MARS, WRIGLEY UNVEIL MORE THAN 30 NEW PRODUCT INNOVATIONS

May 24, 2017

From new Starburst and Snickers to M&M’s and Skittles, iconic candies are getting flavor extensions.

May 24, 2017

​CHICAGO – During this week’s National Confectioners Association (NCA) Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, Mars Chocolate North America and Wrigley will share a unified vision of driving growth for customers through three key areas: product innovations, effective activations and selling strategies. Taking center stage at the trade show are several new flavor extensions to consumers’ favorite brands, including: Extra Chewy Mints; 5 Gum Mega Packs; M&M’S Caramel Chocolate Candies; M&M’s White Chocolate Candies; Skittles and Starburst Sweet Heat; Snickers & Hazelnut Bar; and Twix Dark Chocolate Cookie Bars.

“This year we’re launching more than 30 new products and packs that offer a range of choices to meet consumer preferences,” said Timothy LeBel, president of sales for Mars Chocolate North America, in a press release. “Our new products deliver on several key industry trends, including focusing on transparency and choice, offering the opportunity to indulge in moderation, and meeting consumers’ desire for fun and functional gum and mints, as well as new formats and flavors in chocolate. We’re tapping into consumer trends and producing surprising twists and experiences from our most popular brands.”

In addition to product innovations, Wrigley and Mars Chocolate will unveil new selling strategies aimed at driving sales for retailers. “We’re looking within and even beyond our category to not only understand what innovations will resonate with consumers, but also to truly understand the way they shop for those products,” said Edward Taylor, vice president of U.S. sales and operations for Wrigley. “Helping our partners maximize opportunities is a top priority for us and to expand on the success of our Transaction Zone Vision program, we’ll be highlighting a variety of new shopper behavior findings from our Path-to-Purchase research at this year’s show, as well as sharing online insights.”

Read NACS Online here


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PROPOSED SNAP RULE COULD MAKE C-STORES INELIGIBLE

March 10, 2016

NACS reaches out to Capitol Hill to protest changes around definition of staple foods.

March 10, 2016

​ALEXANDRIA, Va. – This week NACS told policymakers about industry concerns with a proposed rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that includes problematic new eligibility standards for retailers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“The proposed [SNAP] rule would make tens of thousands of small businesses ineligible to participate in the Program. Small businesses will be harmed and SNAP beneficiaries, who rely on these small stores in both urban and rural environments, will lose options they need to feed their families,” wrote NACS in a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, and the chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee.

As previously reported by NACS, on February 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) published a proposed rule altering eligibility requirements for retailers participating in SNAP. While the proposal codifies the 2014 Farm Bill provisions, which NACS supported, it also makes other changes to retailer eligibility requirements that Congress never intended to address in the 2014 Farm Bill. The proposal would impede neighborhood retailers’ ability to participate in the program, which in turn would hinder food accessibility for SNAP recipients that use their benefits at these small format retail locations.

“It appears that FNS is trying to push small retailers out of the SNAP program altogether, for no sound public policy reason,” NACS wrote to Congress, adding that Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Undersecretary Kevin Concannon recently testified before the House Appropriations Committee that there are more small stores participating in SNAP “than we really need.”

The USDA’s SNAP proposal codifies the 2014 Farm Bill “depth of stock” provisions, which require retailers to stock 7 varieties of products in each of the four “staple food” categories. Problematically, the proposal also includes several changes that were neither required nor envisioned by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The proposal redefines the term “staple foods” and limits the items that may count as staple foods for depth of stock determinations. Under the proposal, multiple ingredient items (e.g. soups or frozen dinners) would not count towards depth of stock requirements. The proposal also expands the definition of “accessory foods” to include foods consumed between meals, like snacks (e.g. hummus and pretzel packs).

Because accessory and multiple ingredient foods may not be counted as staple foods for depth of stock determinations—the proposal essentially narrows the universe of acceptable foods that a retailer can stock to participate in SNAP, ultimately raising the stocking numbers beyond the numbers established by Congress.

Next week in Washington during the NACS Government Relations Conference, industry stakeholders will be communicating to members of Congress and their staffs that convenience stores play a fundamental role in SNAP, particularly for low-income Americans who live in rural or urban environments. By making it increasingly difficult for small format retailers to participate in SNAP, the proposal would essentially punish SNAP beneficiaries by requiring them to travel outside of their local neighborhoods where larger format retailers may not exist.

A memorandum analyzing the proposal is available online exclusively for NACS members.


Profit Comes from Healthier Options in C-Stores

February 22, 2016

KWIK TRIP RECOGNIZED FOR PROVIDING HEALTHIER OPTIONS

By June 2017, Kwik Trip will offer an expanded stock of healthier options and increase better-for-you choices in the checkout area.
February 22, 2016

​LA CROSSE, Wisc. – The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and its Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier, is recognizing Kwik Trip as the first convenience store to complete its commitment to expand healthier options across its stores.

“With more consumers expecting to find fresh and healthy items on the go, the convenience store industry is in the midst of a momentous shift, one that Kwik Trip has been leading for several years now,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “Just a few years ago it was unusual to see fresh fruit in many convenience stores, but today, Kwik Trip sells 400 pounds of bananas per store per day. In fact, after making a commitment to PHA, Kwik Trip’s bulk produce sales grew 5.5% in 2015.”

Since first teaming up with PHA in 2014, Kwik Trip has fulfilled its initial commitment to PHA by:

  • Introducing at least four categories of fresh fruits and four categories of fresh vegetables across its stores;
  • Expanding its whole grain rich offerings to at least six products; and
  • Implementing a Healthy Concessions Program in local schools.

In addition, through its EatSmart program, designed to encourage healthier options, Kwik Trip is the first convenience store to offer a PHA-approved combo meal.

“Kwik Trip has made many advancements over the past two years to make healthier choices more convenient and accessible for our guests,” said Erica Flint, registered dietitian for Kwik Trip. “We have enjoyed working with PHA and receiving the positive feedback from guests on the programs we have implemented. We are eager to continue our partnership with PHA and get to work on our expanded commitments.”

Building upon these efforts as a part of its new commitment to PHA, by June 2017 Kwik Trip will offer an expanded stock of healthier options, including healthier packaged foods like nuts and granola bars throughout the store, and will increase healthier options in the checkout area. In addition, Kwik Trip will continue to encourage more consumers to drink water more often through its support of PHA’s Drink Up initiative.

From Sheetz on the East Coast to Kwik Trip in the Midwest to Loop stores in California, convenience stores have taken note of consumer demand for healthier options. Recognized as innovators in the foodservice industry, these stores and others, including U-Gas and Twice Daily, have teamed up with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to offer healthier options like fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, nonfat and low-fat dairy products and whole grain items; and they’re promoting those healthier products through marketing efforts in the store and at the pump.

And through the NACS reFresh initiative, convenience retailers are discovering new ideas that enhance their operations and communication efforts to showcase the industry’s positive business practices with the public, media and policymakers. Partnerships with groups such as PHA that share similar values are fostering best practices and making a difference.

http://www.nacsonline.com/Media/Daily/Pages/ND0222161.aspx#.VstUyPkrLRY

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backOffice™ V3 Released!

September 18, 2012

Take a sneak peek at backOffice™ V3

This 3-Part Series of Demonstration Videos provides a nice overview of backOffice™ Features. 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


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