A peek at new treats and trends to hit convenience store shelves

The NACS, an international trade group representing retailers and suppliers, and its annual show brings together corner store buyers to preview and stock up on new products ranging from candy and beer to lottery tickets.

On October 8 at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show in the US city of Atlanta, Georgia various companies launched new products, including:

- Hershey's wrapper-less Hershey's drops and Reese's minis
- Mars' ice cream pints: Snickers Rocky Road, Milky Way and Twix Peanut Butter (January 2011)
- Mars' Snickers Peanut Butter Squared (December) and Twix Coconut Cookie Bars (April 2011)
- Airheads new tangy Pink Lemonade and Orange
- Mentos New Rainbow Roll
- GrapeVines and CherryVines from the makers of RedVines

Plus buyers showed the greatest interest during the show for these previewed "Cool New Products" according to daily scans:

- Disney Foodles and Crunch Pak Sliced Apples
- Ready Snax Fresh Fruit Parfaits
- International Delight Flavor Shots
- BP Pro Beer Pong Products

According to NACS, American "convenience stores sell more than 2 billion gallons of beer a year - roughly one-third of all the beer purchased in the United States," and the market "accounts for more than $624 billion [€447 billion] in sales."

The global research firm Envirosell found 49 percent of convenience store shoppers "report that their candy purchases were unplanned."

And, Mars' Jim Murphy, vice president of North America sales, said, "We've just completed a study that clearly shows that convenience stores can grow ice cream novelty sales by up to 60 percent through category management," after finding consumers will leave a store if their favorite brand or flavor of ice cream is not present.