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ATLANTA -- Eighteen supplier companies in 17 product categories were named winners in the 14th annual Convenience Store News Best New Products Awards competition.
Chosen by a consumer panel administered by a New York-based research firm, this year's entries were rated on the basis of taste, value, convenience, healthfulness, quality ingredients, preparation requirements, appearance and packaging.
Here's a list of this year's winners, who were recognized on the NACS Show floor here, with comments from members of the consumer panel:
Beer: Coors Light Home Draft from Miller Coors.
Innovative Coors Light Home Draft system allows customers to "tap the Rockies" and enjoy draft beer from their own refrigerator. Each mini-keg provides 16 12-oz. pours of real draft beer. "We found it had a smoother consistent pour with minimal foam."
Hispanic/Latino Food Innovation: Lemon Lime Longneck Strip by Twang Partners Ltd.
The unique packaging on these flavor enhancers is sure to drive impulse sales. Longneck Strips complement any domestic or imported lager and has strong appeal to both general market and Latino customers. NASCAR fans and young adults are also getting into this new flavor wave.
Hispanic/Latino Beverage innovation: Bacardi Silver Sangria by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
"This has a sensational taste for a pre-mixed cocktail!" The sangria's blended natural flavors updates the Spanish classic. The Bacardi Silver Sangria comes in a six-pack, with six single servings, which also keeps it fresh tasting. Other tobacco products: White Owl FoilFresh Sweets by Swedish Match. While Owl seals every cigar to ensure that the last cigar is as fresh as the first. Coupled with the recognizable White Owl name and smooth taste and you have a winner.
Chocolate candy: M&M's Pretzel Chocolate Candies by Mars Chocolate North America.
The new M&M brand flavor combines sweet and salty in every bite size piece. They are fun to eat with the snack food qualities of salty and crunchy. "A perfect match of the sweet and savory."
Liquor/Wine: Rocks Margarita by Eskimo Hut.
It's ready to serve and a hefty 12-percent alcohol content. You can pour straight from the bottle and serve over ice, or freeze it and squeeze the bottle out into a glass for a frozen margarita. "Satisfying lime flavor."
Salty Snacks (Tie): Smart Fries by Gourmet Basics.
A "good for you" snack that looks like French fries. This light and crunchy snack is air-popped. Comes in six gourmet flavors. Our panel enjoyed the Honey, Mustard and Onion flavor. Attributes like no cholesterol, no sugar, no trans fat or saturated fat make this product a winner.
Jack Link's Sasquatch Big Stick by Link Snacks.
This giant beef jerky lives up to its name. The Big Stick comes in a 16-inch size and is perfect for a big snack or a meal replacement.
Packaged Sweet Snacks: Oreo Brownie by Kraft Foods.
This product has instant packaging appeal with the Oreo logo. "We love Oreos and we love brownies. What could be better than the marriage of the two? Can you spell, win-win?"
Alternative Snacks: Fiber Plus Single Serve Antioxidant Bar by Kellogg.
This is a healthy bar that provides a tasty way to get better nutrition. Provides 35 percent of your daily fiber, yet it tastes like a delicious chocolate chip crunchy bar.
Foodservice: Sausage Scrambler RollerBites by Home Market Foods. The Sausage Scrambler is sausage, egg and cheese wrapped in a maple pancake coating and makes a perfect product for the roller grill and consumers looking for an on-the-go breakfast.
Frozen Desserts: Lemoncello Dessert by Atalanta Corp./Solo Italia.
The latest creation of Solo Italia, Lemoncello has delicious lemon cream sandwiched between sponge cakes topped with vanilla ice cream. The single serve packet is perfect for takeout and it's taste was described as "dreamy."
Frozen Novelties/Beverages: real fruit smoothies by f'real foods.
This frozen dispensed beverage makes an excellent fresh-tasting smoothie. It's the perfect blend of all-natural, real fruit and balanced nutrition. It's a good source of fiber and contains no high fructose corn syrup.
Non-Chocolate Candy: Mike and Ike Lemonade Blends by Just Born Inc.
"We did not know that Mike and Ike's could be improved on until we tasted their new Lemonade Blends." The right amount of tart and sweet. A real winner!
Non-Carbonated Soft Drinks: vitaminwater zero by The Coca-Cola Company. A build on last year's best-seller vitaminwater, vitaminwater zero is ideal for the calorie conscious. It's naturally sweetened and loaded with nutrients. Comes in seven flavors and is sweetened with Truvia.
Health & Beauty: Modjo 4 Life by Cellutions, LLC.
This tasty beverage brings anti-aging and rejuvenation powers to consumers. It has a great taste with all-natural flavors. Panelists liked its slick packaging.
General Merchandise: Office Depot Office Supplies by Lil Drugstores & Office Depot.
This great assortment of "gotta have it now" office supplies brings the respected Office Depot brand name to the convenience store. Products include ballpoint pens, scissors, paper clips, notebook packs, calculators and more. All packed neatly in eye-catching, pegboard packaging.
Gum & Mints: Breath Savers Cinnamon Mints by The Hershey Company.
This is a great new flavor in the Breath Savers line. "They sparkle in your mouth."
Go to www.csnewsattheshow.com for more up-to-the-minute coverage of the 2010 NACS Show.