Supplier Spotlights: Capital Candy Co., Frito-Lay North America & Old Trapper

Other companies making news include Haribo of America, Hershey, Mashgin, National Retail Solutions, PDI Technologies, Pepperidge Farm and PepsiCo.
Amanda Koprowski
Associate Editor
Amanda Koprowski profile picture

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:

Capital Candy Co.

Family-owned distributor and wholesaler Capital Candy Co. entered into a distribution agreement with SurgePays Inc., a technology and telecommunications company focused on the underbanked and underserved.

With the agreement, SurgePays has the opportunity to provide Capital Candy's 3,000 New England-based convenience store and bodega customers with its full suite of prepaid telecom and fintech products, including affordable connectivity program (ACP) applications.

"This agreement is a great opportunity for SurgePays to expand our footprint into an area of the country with few stores transacting on the SurgePays network," said Jeremy Gies, president of SurgePays Fintech. "With our capability to enroll new ACP customers at the store counter, we are especially looking forward to the revenue potential both companies can benefit from this collaboration. Capital Candy's sales team can now offer more products and services, like prepaid and gift card programs, to its stores. SurgePays can more quickly expand and ramp up our revenue by utilizing existing distributors' networks."

Founded in 1938 by George and Marion Burnes in Montpelier, Vt., Capital Candy has been serving the New England region for four generations. 

Ruffles Basketball All Stars

Frito-Lay North America

Two of Frito-Lay North America's chip brands launched new campaigns in conjunction with major sports and cultural events in February and March.

First, as part of its role as the official chip of the NBA and WNBA, Ruffles debuted a new TV commercial starring NBA legend Charles Barkley. It also unveiled the hoops icon as its honorary "Chip Deal Athlete" — joining current Chip Deal Athletes LeBron James, Jayson Tatum and A'ja Wilson.

To commemorate his honorary Chip Deal, Barkley requested Ruffles create a one-time only release of his favorite culinary flavor: hot dogs. The hot dog-flavored chips dropped in highly limited quantities during the NBA All-Star Weekend on Feb. 17-19, coinciding with the release of the new ad.

"The launch of our new commercial — Charles's Chip Deal — and our hot dog-flavored Ruffles were all designed with the goal of bringing hoops culture to our fans in an innovative way," said Stacy Taffet, senior vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. "Ruffles is all about celebrating everyone's individual style and flavor, and that's exactly what we're doing through this campaign."

The commercial depicts Barkley selecting a Ruffles flavor at a vending machine as James, Tatum and Wilson each come to life on their own Ruffles chip bags and "full-court press" him to choose their respective flavor.

Doritos After Dark at SXSW

On March 16, for a single night, Doritos teamed up with Billboard to launch its ghost kitchen menu, Doritos After Dark, at SXSW 2023 in Austin, Texas.

Set in a high-energy, triangle-inspired space, Doritos After Dark allowed attendees to sample the brand's previously unveiled menu items, such as Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Chicken Bites, as well as exclusive dishes inspired by the Austin food scene, including Doritos BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos and Doritos Flamin' Hot Limon Margarita Cheesecake.

"Inspired by those exhilarating hours between sunset and sunrise, Doritos After Dark encourages fans to embrace unexpected late-night eats," Taffet said. "As a brand that has its finger on the pulse of pop culture, this collaboration was designed to showcase the food, music and technology that SXSW and Doritos are all about."

Ahead of the late-night experience, Doritos also sponsored Billboard Presents The Stage at SXSW at the Moody Amphitheatre at Waterloo Park.

Ghost Brand

Sports nutrition producer Ghost furthered its partnership with digital media platform FaZe Clan with the introduction of Faze Pop, a new flavor available in both the Ghost Gamer and Ghost Energy product lines.

"Faze Pop has been loading from the minute we first announced the partnership nearly a year ago," said Dan Lourenco, CEO and co-founder of Ghost. "Faze Pop is the first product collaboration in FaZe history that unifies the entire organization, incorporating feedback and ideas from the entire FaZe roster rather than a single creator or team member. We promised our collective communities fresh ideas and innovation and this is just the beginning."

Inspired by nostalgic popsicle flavors in classic raspberry and citrus notes, Faze Pop is available as a ready-to-drink or powdered supplement. Ghost Gamer delivers a combination of brain-boosting nootropics and natural energy to provide an afternoon pick-me-up, according to the company. Both it and Ghost Energy are vegan-friendly, soy-free, gluten-free and contain zero-sugars.

"In our partnership with Ghost, we've had a shared ambition of setting a new standard in the gaming category by creating an energy product that both of our communities will love," said Adam Bauer, FaZe Clan's senior vice president of partnerships. 

The brands held giveaways across their social media channels to celebrate the partnership, with fans getting the chance to win merchandise and product.

Haribo Gummi Bears


Gummi brand Haribo of America Inc. selected Colle McVoy as its shopper marketing agency of record. The agency and its specialty design practice, 10 Thousand Design, will concept and design retail display graphics for key seasonal moments, as well as support larger promotional initiatives in retail stores across the United States.

Creative is expected to break in early 2024. 

"The Haribo brand is beloved, and we were thrilled to find a partner in Colle McVoy that not only aligns with our core values but fully embraces our unique mission," said Seth Klugherz, vice president of marketing at Haribo. "They demonstrated strategic thought leadership and the capabilities that will be crucial to the development of our brand growth."

The agency's retail design expertise includes work for Target, U.S. Bank, Anytime Fitness, Regis and Houston White. Haribo is the latest blue-chip brand to join Colle McVoy's client roster, which includes other notable brands such as Goodyear, Perdue, Whirlpool and Northern Tool + Equipment.

"No matter your age, everyone loves the signature feeling of childlike happiness that Haribo delivers," said Jessica Henrichs, president of Colle McVoy. "We can't wait to bring the happy world of Haribo to life through best-in-class, in-store experiences."

Hershey's SHE Bars

The Hershey Co.

In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, The Hershey Co. brought back its limited-edition Hershey's SHE bars for a third year. 

The Hershey's SHE bars are intended to serve as a reminder to take a moment and shine a light on the women and girls who inspire the world every day. This year, the Hershey's brand and its nonprofit partner Girls on the Run also partnered to curate the more than 200 adjectives that are featured on the SHE bar wrappers by asking Girls on the Run coaches and participants to describe an impactful woman in their lives. 

"We are excited to reintroduce the Hershey's SHE bars in new, meaningful ways as part of Hershey's larger commitment to supporting women and girls this Women's History Month and every month. We hope to spark meaningful, heartwarming connections through the simple gesture of giving a SHE bar to someone who has played an important role in your life," said Katie DeCapria, brand manager at Hershey's.

In addition to the collaboration on the new Hershey's SHE bar, Hershey's is growing its partnership with Girls on the Run through several initiatives, including sponsoring a day of one-on-one mentorship opportunities between Girls on the Run participants and Hershey Co. leaders at its first-ever Future CEO event. Hershey's will also donate to Girls on the Run to provide more women and girls with access to influential programs at a local and national level. 

The Hershey's SHE bars launch is only one way Hershey's is supporting girls and women. In addition to being one of the few Fortune 500 companies led by a woman, Hershey's achieved one-to-one aggregate gender pay equity for salaried employees in the U.S. in 2020 and is working to meet the same goal globally by 2025. In 2021, Forbes gave the company top place in its list of "World's Top Female Friendly Companies."

A Mashgin Self-Checkout kiosk


Self-checkout system Mashgin has integrated with Shift4, a producer of integrated payments and commerce technology. 

The partnership will enable retailers who use Mashgin to equip their points-of-sale (POS) with Shift4 payment processing, as well as allow stadiums and other businesses who use Shift4 to reduce checkout lines with Mashgin checkout kiosks.

"We're thrilled to partner with Mashgin to deliver a better payment solution for users of their innovative technology," said Anthony Perez, Shift4's senior vice president of new verticals. "Together, we can transform the checkout experience at sports and entertainment venues as well as other retail locations."

Mashgin kiosks are already deployed at more than 2,300 locations in the U.S., including convenience stores, major league sports stadiums, airports, corporate cafeterias, ski resorts and entertainment venues. Equipped with multiple cameras, the kiosks identify food and goods and ring them up simultaneously without the need to scan barcodes. Customers place their items on the kiosk tray, then item costs are calculated for payment. According to the company, transactions on a Mashgin typically result in shorter lines, more sales and happier customers. 

Shift4's end-to-end payment ecosystem powers commerce for more than 200,000 merchant locations worldwide. The company's integrated solution includes everything a business needs to process payments, including point-to-point encrypted EMV devices, secure payment platform, POS/PMS software integrations, and mobile and contactless technology.

National Retail Solutions

In response to the rising need for independent retailers to better serve their customers online, POS network operator National Retail Solutions (NRS) launched three new features for both existing and new customers: Find My Biz, Manage My Reviews and the NRS Loyalty Program.

The services are intended to empower independent brick-and-mortar retailers with new resources to facilitate increased store visibility and on-demand delivery services. NRS saw the need for these new services made clear during the COVID pandemic when local bodegas and independent stores struggled to stay afloat as shoppers flocked to online retailers, according to the company. 

"We keep a close eye on the retail industry and are constantly working to identify the needs of our retailer customers and provide solutions. NRS strives to present the most innovative technologies to help our retailers thrive and survive during these changing times," said Elie Y. Katz, NRS founder and CEO.

Find My Biz provides retailers with a single, aggregated platform to input all their business information and have that information appear in searches across the web. Through the NRS Find My Biz portal, clients can also gather data on how their online listings are performing, post to social media platforms, respond to reviews and utilize many other valuable features. 

The Manage My Reviews add-on service evolved naturally from Find My Biz. Business owners with Find My Biz can leverage a team of specialized individuals to respond to reviews on their behalf, ensuring reviews help grow a business instead of hindering it. 

Finally, the NRS Loyalty Program offers retailers the ability to build and maintain their own loyalty programs for customers through the NRS POS machines. Examples of customized, automated programs include award points given for each purchase, buy-one, get-one offers and other innovative substitutions for the traditional loyalty punch card.

These new features join NRS's latest in-store solution, the POS Panic Alarm, a patented safety and security technology to help bodegas deal with in-store crime.

Old Trapper Logo

Old Trapper

Beef jerky manufacturer Old Trapper continued its partnerships with various sports leagues into 2023, including a major presence at the 2023 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament and coming on board as an official of the 2023 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's and Women's Basketball Championship, 

One of the premier annual collegiate sporting events across the country, the Pac-12 men's tournament featured 11 games across four days in Las Vegas from March 8-11. 

Held concurrently with the Pac-12, the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's and Women's Basketball Championship took place at the T-Mobile Center and Municipal Auditorium, respectively, in downtown Kansas City, Mo. 

At both events, Old Trapper had an on-site activation at the fan engagement area, including a competitive Pop-a-Shot game and on-site photo booth in Kansas City. The brand also ensured a high amount of media visibility across the Pac-12 Networks' linear, digital and social channels. 

"We are proud to be an official sponsor of this year's Big 12 men's and women's basketball championships for the first time," said Robert Leary, chief marketing officer of Old Trapper. "We've enjoyed cheering the teams on throughout the season, and we are looking forward to the exciting championships as the athletes battle it out on the court for this year's title."

Blue Cow Software new logo

PDI Technologies

Convenience store and wholesale software solutions provider PDI Technologies has acquired Blue Cow Software, a fuel oil and propane management software business. 

With this acquisition, Blue Cow Software will divest from Repay Holdings Corp., a provider of vertically integrated payment solutions.

Based in Middleton, Mass., Blue Cow Software has approximately 375 customers across North America. The capabilities it offers include fuel and service ordering, delivery route optimization, wireless communication with field teams and fuel oil and propane-specific analytics, along with customer relationship management and accounting.

"The Blue Cow Software team has built a proven solution that aligns with the overall growth strategy at PDI as we continue our work of connecting convenience retail and petroleum wholesale across the globe," said Sid Gaitonde, president of enterprise productivity at PDI. "PDI will accelerate the continued growth of Blue Cow through ongoing investment in its technologies and innovations."

With the acquisition, PDI will continue to serve current Blue Cow Software customers, as well as offering Blue Cow Software solutions to both existing and future PDI home heat customers.

"We are excited at what joining PDI can offer our team members and our customers," said Nick Quaratiello, senior vice president at Blue Cow Software. "We've always focused on creating powerful yet practical tools for heating oil and propane dealers, and we look forward to expanding our innovations with PDI and its long-term investment."

Berenson & Co. and Barclays served as financial advisors to PDI and Repay, respectively, in connection with the transaction.

Screenshot of Goldfish Boban Hand Commercial

Pepperidge Farm Inc.

Having grown its adult customer base over the past few years, Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish crackers expanded its partnership with NBA player Boban Marjanović and introduced the exclusive Boban Hand dish on March 1.

Goldfish has evolved from being known as just a snack for kids to broadening appeal to young and adult consumers alike, according to the company. According to IRI Data, adults consume 40 percent of all Goldfish. 

Now, as the brand continues to reinforce its role as an appropriate snack for adults and knowing that Goldfish buyers are more likely to over-index as NBA fans, the snack dropped the latest iteration of its "Go For The Handful" integrated, multichannel campaign during the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 19. The ad introduced the first-ever, limited edition Goldfish x Boban Hand Dish — a 10.75-inch exact replica of Marjanović's hand, so fans can eat a full, ball player-sized handful of tiny fish-shaped crackers (301 crackers to be exact). 

Goldfish previously worked with Marjanović and fellow player Tobias Harris to kick off the "Go For the Handful" challenge in 2021. Since then, the two partnered in 2022 to release the "Tiny Hands" advertisement continuation, playing with the insight that fans were eating Goldfish Mega Bites, the large-sized version of the classic cracker, one at a time.


Lay's launched its "No Lay's, No Game" campaign featuring Champions League winner and FIFA World Cup 2022 Champion Lionel Messi with the release of a new commercial and limited-edition Lay's chips packaging featuring football greats.

Meant to celebrate and coincide with the 2023 season of the UEFA Champions League, the bags are meant to showcase the dynamic energy that athletes bring to the game. They will be available in the United States, South Africa, Poland and other nations throughout the entire League tournament through June 2023.

The "Messi Visits" TV commercial stars Messi as an unexpected guest at a UEFA Champions League party where he shows up unannounced. However, the celebration turns to distress when the football star asks, "Where are the Lay's?" 

"If you are well prepared, you have more chances to play your best. The same goes for all fans who love watching football, gathering their friends and sharing Lay's. This is what the new Lay's commercial is conveying with a little humor. Matchday is never complete without Lay's! No Lay's, No Game," said Messi.

PepsiCo Vice President of Marketing, Global Food Brands, Ciara Dilley added, "It's unthinkable to watch football without Lay's, and it's unthinkable to leave Messi out of the 'greatest of all time' conversation. That's why Lionel was the perfect partner for the "No Lay's, No Game" platform and why Lay's has been teammates with him for many years."

The "No Lay's, No Game" platform honors nearly a decade of partnership between the chip brand and the UEFA Champions League. The campaign launched on Feb. 21 with a short film titled "Thierry Visits" featuring fellow footballer Thierry Henry. Henry and Messi were teammates in the 2009 FC Barcelona team that was crowned UEFA Champions League winners.

About the Author

Amanda Koprowski
Amanda Koprowski is the associate editor at Convenience Store News. She is a new member of the team, having joined the company in December of 2022. Read More