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NATIONAL REPORT — Innovation is alive and well among companies that make products for convenience stores. This year, for the 20th time, Convenience Store News recognizes and honors the makers that exemplify the best quality and innovation in new products.
The latest trends are all represented here: small bites, healthy snacks, low sugar, high protein, global cuisine inspiration, grab-and-go convenience, nostalgic treats, and more.
Today’s timetables for work, play and eating continue to shift. The new normal is all-day snacking with a beverage nearby, interrupting the ritual of any sort of traditional mealtime. This “purposeful snacking” has taken over the day and is great for the convenience store business.
Another shift is being seen in consumers’ attitudes about being healthy, moving away from restrictions. It is not about good food vs. bad food. It’s about having a small treat, and transparency of the ingredients in that treat. It’s about balance, as well as fun.
Convenience store shoppers today are instantaneous decision makers. Speed has become more of a driver in consumers’ choices. Every day, consumers vote with their wallets for the products that fulfill their on-the-go needs. And, in the 20th annual CSNews Best New Products Awards contest, consumers voted for the favorite products among scores of new items introduced into the convenience channel in the past year.
After a month of testing, consumers chose 17 winners that will be recognized during the NACS Show in Atlanta this month.
Judging for the 2016 CSNews Best New Products Awards was supervised by Past Times Marketing, a New York-based consumer research and product testing firm. Contest entries were rated and awarded points by consumers based on the criteria of taste, value, convenience, healthfulness, ingredients, preparation requirements, appearance and packaging.
This year’s best new products are:
Duke's Chorizo & Lime Smoked Shorty Sausages; Thanasi Foods
Snickers Crisper; Mars Chocolate North America
Dentyne SubZero Gum Iceberg Mint; Mondelēz International Inc.
Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews; The Hershey Co.
Sour Patch Strawberry Resealable Standup Pouch; Mondelēz International Inc.
Swisher Sweets Wild Rush Cigarillos; Swisher International Inc.
Hot 'n' Ready Square Wrap; AdvancePierre Foods
Tyson Chicken Sandwich; Tyson Convenience
Zukti Tamarind Sauce; Apex Food Co.
Health & Beauty Care:
Systane Ultra; Alcon and Lil’ Drug Store Products
Mediterra Savory Bar With Kale & Pumpkin Seeds; Mediterra Nutrition
Healthy Snacks/Peg Bags:
Rockin’ Ranch Chickpea Snacks; Biena Foods
Tidy Cats 4-in-1 Strength Lightweight Cat Litter; Nestle Purina Petcare
Skippy P.B. Bites; Hormel Foods
Packaged Sweet Snacks:
Mrs. Freshley’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes; Flower Foods
Honey Roasted Chipotle Flavored Peanuts; The Carolina Nut Co.
Barefoot Refresh Spritzer Cans; Barefoot Cellars