Trendspotting at the 2019 Eby-Expo Midwest
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Eby-Brown Co. LLC brought convenience store operators and a wide variety of product vendors together at its annual dual trade shows: Eby-Expo East, held March 13-14 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Eby-Expo Midwest, held April 24-25 in Rosemont.
Along with inviting vendors to show off their latest packaged goods, the Naperville, Ill.-based convenience distributor also highlighted foodservice offerings in a separate ballroom. Both freshly prepared and grab-and-go foodservice products were on display.
Convenience Store News walked the show floor at Eby-Expo Midwest and got a peek at the latest trends and new products.
Among the highlights were:
Spicy and bold are still trending atop the list of flavor varieties for salty snacks. BIGS Sunflower Seeds highlighted the brand's Buffalo Wing, Taco Supreme, Cracked Pepper and Sizzlin' Onion varieties.
FERRARA CANDY CO.
The growing focus on natural ingredients was represented by Ferrara Candy Co., which touted a new and improved recipe for its Butterfinger candy bars. The new recipe uses more natural ingredients and higher-quality chocolate, and lacks any artificial preservatives. A company representative told CSNews that there's also a stronger peanut flavor due to a new roasting process.
THE HERSHEY CO.
New twists on old favorites continues to be a popular trend. This summer, Hershey will pit chocolate fans against peanut butter fans by introducing two different varieties of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. A Peanut Butter Lovers version will feature a peanut butter shell topping in addition to the peanut butter filling, instead of all chocolate. A Chocolate Lovers version will feature a higher proportion of chocolate. Each 1.1-ounce package will have a suggested retail price of $1.11, while a 2.8-ounce king-size pack will retail for $1.66.
Do consumers like salty or sweet better? According to a Java Creations representative, the answer is: they like both. The brand's Salted Caramel coffee is its fastest-growing brew. Cold-brew coffee also continues to dominate as the emerging trend of the moment.
Premium nuts and on-the-go nut snacks do not have to be mutually exclusive. A Royal Hawaiian representative pointed out that the company's Aloha 2 Go line is the only one that offers macadamia nuts in a snack-size, grab-and-go package. Varieties include popular classics such as Natural and Sea Salt, along with unique varieties such as Hawaiian BBQ, Pomegranate Mango and Blackberry Goji.
Eby-Brown is the largest privately owned convenience store distributor in the United States, serving more than 8,700 retail locations.