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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — After a month of consumer testing, the votes have been tallied and 20 winners are selected for top honors in the 18th annual Convenience Store News Best New Products Awards, the original new products recognition program for the convenience store industry.
This year’s winning entries tap into the latest emerging trends, from one-handed protein snacks to healthy "bites" meant for sharing. Descriptions of the winning products herald such on-trend terms as “gluten free,” “premium,” “bold flavors” and "exotic combinations" of ingredients.
Judging for the CSNews Best New Products Awards was supervised by Past Times Marketing, a New York-based consumer research and product testing firm. Entries were rated and awarded points by consumers based on the criteria of: taste, value, convenience, healthfulness, ingredients, preparation requirements, appearance and packaging.
The 2014 winners are:
ALTERNATIVE SNACKS: Nature Valley Nut Clusters from General Mills Convenience
CHOCOLATE CANDY: Twix Bites from Mars Chocolate North America
EDIBLE GROCERY: Pickle Crunch from Onion Crunch Inc.
ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES: NJOY King 5-Pack from NJOY Inc.
ENERGY DRINKS: Ultra Red from Monster Beverage Corp.
FOODSERVICE/DISPLAY & PACKAGING: Embraceable Platter and Dome from Anchor Packaging Inc.
FOODSERVICE/LUNCH & DINNER: Fast Choice Hand Wrapped Sandwiches from AdvancePierre Foods
GENERAL MERCHANDISE: Power Bank Portable Rechargeable Battery Backup from Mark Feldstein & Assoc.
HEALTH & BEAUTY CARE: Rolaids from Lil' Drug Store Products
HEALTHY SNACKS: Pomegranate Pistachios-Premium Blend from Sahale Snacks
MEAT SNACKS: Jack Link's Small Batch Handcrafted Beef Jerky from Jack Link's Beef Jerky
NON-CHOCOLATE CANDY: Fruit Vine Bites from American Licorice Co.
NON-EDIBLE GROCERY: Beneful Healthy Smile Twist Dog Treat from Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
NOVELTY CANDY: Disney Princess Light & Sound from CandyRific LLC
OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS: Garcia y Vega 1882 from Swedish Match
OVERALL INNOVATION: Kunzler Individually Wrapped Cheddar Pepper Pretzel Dog from Kunzler & Co.
ICE CREAM & FROZEN NOVELTIES: New Blue Bunny Premium Ice Cream Pint Flavors from Wells Enterprises
PACKAGED SWEET SNACKS: Brownie Brittle from Brownie Brittle LLC
SALTY SNACKS: Snapea Crisps Wasabi Ranch from Calbee North America LLC
VAPOR PRODUCTS: Vapin Plus eLiquid Vaporizer Pen from CB Distributors Inc./21st Century Smokes
Awards will be presented to the winning companies at next month’s NACS Show in Las Vegas.