker Katie Quinn;
- Television advertising launching in fiscal year 2018;
- Online video content, including six employee Q&A videos that address common misconceptions about Hershey's Milk Chocolate;
- Digital banners and social posts; and
- In-store point of sale materials.
Hershey's Milk Chocolate was one of the first products from the company's chocolate portfolio to transition to simpler ingredients, a commitment announced in 2015.
In its first integrated brand campaign, Lorissa's Kitchen invites consumers to "Snack more, make snacks less." The brand philosophy holds that nourishing your best self should never come at a cost of living a plentiful life, and the campaign showcases a perfect no-compromise option when it comes to snack prep: simple, grab-and-go, wholesame snacking, the company stated.
"As a mom, I'm always on-the-go and I struggled to find a protein snack that fit my healthy lifestyle. This struggle inspired me to create Lorissa's Kitchen. We have a mindful approach to the food we make, only using responsibly raised proteins and ingredients that you could find in your own kitchen," said founder Lorissa Link. "I'm excited to continue introducing people to our product and my personal passion to make food you and your family can feel good about."
Players of massively multiplayer online game "Final Fantasy IV: Stormblood" expansion can experience the virtual world in a different way through a partnership with Mrs. Freshley's. Imagery printed on Mrs. Freshley's packages will unlock exclusive gameplay powers and let consumers participate in a year-long sweepstakes that runs from June 15 through May 15, 2018.
During the sweepstakes period, single-serve Chocolate Cupcakes, Grand Iced Honey Buns, and Original Jumbo Honey Buns will feature "Final Fantasy IV: Stormblood" graphics with unique markers that activate an interactive, augmented reality display using the Blippar smartphone app. Fans will be able to register and unlock a game code that generates a virtual quintet of power-packed honey buns that can be used in play. Users can scan up to 3 packages a day, with a total of 10 redemptions over the course of the promotion.
Blipping the package also automatically enters users into the sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to San Diego to attend the nation's premier comic convention July 18-22, 2018.
STRATACACHE, a provider of scalable, high-performance digital signage and retail marketing technologies, acquired the LIFT Network, an interactive digital upsell platform, from Verifone.
LIFT technology enables a seamless upsell opportunity at the point of sale with measureable ROI, the company said. It links basket information, shopper behavior, and cashier performance to deliver tested "plus one" sales. A touchscreen at checkout displays relevant offers based on real-time transaction data, allowing c-store retailers to sell additional items to every shopper, personalize the customer experience with redeemable promotions, drive brand activation, and maximize cashier performance.
"The LIFT Network provides an outstanding opportunity to further evolve the digital shopper marketing experience in store," said STRATACACHE CEO Chris Riegel. "This targeted upsell platform allows us to further grow our reach into the consumer's path to purchase while positively impacting sales and gathering key customer insights at retail. With this acquisition from Verifone and the enhancements provided by our artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and mobile analytics capabilities, STRATACACHE can take this network to the next level."
Following the completion of its $900-million acquisition of DTN from Schneider Electric SE, TBG plans to fully reinstate the DTN brand and focus on growing the business in both the domestic and international markets. The Schneider Electric weather, refined fuels, trading and agriculture businesses were previously known as DTN before Telvent acquired the company in 2009 followed by Schneider Electric in 2012.
DTN is an independent source of insight and analysis, and decision-support solutions to more than 80,000 subscribers worldwide in agriculture, oil and gas, trading and weather-sensitive industries. Through DTN's suite of products, customers receive actionable market information, weather, news and analysis via a software as a service (SaaS) platform, the company said.
Vollrath Co. LLC
Vollrath acquired Saco, Maine-based Belleco Inc., a premier manufacturer of American-made conveyor toasters and ovens.
For the immediate future, Belleco products will retain its name and manufacturing process, while sales and service will operate out of the Saco facility. Before the end of 2017, all operations will transition to Wisconsin, leveraging Vollrath's sales, service and manufacturing capabilities. At the completion of that transition, the products will be sold under the Vollrath brand.
"Well designed and market proven, Belleco's products live up to the standards of the industry's most demanding commercial and noncommercial foodservice operations," said Paul Bartelt, president and CEO of Vollrath Co. "Expanding our offering of countertop cooking, warming and preparation equipment is of strategic importance to us. The addition of a USA-made, premium quality line of conveyor toasters and ovens enhances our existing portfolio and provides our foodservice channel partners and customers with more choices from a single source of equipment and smallwares."