Supplier Spotlights: InComm, Mars, Mondelēz International & Paytronix
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:
Comdata, a FLEETCOR company, launched a new Mastercard portfolio that offers expanded purchase capabilities and simplifies expense management for businesses. Through its partnership with P97, the company made its first mobile fuel customer transaction through the Mastercard network.
Core to the portfolio is the Comdata Business Expense Card, which is tailored the needs of small-to-medium sized businesses. The card is intended for managers and employees in the field responsible for buying goods or services for a business, and serves as a companion to a business's existing fuel cards with the same cost, control and convenience benefits, as well as consolidated invoicing.
"We are excited to bring the same great benefits of our industry-leading fuel and maintenance card programs to businesses that rely on the purchase of other goods and services," said Jay Guadagna, vice president, product, FLEETCOR. "The new Comdata Business Expense card allow employees to spend more freely within adjacent categories while enabling management to maintain the control and expense reporting convenience they've always enjoyed. Our pilot programs have already shown incredible results with our customers."
Tic Tac Gum unveiled two new video spots as part of its "Refreshing. Delicious. Fun." campaign. Inspired by the brand's Freshmint and Cool Watermelon flavors, the spots highlight Tic Tac's new playful and dynamic visual style, as well as the possibilities of fun that begin with sharing, the smallest act of human connection.
After launching in March, the spots will appear on social media as well as TV networks including Comedy Central, FOX, ESPN and others.
Following the launch of its Listings Management solution designed for the fuel and convenience retailing industry, GasBuddy released key initial findings in a new case study, including:
- 37 percent of gas stations' location "pins" were previously 11 to 50 meters away from their real-world location;
- GasBuddy helped a major c-store brand achieve a 13-percent increase in List Screen impressions on the GasBuddy mobile app and a 17-percent increase in users viewing individual station pages; and
- The fuel and convenience retailing industry trails behind other retail sectors when it comes to updating and maintaining their digital listings.
- 86 percent of GasBuddy users who use search filters in the mobile app are looking for specific brand names.
InComm acquired Linq3 Technologies, which designs, builds and markets products and solutions for traditional and digital lottery gameplay.
"By incorporating Linq3's pioneering lottery products and solutions with our expansive national retail and payments network, we collectively will be able to deliver new product solutions to create experiences that will engage the consumer — right at the retailer's point of sale," said Brooks Smith, InComm founder and CEO. "We are excited to add Linq3's innovative capabilities and proprietary technology to our portfolio of products and services.
"This transaction brings us an experienced management team with a great deal of industry knowledge that can be leveraged to transform and grow lottery business across North America," he added.
To complement the acquisition, InComm has already begun integrations with the largest central gaming system vendors in the United States and plans to shortly launch a robust suite of lottery products and solutions to its retailers, including point of sale-activated draw games, prize payouts and validations and prepaid state lottery gift cards.
Mars expanded its partnership with WWE through which the Snickers and Skittles brands will receive significant visibility and consumer engagement across WWE's global platforms beginning at WrestleMania, one of the largest sports and entertainment events in the world.
For the fourth consecutive year, Snickers will serve as the exclusive presenting partner of WrestleMania, taking place April 7. Skittles will serve as presenting partner at WrestleMania Axxess, WWE's five-day, interactive fan festival.
As part of the broadened relationship, Snickers released five limited-edition Hunger Bars with WWE that include the catchphrases of five Superstars on the packaging.
"WWE Superstars can't perform in the ring and live up to their larger-than-life personalities if they're hungry," said Josh Olken, brand director, Snickers. "We're thrilled to be back for the fourth consecutive year as the presenting sponsor of WrestleMania, making sure that no one across WWE's passionate fan base is hungry when getting their WrestleMania fix."
Mondelēz took a minority investment in early stage startup Uplift Food, which focuses on prebiotic functional foods. It marks the company's first venture investment as part of SnackFutures, the Mondelēz's innovation and venture hub aimed at unlocking snacking growth opportunities around the world.
"As the global snacking leader, we're on a clear mission to lead the future of snacking by providing the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way," said Tim Cofer, executive vice president and chief growth officer of Mondelēz International. "Together with Uplift Food, we have a unique opportunity to disrupt the functional food category by delivering 'snackable' products focusing on gut health — something that does not exist today."
The SnackFutures team will work with Uplift Food to make gut health more understandable, accessible, and enjoyable through new forms and flavors. In addition to the financial investment, SnackFutures will provide strategic support in areas like marketing, distribution, research and development and sourcing.
The NPD Group and Nielsen formed an agreement through which Nielsen will license NPD's ReceiptPal packaged goods data for its fast-moving consumer goods tracking services in the United States. ReceiptPal is NPD's next-generation panel that tracks both e-commerce and brick and mortar sales.
As part of the agreement, NPD will significantly increase the ReceiptPal panel, effectively tripling the size of its OmniPanel. This will lead to more granularity and the ability to view cross-channel shopping, NPD said.
Old Trapper Smoked Products
Just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Old Trapper Smoked Products recently completed the commissioning process for its new 80,000-square-foot production facility, located at its headquarters in Forest Grove, Ore. The facility will significantly increase production of the family-owned company's handcrafted meat snacks while using leading-edge food safety design.
"As we enter our 50th anniversary year, this infrastructure investment arrives amid a period of skyrocketing demand nationwide for Old Trapper's signature line of lean, flavorful beef jerky products," said Robert Leary, director of marketing and communications for Old Trapper. "Over the last several years we began seeing a huge increase in demand for our products from all corners of the country. It soon became clear that to meet existing demand, maintain our high quality standards, and achieve continued growth we needed to vastly expand our manufacturing capacity. To continue to lead the meat snack industry in growth and to expand our market share, we knew we needed to build a first-class facility that would propel us into the next phase of our company history. We continue to invest in world class processing technology."
To meet demand during construction, Old Trapper operated its original manufacturing facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Paytronix Systems Inc. announced that it experienced 38-percent year over year growth measured in committed revenue booked. With 490-plus brands, Paytronix has recorded:
- 10 billion transactions processed;
- 24,600 restaurant and retail units supported;
- Two billion messages sent per year;
- 70 mobile apps deployed; and
- New client sales increased by 38 percent over the previous year.
"Restaurant and convenience brands choose Paytronix because they trust it will deliver material revenue growth," said Paytronix President Andrew Robbins. "Last year we added innovation to the product with more than 250 releases including new ways for brands to get to know all of their customers, K100SM, and one-to-one marketing solutions that are made possible with a proprietary application of AI and machine learning."
PDQ Manufacturing Inc. launched a new website at pdqinc.com, designed for increased ease of navigation and mobile responsiveness.
"PDQ has designed our new website to create a seamless, optimal user experience for our customers," said Gary Campbell, general manager for OPW Vehicle Wash Solutions, which includes PDQ and Belanger. "This easy-to-use website will serve as a content hub for our customers, and will be able to be accessed through a variety of internet enabled devices, making this information readily available, no matter the location."
In addition to improved searchability and a cleaner layout that emphasizes key content, the website features new branding and design.
Renewable Fuels Association
Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper told National Ethanol Conference attendees that while the U.S. ethanol industry had a "tough year" in 2018, it "continued to deliver huge wins for consumers." This included lower gas prices, cleaner air, a more secure energy supply, and increased job creation.
He also outlined RFA's plans to drive future growth and create new market opportunities for American-made ethanol during his "State of the Ethanol Industry" report.
The U.S. ethanol industry produced a record 16.1 billion gallons of high-octane, clean-burning renewable fuel in 2018, marking the sixth straight annual increase in production, according to Cooper.
"One of the greatest successes for our industry in 2018 was growth in the export market," Cooper said. "This accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider that U.S. ethanol faced punitive trade barriers in several key markets."
Ronnoco Coffee acquired the business of Maynardville, Tenn.-based Beverage Solutions Group, which sells to 70-plus distributors who service convenience store and foodservice accounts in more than 43 states.
"This purchase supports Ronnoco's overall strategy of being a single-source supplier for the beverage category, continuing to expand nationally and furthering our acquisition investment within high-growth beverage categories," said Ronnoco CEO Terry McDaniel.
Beverage Solutions Group provides equipment and sells creamers, sweeteners, cappuccino and hot chocolate.
The deal marks the eighth acquisition Ronnoco has made in the past six years to further its plans for growth both geographically and in market share.
Sonny's Enterprises LLC, a manufacturer of conveyorized car wash equipment, is expanding its Car Wash Investor Seminar to four more U.S. cities along with its regularly schedules East and West Coast venues due to increased demand. The new dates are:
- Boston, April 4
- Seattle, June 19
- Newark, N.J., Sept. 6
- Milwaukee, Nov. 19
The seminar is a one-day introductory course designed to help familiarize both existing owners who want to expand their business with new locations while learning the industry's latest best practices as well as new car wash owners with the process of operating a car wash, including selecting a location, financing, selecting and maintaining equipment and more.