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Supplier Spotlights: Circana, Liquid Barcodes & Old Trapper

D&H United, Del Monte Foods, Dole Foods, Mars Wrigley, PDI Technologies, PepsiCo and Tampico Beverages are among other companies also launching new initiatives and partnerships.

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.

[Read more: Supplier Spotlights: BDSA, BeatBox Beverages & The Coca-Cola Co.]

Here are the latest supplier spotlights:

Circana Logo


Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group, launched AlwaysOn Analytics, which is available through Circana's Unify+ software.

The new solution that allows clients to analyze real-time data through advanced algorithms for immediate, actionable insights. 

"In today's hypercompetitive business environment, the cost of waiting weeks or months for insights is simply too high," said Amy Marentic, president, global solutions, Circana. "AlwaysOn Analytics empowers our clients with actionable insights in near real time, delivering immediate value across our clients' entire organizations and enabling them to make more informed decisions that propel their businesses forward with unwavering confidence."

AlwaysOn Analytics includes six apps:

  1. Price Sensitivities, which is focused on pricing and promotion decisions;
  2. Price Opportunity, which is focused on identifying revenue growth opportunities;
  3. Price Monitoring, which is focused on monitoring price execution compliance across products and geographies;
  4. Incrementality Analysis, which provides an accurate and holistic view of shelf and space changes;
  5. Commercial Spend Optimization, which focuses on media, marketing and pricing investments; and
  6. Inflation Monitor, which allows businesses to evaluate their pricing strategies compared to competitors.
D&H United and Tankology logos

D&H United

D&H United, a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, acquired Tanknology Inc., a provider of environmental compliance testing, inspection services, corrosion prevention and fuel quality solutions.

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Tanknology performs more than 100,000 site visits per year and is partnered with more than 3,000 customers including fueling stations, vehicle rental providers, fleets, and healthcare system operators.  

The combined companies will have more than 1,150 team members, including 825 field technicians and 33 offices operating across the United States. The acquisition also marks D&H's entry into the Northeast, West Coast and Pacific Northwest markets, and expands its service footprint across the Mountain West, Midwest, Southeast and Southwest.

Tanknology represents the third acquisition for D&H since partnering with Wind Point in September of 2022 and the eighth acquisition since the company's founding in 2015. 

DLA Piper and Reed Smith served as legal counsel to D&H and KPMG provided transaction advisory services for the deal.

Two girls sitting back-to-back and drinking Joyba Bubble Tea

Del Monte Foods Inc.

Del Monte Foods Inc. brand Joyba Bubble Tea launched the "Real Tea, Real Talk" campaign in partnership with Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation and other influencers. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about mental health support for youth and equipping them with tools to support each other. 

[Read more: Consumers Crave Fruit Options for Snacking Occasions]

Research by Born This Way shows that while young people will often go to their friends first to discuss concerns like stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness, 50 percent believe their problems can burden those friends. When young people have proper training, however, both participants report a greater sense of wellbeing after connecting through these real conversations, according to the organization.

As part of the campaign, Born This Way is encouraging individuals to earn their Be There Certificate. The free online mental health course, created by in partnership with the foundation, provides young people with the knowledge and skills they need to safely support their peers, including how to recognize signs of a mental health struggle and how to start the conversation.

Joyba also donated $25,000 to Born This Way Foundations' Pride Fund with CenterLink to support LGBTQ+ youth mental health.

Dole's Bobby Banana and Pinellopy Pineapple mascots

Dole Food Co.

Dole Food Co. brought back its Bobby Banana and Pinellopy Pineapple mascots to help families jump back into the fall season and back-to-school routine.

The two are part of an eight-week campaign that will run through Sept. 15 and feature produce-rich recipe ideas, serving suggestions, expert information, digital downloads, character merchandise and in-store and at-home resources that could help ease the transition for parents and guardians as kids begin the new school year.

A set of seven collectible banana stickers and pineapple tags, featuring Bobby Banana and Pinellopy Pineapple, are available on tens of millions of pieces of freshly harvested Dole fruit and will welcome shoppers to the produce section of supermarkets across North America. The sticker set also includes a QR code that leads back to the campaign's promotional landing page offering kid-friendly recipes, back-to-school-themed gear from the Dole Shop, and digital downloads and printable activities.

Liquid Barcodes logo

Liquid Barcodes

Liquid Barcodes received an equity investment and capital infusion by Norwegian-based Viking Venture, an experienced firm in the business-to-business SaaS space. 

Liquid Barcodes plans to establish a hub U.S. headquarters office with a team of additional resources for sales, marketing and customer success positions. The company also plans to use the capital infusion from Viking to further increase product development resources to enhance loyalty and subscription solutions. 

Going forward, Joar Welde, partner at Viking Venture, will serve as Liquid Barcodes' chairman of the board, while Bob Stein, current chairman and a convenience store industry veteran, will continue to serve as a board member.

Liquid Barcodes provides loyalty and subscription programs to retailers around the globe, including 7-Eleven Inc., Circle K, Reitan Convenience, Sunshine Gasoline and United Pacific (dba Rocket).

Mars Wrigley

Mars Wrigley recently reached two major milestones in its general and ice cream operations.

First, Mars Ice Cream has set a bar to grow the business to $1 billion by 2030. With the company producing some of the best known brands in the U.S. in the novelty ice cream category  including Snicker's, M&M's and Twix frozen treats  Mars anticipates it will be in a good position to take advantage of the global ice cream market, which is projected to hit $104.96 billion by 2029 by Fortune Business Insights.

"At Mars, we see an opportunity to grow our ice cream business not only in North America, but around the globe," said Anton Vincent, president at Mars Wrigley North America and newly appointed head of Mars Ice Cream globally. "We're innovating with a focus on product and purpose, and expanding our global manufacturing capabilities to ensure we can meet rapidly rising consumer demand."

Mars Wrigley also just celebrated its 50th anniversary in Chattanooga, Tenn., where its plant is the sole maker of certain varieties of Life Savers and Altoids, producing more than 35,000 metric tonnes of mints across the brands.

The company completed a $4 million investment upgrade of the Chattanooga plant in March, positioning the site to play a key role in Mars' gum and mints business. It provides more than 400 jobs in the area and supports numerous local nonprofit organizations, including the Chattanooga Food Bank, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and the Salvation Army, among others.

"Everything we do at the Mars Chattanooga site is about our people and our associate well-being," said Jason Schierling, manager of the Chattanooga plant. "They have not only made a tremendous impact on our business but have supported each other and the community. I am so proud of our people, this community and Mars' positive impact on society here in Tennessee."

Big Twelve and Old Trapper logos

Old Trapper

Old Trapper entered into several partnerships with various sports leagues and outdoor events.

The company first continued its longstanding agreement with the Big 12 Conference as the official beef jerky of the Big 12. It will serve as presenting sponsor of Big 12 Football Media Days and Big 12 Basketball Media Days, as well as the Big 12 Football Studio Show on the Big 12 Now channel on ESPN+.

The sponsorship also provides Old Trapper with continued visibility across Big 12 championship events and additional engagement through official Big 12 social and digital channels. The brand will have exposure on the Longhorn Network and also within regular-season football coaches' shows across member institutions.

[Read more: 2023 Category Captain for Alternative Snacks: Old Trapper]

Old Trapper next became a founding partner and official beef jerky of SlamBall League: Series 6. Throughout the 2023 season, Old Trapper product, messaging and signage will be incorporated on broadcast, digital and social media platforms of SlamBall on ESPN.

As a founding partner, Old Trapper will also be highlighted on TV visible signs during the 96 games at Cox Pavilion and be featured on the starting lineups of each game. Additionally, Old Trapper signage, product placement and logo will be highlighted both during live events and online. 

Old Trapper rounded out July by becoming the exclusive beef jerky sponsor of North American Whitetail TV (NAW), which will incorporate the company's messaging and signage into the set of every Big Buck Profile segment. 

Celebrating its 20th year, NAW is one of the longest-running shows on outdoor television. Programming is focused entirely on the pursuit of America's big game species. 

Throughout the 2023-24 programming, Old Trapper beef jerky will be used and identified in North American Whitetail hunt segments, Dr. Deer segments and Build Your Own Deer Factory segments. NAW will also incorporate Old Trapper promotional efforts into digital and print delivery. Old Trapper will also host a special sweepstake opportunity that will run through the end of the year and be promoted both at the end of each episode and through NAW digital channels. 

PDI Technologies

Vehicle Payment Solutions provider Car IQ Inc. entered into an agreement with PDI Technologies to utilize the latter's mobile payment technology to process cardless payments via the mPAY application. 

Car IQ Pay acceptance in the PDI network gives fleets the ability to transact at thousands of merchant locations to purchase fuel and other items at convenience stores, while also providing them a greater number of choices when it comes to fueling their vehicles and making c-store purchases, the companies stated.

The partnership will also give drivers access to preferred merchant locations across the country who are already integrated into PDI, in addition to allowing PDI to repurpose the Car IQ Pay proprietary payment network into its existing portfolio of merchants.

"Expanding into the Car IQ network is a strategic benefit for our c-store and fuel customers," said Mike Melson, senior vice president and general manager, payments and loyalty at PDI. "The ability to simplify the payment process for purchases gives retailers direct access to commercial drivers. Retailers can identify and communicate with fleets via targeted offers based on vehicle data and driver behavior."

Bulls and Blackhawks mascots stand in front of a Pepsi truck

PepsiCo Inc.

PepsiCo entered into a multiyear partnership with the United Center, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks. As the official soft drink provider, PepsiCo will deliver a variety of beverages  including Pepsi Zero Sugar and STARRY  to sports fans at all concessions and beverage stands throughout the Chicago arena, as well as the newly designed Pepsi Grab & Go store in the United Center Atrium.  

Beyond these new beverage offerings, Pepsi and STARRY will offer one-of-a-kind experiences to guests all year long. Beginning with the Bulls Fest in August, fans have had a chance to win beverages, game tickets, pre-game access and exclusive appearances. Later this year, shoppers at local retail stores can enter for a chance to win concert tickets, game tickets and gear from their favorite teams. 

[Read more: PepsiCo Selects 10 Hispanic-Owned Startups for Business Mentoring Program]

PepsiCo also plans to partner with both the two teams to advance racial equality with local community organizations. The company will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation's new job exposure pilot program, which aims to increase awareness of career fields and job opportunities among young people through a partnership with West Side after school and school organizations. PepsiCo will also provide funding and development resources to minority-led nonprofits, advancing Chicago Bulls' existing partnership with AMPT: Advancing Nonprofits, which supports long-term development of Black and Latin-led nonprofits on Chicago's West and South sides. 

Tampico Hard Punches on a beach

Tampico Beverages Inc.

Tampico Beverages Inc. and Coop Beverage Works, the wholly owned subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based craft brewery Coop Ale Works, launched the Tampico Hard Punch Fiesta of Flavor Sweepstakes. The luxurious beach giveaway will grant two lucky winners the grand prize of a trip for two to a tropical destination.

The sweepstakes will run until Sept. 29 at 11:59 p.m. EST, and individuals can enter to win at the sweepstakes website. Once the giveaway is closed, two winners will be selected to enjoy their very own beach getaways, inspired by two newly released Tampico flavors: Citrus and Island. 

The citrus grand prize winner will enjoy a four-night stay at the Savoy Hotel and Beach Club in Miami, while the island grand prize winner will receive a four-night stay at San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel in Puerto Rico. Additionally, each prize includes one travel voucher for two people to their winning getaway location.

"Our goal was to create a bold and sweet flavored malt beverage that would allow our customers to have a taste of the tropics," said Ryan Stump, vice president of business operations at Coop Beverage Works. "With the Tampico Hard Punch Fiesta of Flavor Sweepstakes, we are taking inspiration from our flavors and providing a one-of-a-kind experience."

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