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:
Adande Refrigeration announced it has sustained significant growth in sales of its patented refrigerated drawers across North America. The increased demand has been particularly strong in the food-to-go and convenience sectors, especially from forecourt operators.
The company's success stems from the changing face of gas station and convenience store food retailing and the unique design and ergonomic benefit of the company's range of refrigeration equipment, according to Karl Hodgson, global sales director at Adande.
"Long gone are the days when gas stations provided only a modest offering of chips, candies and soft drinks. Today, forward thinking operators are geared up for a broad menu of made to order and freshly prepared hot and chilled food to go," Hodgson said. "While speed of service is still the driving factor, customers are increasingly demanding superior quality food and innovative meal solutions. Many operators now regard their outlets as quick service restaurants that sell fuel, rather than gas stations that offer food. With the advent of electric vehicles and the associated longer charging cycles, drivers will spend more time at gas stations, creating greater opportunities for sales of meals."
Adande's retail partners include GetGo Café+Market, which has Adande refrigerators in place at 15-plus sites with plans to include them in all new outlers.
"The large capacity of the Adande, relative to footprint, means that less refrigeration equipment is required in the kitchen," said Tom Seaman, product development chef at GetGo. "By using Adande fridges, we save four linear feet of space in each kitchen. The ability to position the unit close to the workstations means that there is quick and easy access for food preparation, cooking and service, eliminating the need for operators to fetch product from remote refrigerators. This increases kitchen efficiency and speeds up service, especially during busy trading periods."
AVERY DENNISON Corp.
Avery Dennison announced two new investments to accelerate its digital transformation capabilities for connected supply chains and connected products: the acquisition of automation solution provider ZippyYum and the launch of atma.io, a new digital venture, and its connected product cloud that is capable of creating, assigning and managing unique digital identities for everyday items.
ZippyYum is a California-based startup that develops and sells software and hardware solutions for operational automation and inventory management for food retailers. It will become part of Avery Dennison's Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) segment. The acquisition will drive growth of the broader RFID Intelligent Labels platform through operational automation and transparency across the supply chain as the food industry continues to adopt intelligent label technology, the company said.
In addition to the ZippyYum acquisition, atma.io will enable Avery Dennison to bridge the physical and digital world by coupling its 50-plus billion inlays and other labeling technologies with the power of data. Unlocking use cases for consumer engagement, sustainability, brand protection and operational excellence, atma.io links different digital trigger technologies — such as UHF RFID, NFC or QR codes — to one unique digital ID, enabling supply chain visibility of item-level events and transforming product data into insights, connected in one end-to-end cloud-based platform.
The New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) partnered with Compliance Safe, a document management solution that makes it easy to monitor, track and protect business-critical documents. Active NYACS members receive a 20 percent discount on Compliance Safe services.
"For our members, ensuring timely renewal of licenses is essential to avoiding business disruption and loss of revenue," said NYACS President Jim Calvin. "The risk is real. There are retailers in New York right now that are out of beer due to license renewal snafus. Compliance Safe is an effective, affordable tool for eliminating that risk."
Compliance Safe is a subsidiary of StrasGlobal, provider of contract operations for gas stations and convenience stores around the country.
"Compliance Safe is extremely proud to be partnering with NYACS to provide this essential tool for their members," said Compliance Safe CEO Eva Strasburger. "Rather than relying on paper copies or Excel spreadsheets that can go missing or be forgotten, Compliance Safe securely stores documents in the cloud and issues automated email notifications for upcoming renewals so you never miss a deadline."
DEL MONTE FRESH PRODUCE
Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc. partnered with Apeel, a company fighting the global food waste crisis with a sustainable approach to keeping produce fresh longer, to offer customers longer-lasting avocados.
Apeel's innovation will allow them to stay fresher two times longer, helping to reduce food waste. With an infrastructure already in place to help support growth in the category, Fresh Del Monte's new and existing customers will now be able to partner with the brand on their Apeel application, the company said.
Derived from plants, Apeel's edible coating doubles the shelf life of fresh produce by slowing the rate of water loss and oxidation, the main factors that lead to spoilage. Made of materials found in the peels, seeds, and pulp of fruits and vegetables, Apeel's coating helps maintain just-harvested quality, flavor and freshness longer than produce without Apeel. The plant-based, end-to-end solution will allow a two-times longer shelf life for avocados.
"As one of the top three suppliers of avocados in the U.S., we are excited to offer our customers the option to work with Apeel," said Kirk Marquardt, vice president, avocado sales. "At Fresh Del Monte, sustainability is a top priority and we know that Apeel's sustainable approach to reducing food waste will help to build a more resilient food system for the future. We are confident that our strong avocado program will continue to grow from this exciting partnership."
Herr's is commemorating its landmark 75th anniversary in business by releasing a limited-edition Homestyle kettle cooked potato chip and launching 75 days of celebrations to give back to the Philadelphia communities and fans who have supported Herr's through the years.
The third-generation family-owned snack company also donated $25,000 to the Salvation Army's food assistance program, providing meals to over 6,000 families in Philadelphia as part of its anniversary celebration.
Additionally, from April 11-14, Herr's is launching the #ChipInChallenge campaign to help the Philadelphia community and small businesses who struggled during this past year. To jump-start the "chip it forward" movement, Herr's will surprise and delight consumers across Philadelphia neighborhoods by buying their lunch, including a bag of chips, and encourage them to join the #ChipInChallenge by paying it forward to a fellow Philadelphian.
To help build momentum for this random act of kindness, those who take the challenge are encouraged to share on social media with #ChipInChallenge.
"It takes all of us to come together during these difficult times to help each other. Hard times like these are when Philadelphia shows its best self and sometimes a small act can go a long way to help our neighborhoods and small businesses stay afloat," said Ed Herr, chairman and CEO. "We want to continue helping the city and our consumers that have supported us for 75 years. With this in mind, we are contributing to the Salvation Army to help them provide food assistance for thousands of families, as well as starting the #ChipinChallenge, an initiative to chip in a little for someone else at your favorite stores across Philadelphia."
THE HERSHEY CO.
The Hershey Co. announced that the 2021 Cadbury "Bunny" is Betty the Australian White's Treefrog from Stuart, Fla. Betty is the winner of the brand's third-annual Cadbury Bunny Tryouts and will be the new star of the iconic Cadbury Clucking Bunny commercial, set to air on TV nationwide this spring.
Born less than one year ago, this is Betty's first Easter. She enjoys snacking, bathing in her favorite bowl, jumping around and hanging out with her fellow frog friends. In addition to serving as the contest's smallest winner to date, Betty is also the first amphibian and first female winner.
"Betty's been a great addition to our home and we are so glad we get to share her with the rest of the world!" said Kaitlyn V., Betty's owner. "She has been a wonderful companion at college and thanks to the support of my friends, family and the amphibian community, I know she'll make Cadbury proud as she inherits the bunny ears."
A record 12,000-plus entries were received in this year's Tryouts. The top 10 finalists were the most diverse ever and included a frog, donkey, miniature horse and goat. For the second year in a row, the winner selected by the judges was also chosen by America.
"Thank you to all of our amazing finalists in the Cadbury Bunny Tryouts this year and congratulations to Betty the frog, our newest Cadbury Bunny! We are so excited to pass the coveted ears to her and know that she is going make a great addition to our Cadbury Bunny 'hall of fame,'" said Trevor Jakubek, senior associate brand manager, Cadbury brand team.
To honor animals nationwide, the Cadbury brand is also donating $15,000 to the The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The Mars Wrigley Foundation celebrated World Oral Health Day on March 20 by announcing $1.5 million in grant funding to provide oral care treatment and education for underserved communities around the world.
"As a purpose- and principles-driven business, we believe in the power of better moments that make the world smile," said Andrew Clarke, global president of Mars Wrigley. "We're thrilled with the Mars Wrigley Foundation's continued efforts to create happier, healthier smiles across the world by connecting partners and helping to care for the communities where we have the privilege to live and work."
As a 10-year partner in providing oral care to those with limited access, the Mars Wrigley Foundation will continue to support Save the Children with a $700K commitment. Since 2011, Save the Children and the Mars Wrigley Foundation have reached 2.4 million children, parents, teachers and oral health workers, and have delivered over 500,000 oral health services in six countries.
"In honor of World Oral Health Day, Save the Children thanks the Mars Wrigley Foundation for 10 years of partnership and support of our school health and nutrition programs around the world," said Save the Children Chief Development Officer Luciana Bonifacio. "We look forward to building on the work the Mars Wrigley Foundation has helped make possible. Together, we are working to achieve lasting local and global impact for the world's most vulnerable children, enabling them to stay in school and reach their full potential."
SnackFutures, Mondelēz International Inc.'s innovation and venture hub, has joined the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing food waste by growing the upcycled economy. This fits with SnackFutures making planet-first innovation a key pillar of its portfolio strategy with a mission is to create well-being snacks that are good for people, kind to the planet and deliciously fun, according to the company.
The first two brands developed and launched by SnackFutures are made from produce that would otherwise be wasted:
- CaPao rescues and reimagines parts of the cacaofruit that would otherwise go to waste and turns them into plant-based wondersnacks to fuel the well-being of people and the planet. Previously, the cacaofruit was thrown away once the cocoa beans were extracted from the fruit to create chocolate.
- Dirt Kitchen Snacks are snackably delicious veggies made from real, recognizable vegetables that come in both an Air Dried Veggies + Nuts mix, as well as Air Dried Veggie Crisps, made from produce that would normally become on-farm waste due to surplus, ripeness or bruising.
"There is nothing but upside to using upcycled ingredients," said Brigette Wolf, global head of SnackFutures, Mondelēz International. "By creating brands built on the promise of reducing food waste, we provide a growing generation of 'ethical consumers' a snackable way to act on their convictions, do right by the planet and build our relevance, reputation and revenue streams as a snack leader."
The hub also recently launched CoLab, a start-up engagement program for U.S.-based early-stage well-being snack brands. The program is designed to support, grow and potentially invest in brands in the well-being space.
OLD TRAPPER SMOKED PRODUCTS
Old Trapper Smoked Products announced that it achieved 35 percent year-over-year growth in 2020, outpacing category growth by 250 percent. The brand's strong growth indicates that its goal to show customers the high-quality product they are purchasing with its signature clear packaging is changing the beef jerky industry, the company said.
"The competition has followed the trend set by Old Trapper by increasing the product window area of their packages proving that they have to model us to keep pace," said Robert Leary, director of communications at Old Trapper. "We remain steadfast that seeing is believing — with jerky this good, we want to show it off with not only a product window, but with nearly 100 percent clear packaging. As is indicated by our growth, clearly customers appreciate seeing what they are getting."
Old Trapper's growth was due to broad upticks in all retail categories, specifically in specifically in continued strength in grocery and convenience store sales throughout the United States. With multiple new product introductions scheduled for 2021, the company expects to continue to lead the beef jerky industry.
PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division announced significant progress in the transformation of its Modesto, Calif., manufacturing site. The project is part of PepsiCo's broader sustainability strategy, which includes changes across its end-to-end value chain to build a more sustainable food system and reduce its environmental impact.
Since the first-of-its-kind project for PepsiCo and Frito-Lay was announced in October 2019, the 500,000-square-foot Modesto facility has further evolved into an industry-leading showcase for environmentally sustainable manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, the company said.
The implementation of zero-emission and near-zero-emission technologies over the past year has led to sustainable impact, reducing the Modesto site's fleet absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than half (53 percent), or 2,790 metric tons of absolute GHG emissions, as well as lowering fleet diesel usage by 78 percent. The site has also been able to convert to 100 percent renewable electricity for direct operations at the Modesto site through a combination of renewable electricity certificates and on-site generation.
"Frito-Lay and PepsiCo are dedicated to reducing our environmental impact, especially in the more than 200 communities where we operate," said Steve Hanson, senior director, fleet operations, engineering and sustainability for Frito-Lay. "We anticipate overall absolute GHG emissions will be reduced by 5,480 metric tons annually and diesel usage will be eliminated entirely from the Modesto fleet operations when fully implemented, the equivalent of removing nearly 13 million miles driven by passenger cars."
To date, the equipment and infrastructure in place at the site includes nearly 60 tractors, box trucks, yard trucks or forklifts powered by electric, lithium-ion technologies or natural gas with renewable attributes, with the remaining 15 electric tractors expected to deploy later this year. Infrastructure to support the project incorporates an adjacent natural gas station with renewable attributes, as well as solar carports, battery storage, truck charging systems and employee electric vehicle charging stations.
The $30.8M project is the result of a partnership with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which received a grant from California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.