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:
Bud Light became the first beer in the United States to offer a comprehensive on-pack facts and ingredient label with the unveiling of a new, secondary packaging design that hits store shelves in February. Along with listing ingredients, the packaging also includes serving size, calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates, sugars and protein.
"While ingredient labels are not required, consumers deserve to know more about their beer. We brew Bud Light with the finest ingredients and we're happy to proudly display them on our packaging," said Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing, Bud Light. "When people walk through a store, they are used to seeing ingredient labels on products in every aisle, except for the beer, wine and spirits aisle. As the lead brand in the category, we believe increasing on-pack transparency will benefit the entire beer category and provide our consumers with the information they expect to see."
The goal is to elevate the beer category with this move toward more transparency, according to brewer Anheuser-Busch.
Blimpie is hitting the road and kicking off a year of adventure-themed promotions with its Great American Sub Tour, during which the brand will virtually tour the U.S. and highlight its twist on popular regional flavors all year long. First first stop on the tour is the West Coast in the form of the California Club, which features turkey, bacon, cheddar, guacamole and garlic chipotle mayo, and the Chicken Spinach Wrap, which features chicken, cheddar, onion, roasted red peppers and garlic cream cheese spread.
Both will be available from Jan. 7 to April 7.
"We are so excited to begin the Great American Sub Tour and give our customers tasty sandwiches from across the nation, Blimpie style of course," said Andrea Price, director of marketing for Kahala Brands, parent company of Blimpie. "All year long, our customers can win prizes and enjoy mouthwatering subs that truly capture all that is delicious about our great country!"
Blimpie will also celebrate the Great American Sub Tour by giving customers chances to win gift cards and prizes. Customers can enter online at blimpie.com/sweepstakes to win quarterly prizes and a grand prize trip for four to their choice of Great American Sub Tour destination.
The Coca-Cola Co.
The Coca-Cola Co. completed its acquisition of Costa Limited from Whitbread PLC for $4.9 billion. The deal, which was announced Aug. 31, 2018, follows approval from regulatory authorities in the European Union and China.
"We see great opportunities for value creation through the combination of Costa's capabilities and Coca-Cola's marketing expertise and global reach," said James Quincey, CEO of The Coca-Cola Co. "Our vision is to use the strong Costa platform to expand our portfolio in the growing coffee category."
Costa has operations in more than 30 countries and gives Coca-Cola a significant footprint in the global coffee business. It has a scalable platform across multiple formats and channels, from the existing Costa Express vending system to opportunities to introduce ready-to-drink products.
"We wish our friends and colleagues at Costa all the very best for their future success," said Whitbread CEO Alison Brittain. "Whitbread acquired Costa 23 years ago, when it had only 39 shops. Costa has grown to become a leading, international coffee brand, and Coca-Cola is the right partner to take Costa to the next stage of expansion."
Heineken is strengthening its longstanding support of soccer by maintaining its partnership with the UEFA Champions League and Major League Soccer, ensuring soccer fans stay engaged and refreshed throughout the 2019 season.
Starting March 1, the company's fully integrated retail and on-premise "We Are Soccer. We Are Heineken" program will encourage fans to choose Heineken for their soccer viewing occasions and game day celebrations.
"For Heineken, soccer isn't just a game," said Raul Esquer Lopez, Heineken Brand Director. "It's not just a sport you gather with friends to watch. It's not just a reason to cheer for your favorite club. No matter who you support, no matter whose flag you fly, everyone should be able to agree that on match day, the only way to celebrate is with Heineken."
The program taps into various digital platforms to maximize awareness, engage consumers and drive them to retail outlets. Social media channels on Twitter and Facebook will drive consumers to the Heineken Soccer website for gameday content and prizing, and cross-merchandising partnerships with Pringles and Cheese-It will enable out-of-section displays where impulse purchase will lead to higher basket rings.
Peeps celebrated the new year with the sweetest drop in the U.S. The giant, illuminated Peeps chick was dropped to ring in 2019 in Just Born's headquarters hometown of Bethlehem, Pa.
The Peeps drop is the highlight of Peepsfest, a two-day, family friendly festival that celebrates the fun and excitement of the Peeps brand at the iconic SteelStacks. Weighing in at 400 pounds and standing tall at four feet nine inches, the Peeps chick descended for the countdown to the new year on Dec. 31 at 5:15 p.m.
Peepsfest also featured the launch of Peeps Helping Peeps, a nationwide sweepstakes during which the Peeps brand opens its factor doors to consumers while giving back through a partnership with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. To enter, fans are encouraged to donate $5 to UWGLV by visiting unitedwayglv.org/peeps or by texting "peepsunited" to 40403.
S&D Coffee & Tea
S&D Coffee & Tea is one of the primary suppliers behind McDonald's recently announced commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of its coffee worldwide by 2020, with some markets having already reached that goal. McDonald's currently sustainably sources 84 percent of its McCafé coffee for U.S. restaurants (and 54 percent worldwide) as part of its efforts to protect coffee from the adverse effects of climate change.
Through its sourcing platform, Raíz Sustainability, S&D is helping to pave a path toward a more sustainable coffee supply chain and higher quality of life for coffee growers.
"We are very proud to be a trusted source and partner for McDonald's as it vows to serve only sustainably sourced coffee by 2020," said Olga L. Cuellar-Gomez, head of S&D sustainability efforts. "We believe in the commitment McDonald's has made and the positive impact that their commitment is having on our entire industry from farm to cup."
As a part of McDonald's milestone announcement, Cuellar-Gomez and Colombian farmer Arley de Jesus Montoya Solis, one of the producers in the Raíz platform, took part in the McCafé Sustainable Coffee Journey event in Chicago on Nov. 29, 2018. The one-day experience allowed Chicagoans to explore a South American coffee farm, including interactions with coffee farmers, enjoying complimentary McCafé beverages as they explored installations depicting the impacts of climate change on coffee trees, farmers and their communities, and learned about the steps McDonald's and its partners are taking to help ensure a sustainable future for coffee and the health of the planet .