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LAS VEGAS — Spicy was the buzzword this year around the foodservice section of the NACS Show expo floor, where exhibiting companies debuted new products boasting chipotle, chorizo, buffalo, jalapeno and pepper jack flavors, among others with a kick.
McCain Foods, which told Convenience Store News it is focusing on snacks and sides, showed off four new spicy items available to the convenience channel: Pepper Jack Tortilla Wedges, Chipotle Cheddar Nuggets, Spicy Corn Nuggets, and Early Risers Fiesta Bold Chorizo Stuffed Hash Browns.
Bold flavors appeal especially to generation Z consumers, and they “don’t know there used to be ‘bad’ food at convenience stores,” said William Neider, director of McCain’s Special Markets Group. He also noted that c-stores have an opportunity to get consumers to transition their afternoon and late-night snacking to more profitable hot foods instead of sweet or salty snacks.
Snacks, sides and bundling are likewise on the mind of Hunt Brothers Pizza, which discussed its 2016 plans with CSNews at the NACS Show. Another part of its strategy for the upcoming year is doing more limited-time offerings (LTOs), building on the existing success of its Buffalo Chicken Pizza (available in the fall) and Bacon Chicken Ranch Pizza (available in the spring).
Summer 2016 will usher in a third LTO pizza for the first time, according to Keith Solsvig, vice president of marketing. And the goal is to eventually do one quarterly. In addition to driving sales increases for Hunt Brothers retailers, LTOs keep the excitement level high.
No matter where a c-store operator is on the food spectrum, quality product and quality execution are paramount for success, Tyson Convenience executives relayed on the NACS Show expo floor. With this in mind, the company debuted several new items that leverage its well-recognized brands: handheld Tyson Chicken Sandwiches in two varieties, Jimmy Dean Bowls for the freezer case, and Hillshire Snacking Small Plates in four varieties.
Tyson also linked up with Anheuser-Busch (A-B) at this year’s event to promote the connection between beer purchases and prepared food purchases. Visitors to the A-B booth were able to see merchandising ideas — some with beer as the main driver and others with prepared food as the main driver. Tyson and A-B execs shared with CSNews that a merchandising unit combining roller grill, condiments and single-store beer is currently in testing.
For more insights gained from the 2015 NACS Show expo floor, look in the November issue of Convenience Store News.