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Meat Snacks Go Gourmet

Innovative flavors and new packaging target female and young snackers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Manufacturers are finding other ways to woo women into choosing their products over chips and cookies when mid-day hunger pangs strike. One way is by emphasizing the snacks’ “better-for-you” attributes. Oh Boy! Oberto retooled its recipes to make them all-natural,

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New Products Fuel Energy Drink Sales

A handful of big brands own the  market, but they’re not resting on their laurels as new players enter the arena with new flavors and formats. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. The company whose name is synonymous with energy drinks worldwide is still showing that it is bullish on the American market. For the first

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Fresh Coffee and Bakery Make for Good Mornings

Give customers some fresh ways to start their day and they’ll keep coming back for more, according to savvy c-store operators who are driving a.m. loyalty. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Two years ago, Nashville-based Tri Star Energy took at good, hard look at its Daily’s convenience store operation and decided the 80-unit chain needed

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Daypart Diversity Depends on Freshness

Retailers don’t have to wave goodbye to their roller grills to put a fresh face on lunch and dinner foodservice menus. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to lunch and dinner foodservice. Not everyone has the capital to invest in a proprietary commissary or the in-store

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A Sneak Peek at Trends in the New Year

Whether it’s implementing emerging technology or promoting a host of new foodservice items, 2013 promises to be an exciting year for convenience stores. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Thirteen isn’t usually regarded as a fortuitous number, but it takes more than luck to grow a business. Industry experts offered Convenience Store Decisions insights into some

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How to Win the Battle of the Brews

Suddenly everybody’s a coffee expert, even the neighborhood pharmacy. So what are c-stores doing to maintain customer loyalty as the competition over brewed beverages heats up? By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Et tu, Walgreens? With the opening earlier this year of a new Upmarket Café in Walgreens’ new Chicago flagship store, shoppers can have a

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A Fresh Perspective on Grab-and-Go Sandwiches

With foodservice taking on a greater role in the industry, retailers find themselves with a tough decision: invest in a commissary, partner with a third party or build an in-house brand of their own. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Bob Goodwin pulls no punches when he says he wants to make sure everyone in Tedeschi

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Higher Profits in the Cards

Technology is making it faster, easier and more convenient for consumers to purchase, manage and reload prepaid cards. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. The direct-to-consumer prepaid market, including general-purpose, reloadable cards, such as Green Dot and NetSpend, phone cards and gift cards of all types, is growing by leaps and bounds. Last year, dollars loaded

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The Anatomy of an Effective LTO

The limited time offer is a proven strategy for testing new products, generating a buzz in your stores and giving consumers a compelling reason to make an immediate purchase. Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Everyone knows when the McRib comes to town. McDonald’s does not even have to advertise it; the saucy pork sandwich’s legions of

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Spice Up Sandwiches to Spike Sales

Technomic’s 2012 Sandwich Consumer Trend Report found that more than half (55%) of Americans are now purchasing grab-and-go sandwiches. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Just two years ago, the top-selling sandwiches at Famima convenience stores were tuna salad, turkey and cheese and egg salad, all on white bread. Today, the same proteins lead the pack,

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Coffee Driving Bakery Sales

To capture a greater share of the breakfast business, retailers are developing fresh bakery programs extensive enough to make their products destination-worthy in the morning and throughout the day. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Few, if any, local supermarkets or mom-and-pops in the Iowa, Minnesota or Wisconsin market areas where Kwik Trip has its 358

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Tracking Changes In Confections

While a few big gum and mint brands have the cache—and steady sales—to merit prime display space, hordes of newcomers are trying to snare a share of this valuable retail real estate. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In its “New Product Pacesetters” report, research firm SymphonyIRI Group revealed that the gum and mint sector accounted

Foodservice Equip Story

With Foodservice Equipment, Cheap Can Be Costly

There are few bargains when it comes to purchasing the right cooking equipment. Functionality and practicality must coincide with an affordable price tag. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Just like the latest luxury car, a shiny, new piece of foodservice equipment can be hard to resist. But Brian Tucker, foodservice director for Lake, Fla.-based S

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Meat Snacks Are Getting Hot

Major manufacturers are betting on bolder flavor profiles and textures to help appeal to adventurous and sophisticated palates, and health-conscious lifestyles. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor There is nothing timid about Generations X or Y, especially when it involves their taste buds. And when it comes to flavors, the bigger, bolder, hotter and spicier the

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Flexibility Fuels Chicken

America’s passion for poultry is translating into greater opportunities for c-stores to strengthen their foodservice presence across all dayparts and provide destination-worthy products with high perceived customer value. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Whether prepared plain or fancy; fried, broiled, roasted, grilled or baked; in tenders, strips or “popcorn” bites, chicken has universal appeal, said Dr.

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E-Tobacco Shows No Signs of Slowing

Although the electronic cigarette category in the U.S. is barely five years old, a dizzying number of brands are vying for the attention of retailers—and more are entering the fray just about every day. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In a report released in May, UBS Investment Research likened the chaotic e-cigarette category to the e-commerce

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Surging Demand for Pizza

With so many national brands already well established in the marketplace, c-store retailers have to create a niche of their own by combining quality products and personal service. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Before the CENEX convenience store opened in Killdeer, N.D., the only pizzas readily available to the town’s residents were the ones in

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Carving Out a Sandwich Strategy

While branded and proprietary foodservice programs get a lot of attention at retail, prepared sandwiches have quietly—and profitably—filled a valuable niche for retailers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Sandwiches and wraps are a $2.7 billion category and sales are expected to remain strong through 2014, according to a 2011 report from foodservice research and marketing

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Gum Gets a Fresh Start

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. After years of  tremendous growth, gum sales have struggled as new products and line extensions crowd the category. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Innovation is a great thing, especially in the fickle gum category. But Danna Huskey, category manager for Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart stores

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Sweeten the Deal for Chocolate

Market researchers report that between 82% and 92% of Americans admit to indulging in chocolate candy. Even more important is the revelation that the majority of them do it at least once a month. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Americans aren’t eating out as much as they used to, but they are eating more chocolate,

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Co-Branding Positives and Pitfalls

As rising gas prices continue to shrink profits at the pumps, having a strong foodservice offering can drive customers into convenience stores. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. A growing number of retailers are choosing to go the brand name route, partnering with high profile quick-service chains or turnkey commissary-style suppliers. Convenience Store Decisions asked some

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Finding the Right Foodservice Equipment

To be a winner in the foodservice arena, break out of the convenience store box and take some equipment cues from quick-service, fast casual and white tablecloth restaurants. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. No one understands the pain of working in a cramped space better than a food truck operator, said Larry Miller, president of

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