Conference Beat™ – National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), Las Vegas, October 2018



Every year the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show attracts more than 23,000 industry professionals who are there to connect, exchange ideas, and spot the hottest new products slated to reach the convenience store market within the next year.


Product Spotlight

Sparkling Hydration – bubbly flavored waters came in a plethora of flavors, such as watermelon, dark Morello cherry and mandarin passionfruit, and some packed extra energy with extended-release caffeine


Packaged Protein – products that pack a protein punch were abundant on the show floor, from mushroom jerky and dairy-free yogurt drinks to many iterations and flavors of meat jerky, like mojo, ghost pepper, pulled pork and sweet Italian sausage sticks


Incredible Eggs – new flavors and bold colors brought renewed interest to pickled and hardboiled eggs, with flavors like beet-brined, buffalo-style and mustard


Getting Warmer – updated warming and holding equipment makes foodservice operations turnkey with controls for humidity, temperature and multiple timers


Poppable On-the-Go Indulgence – easy to eat formats of household favorites were prominent among new exhibitors, such as authentic crispy cheese curds, ready-to-eat “raw” cookie dough, brownie bites with icing dippers, and other small format bites


Bowls Gaining Traction – bowls are making inroads in both foodservice and retail. Hot flavors included BBQ chicken breast with cornbread croutons, nacho chicken with Spanish rice and cheeseburger with diced potato pieces, while cold smoothie bowls featured superfoods like acai and matcha topped with granola


Flavor Combinations – several suppliers presented new products with flavor mashups, such as “duos” that share the same package or those that are split down the middle with two flavors colliding in one product


Coffee Cravings – cold brew continues to be on-trend, now with functional ingredients like collagen and protein, with cleaner and all-natural options on offer


Foodservice Packaging Insights

Consumers want to make food choices that leave a light footprint on the environment. According to a recent Culinary Visions® study, 65% of consumers say that they are concerned about the environmental impact of take-out containers and to-go packaging.


Implications for Food Marketers

Changing Demographics – the image of “bubba” as the typical c-store shopper is dissolving as new stores emerge in unexpected upscale formats, engaging new and different consumers.


Premium at a Value – when it comes to favorites like sandwiches and roller grill items, customers are looking for more elevated toppings and specialty breads; they don’t need c-stores to completely reinvent menu favorites to draw continued interest.


Convenience Meets Wellness – consumers are becoming more informed about what goes into the foods they’re eating. Suppliers should focus on the positive perceptions their products provide while communicating any negatively-perceived ingredients that have been left out.


Taste Talk Tweet

Twitter chatter included:

  • Healthier and more natural ways of consuming caffeine are emerging
  • Interactive ordering systems are engaging consumers more in the buying experience
  • New product launches that meet dietary restrictions and lifestyle choices


Follow us on Twitter @Olsoncomm


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