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ORLANDO, Fla. – A mix of new products, old favorites and the latest brand extensions were on display this week at the 2013 McLane National Trade Show. The two-day event kicked off Tuesday, Aug. 27 at Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel and brought together suppliers, retailers, brokers and even one former football player.
Ron Jaworski, a former NFL player, current ESPN analyst and CEO of Ron Jaworski Golf Management Inc., opened the event as the official guest speaker. As a professional athlete, Jaworski said he learned many lessons that also apply to the business world, especially the importance of commitment, discipline and trust for those around you.
"You have to have integrity to be successful," he said.
Jaworski recounted several experiences with different football coaches and what he learned from their philosophies on and off the field. He also reminded show attendees that while their careers might be all business, they don't have to be completely serious. "Celebrate the small wins along the way and have fun while you do it," he urged.
For those focused on doing business, however, more than 125 exhibitors filled the show floor, which had a nautical decorative theme and offered a wide variety of new and established products for the convenience store market and other retail segments.
Two companies in particular had returning favorites on display. Lil' Drug Store Products revealed that it will be the exclusive provider of Rolaids Rolls to the c-store industry, with four flavors available when the product relaunches in the near future. Hostess Brands LLC also brought back two iconic sweet snacks, offering Twinkies and CupCakes at one of its first industry events since the products returned to store shelves and were greeted by record demand.
Electronic cigarettes had a healthy presence at the McLane Trade Show as well, with a number of suppliers expressing optimism for the future of the alternative tobacco product. Although e-cigarette sales are projected to hit $1.7 billion by the end of 2013, National Tobacco Co.'s Steve Clark, senior director of national accounts, told CSNews Online that he believes recent figures are conservative and that e-cigarettes are actually a $2-billion category. To help move from online sales to brick-and-mortar sales, National Tobacco created a mobile app with a store locator that lists where its V2 Cigs product line can be found.
In terms of new packaging for existing products, convenience and portability remain areas of focus. Mondelez International's Trident gum will now be available in stand-up, resealable 40-count bags, while The J.M. Smucker Co. promoted its Jif to Go packages of peanut butter and chocolate silk in portable cups, designed for foodservice programs. Ferrero USA also displayed its Nutella & Go dipping snack, which the company said has been well received.
The show wrapped up today with more exhibit hall time and a customer breakfast sponsored by Mars Chocolate.