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    Supplier Spotlights: Swedish Match, Forte Products & Heineken USA

    Other developments from Mondelēz, Sparkling Ice, PDI and more.

    By Angela Hanson, Convenience Store News

    NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.

    Here are the latest supplier spotlights:

    Farmer Brothers

    Farmer Bros Co. completed its acquisition of China Mist Brands Inc., which is will operate as a subsidiary.

    "We are excited to welcome China Mist into the Farmer Brothers family. China Mist's focus on quality products, customer service and sustainable business practices make the business a great strategic and cultural fit for Farmer Brothers," said Mike Keown, CEO of Farmer Brothers. "We believe the addition of this premium tea brand and its strong consumer appeal will accelerate the Company's growth in the fresh brewed tea segment and complement our sustainable, direct trade specialty coffee portfolio."

    China Mist will continue to operate from its Scottsdale, Ariz. offices. Members of its management team will continue in their existing roles.

    Forte Products

    Forte Product Solutions changed its name to Forte Products. The launch of the shorter, fresher name and a new logo are part of the ongoing evolution of the brand, the company stated.

    "As we work to develop our company's capabilities to propel our organization into one of the industry's most innovative and recognized leaders, it is the perfect opportunity to evaluate our brand and logo to ensure that they are in sync with who we are, where we are going and the future growth we expect. We felt it was time for an update while still keeping core elements of our identity," stated Brad Robertson, CEO of Forte Products.

    The rebranding represents its mission to bring optimal, cutting edge and valued products to existing and prospective customers and the markets Forte serves, the company added.

    Heineken USA

    Effective Jan. 1, 2017, Heineken USA will launch Five Points Trading Co., a new venture aimed at incubating a range of popular global beers in the U.S. Under this new umbrella, Five Points Trading Co. will assume U.S. importer of record responsibility for Red Stripe, Tiger, Birra Moretti, Affligem, Murphy's Stout, Prestige, Sagres and Mort Subite.

    With the development of Five Points, Heineken USA will be able to bring these emerging premium brands back in-house, while taking them to new heights by utilizing the resources and expertise of the company's established distribution network, the company said. The venture is named in reference to the five points of Heineken's iconic red start and America's first melting pot neighborhood in lower Manhattan.

    The brands that will be represented by Five Points are established in the U.S market and currently imported and sold by other importing companies whose contracts are set to expire at the end of 2016. General Manager Charles Littlefield will lead Five Points and manage the new brands separately from Heineken USA's current portfolio.

    "Keeping the Five Point and Heineken USA portfolios separate will allow our current marketing and sales organization to maintain focus on our four core brands — Heineken, Dos Equis, Tecate and Strongbow — while enabling Five Points to direct its energy and resources to developing the potential of these new to the company acquisitions," Littlefield said. "We are grateful to our current wholesaler partners, whose enthusiasm and dedication to cultivating these brands, to date, has been integral to their success."

    Mondelēz International

    In mid-September, Mondelēz International confirmed a $65-million investment to build a global Research, Development & Quality (RDQ) network of the future. This will enable the company to better recruit, retain and develop talent across a range of science and technical disciplines while also creating a stronger presence in both emerging and developed markets, Mondelēz said.

    Once complete, the redesigned network will consist of a combination of new and existing technical centers that will be more flexible and agile in responding to the company's growth and innovation needs.

    Over the next two years, Mondelēz will focus its RDQ network at nine advantaged technical centers, concentrating people and resources into better equipped hubs:

    • Mexico City, Mexico
    • East Hanover, N.J., United States
    • Bournville, United Kingdom
    • Reading, United Kingdom
    • Wroclaw, Poland
    • Thane, India
    • Suzhou, China
    • Jurong, Singapore
    • Curitiba, Brazil

    "With these advantaged technical centers, we're focusing our investment in research, equipment and capabilities to drive innovation to support our growth strategy and innovation, margin and quality platforms," said Rob Hargrove, executive vice president, RDQ. "These hubs will enable improved efficiency, effectiveness and accelerated project delivery, while the increased scale across key markets will provide rapid access to changing consumer needs and trends."


    PDI, a provider of automation software systems to the convenience retail and wholesale petroleum industries, has formed a strategic alliance with IRI, a provider of innovative solutions and services for consumer, retailer, and over-the-counter healthcare companies.

    As manufacturers and retailers search for innovative ways to market to consumers, the new business relationship strategically positions PDI and IRI to become the primary accumulators and suppliers of actionable, transaction-level data to the convenience industry, according to PDI.

    "IRI has nearly four decades of experience helping companies turn big data into bottom-line growth," said David Hoodis, president of Americas retail for IRI. "We've been able to do that, in large part, by aligning ourselves with other industry leaders who have the same vision of success for their customers as we do for ours. PDI is one such company, and I'm thrilled to join them in this business venture."

    By Angela Hanson, Convenience Store News
    • About Angela Hanson Angela Hanson is associate editor for EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News, where she is responsible for primary coverage of the candy, snacks and packaged beverages categories. Since joining CSNews as assistant editor in early 2011, she has played a key role in helping CSNews.com maintain its position as the No. 1 news source for the convenience store industry. Prior to joining CSNews, Hanson served as junior editor at Creative Homeowner book press and as managing editor of Anime Insider magazine. She has degrees in creative writing and visual communication technology from Bowling Green State University.

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