Supplier Spotlights: GS1 US, Mars Wrigley & PepsiCo

M&M's experiential store

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:

The Alkaline Water Co.

The Alkaline Water Co. Inc. added Core-Mark International as a c-store industry partner. Starting in April, all Alkaline88 products will be part of the Smart Stock program, extending to company's reach to approximately 11,000 c-stores across the United States.

"This is a huge win for us and marks significant progress toward our c-store strategy. I am very proud of the fact that in less than a year, we have positioned our flagship brand, Alkaline88, to potentially be available in roughly 10 percent of the c-store market. We are excited to select Core-Mark as a partner and join its 'Smart Stock' program, which is an exclusive marketing opportunity, offered across all Core-Mark U.S. divisions," said Richard A. Wright, president and CEO of The Alkaline Water Co.

"This exponential growth that we are seeing is a testament to the strength of our brand and the trust and confidence that our loyal consumers have in our growing portfolio of products. We expect to make continued inroads in the c-store markets and offer our customers the most innovative and in-demand products," he added.

Core-Mark's Smart Stock program delivers a full-service merchandising solution encompassing key categories in a convenience store. The program delivers category-managed sets of top-selling brand name items and includes weekly account services where a Smart Stock merchandiser visits the store to order, rotate, date and price Items to maintain store sets.


ECRM unveiled a new brand identity and updated, modernized logo that signifies a new era for the company as it continues to drive long-term, critical business relationships.

The company has transformed its service offering into a comprehensive, technologyenabled and hightouch suite of category management support solutions that deliver greater efficiency and effectiveness to the buying and selling process, according to the company. Its new brand identity reflects this transformation. 

"ECRM has done an amazing job adapting to fulfill its customers' needs," said Greg Farrar, CEO of ECRM. "Now is the time for the brand to embody the company that we have become."

Electrolux Professional

Electrolux Professional's new flagships, SkyLine Cook&Chill and Line 6000 Washers and Dryers, received the Good Design award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.

Following the original 1950's program, the emphasis of Good Design is on quality design from the innovation and functionality point of view, or even the ecological impact of each product selected.

"We are proud of this recognition coming from the most prominent global award program, that honors the best of the best in modern design since 1950, worldwide," said Michele Cadamuro, head of experience design at Electrolux Professional. "My big thank you goes to the team that has passionately worked behind the scenes of the projects that paved the way to the launch and achievement of these two champion ranges."

Dawn Foods

Dawn Foods announced a yearlong celebration in honor of its 100th anniversary that includes its new campaign, "Thank You to Bakers." Throughout the campaign, the global bakery manufacturer and ingredients supplier seeks to raise awareness for the hard work the baking community puts in each day and thank bakers across the globe for their dedication.

The company also unveiled its #DonutsForGoodEntry promotion, which encourages bakers to use the hashtag on social media to highlight the positive deeds they do in their local communities. The promotion includes a raffle for Dawn customers using the #DonutsForGoodEntry when sharing their story.

Participating customers will be entered for the chance to win a $5,000 donation in their name to a charitable organization of their choice. Dawn will raffle 10 donations, totaling $50,000.

"We want to celebrate our 100 years of growth and accomplishments by recognizing those who have made our success possible — the bakers who bring joy every day to their customers and communities around the world," said Carrie Jones-Barber, CEO of Dawn Foods. "As we look back at the legacy we've created, in partnership with our customers, we've grown from a small family business to nearly 5,000 team members. Additionally, we continue to lead the way in digital advancements and industry-leading product innovations coming to market this year that are sure to excite customers. We have a promising year ahead and this campaign sets the tone for our yearlong appreciation to bakers."

Raffle winners will be drawn at random and announced on June 5, National Donut Day.


GS1 US introduced the GS1 US Certified Identification Partner Program in order to provide brands with a new channel for securing their GS1 product identifiers while also enhancing solution provider offerings. The initial seven solution providers that are partnering to become certified include Aarongraphics, Avery Dennison, InterTrade, Label Interactive Technologies, Salsify, Kwikee, an Sysco company, and Syndigo.

Through their individual websites, solution providers that become GS1 US Certified Identification Partners can help their customers obtain a GS1 Company Prefix to create authentic Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), also known as Universal Product Codes (U.P.C.s), which uniquely identify a brand company and its products across digital and physical retail.

Brands securing their GS1 Company Prefix via the GS1 US Certified Identification Partner's website will be linked directly to GS1 US. Once the identifier is issued, it can be passed back in near-real time to the solution partner, automating the item setup process and allowing increased speed-to-market.

"Retailers understand the value of unique product identification and are increasingly requiring and verifying GS1 GTINs from sellers. However, many brands don't know where to begin and turn to solution providers for help," said Michelle Covey, vice president, partnerships, GS1 US. "By working together with the solution provider community to expedite the product identification process, GS1 US and our partners are creating a more streamlined experience for our mutual customers at their point of need."

J&J Snack Foods

J&J Snack Foods Corp.'s wholly owned subsidiary The ICEE Co. acquired the assets of BAMA ICEE.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., BAMA ICEE does business in Alabama and Georgia and has annual sales of approximately $3.5 million.

"We are truly excited to announce the acquisition of Bama ICEE," said ICEE President Dan Fachner. "With this purchase we now own the rights to ICEE across the 50 states as well as worldwide. We look forward to continuing to grow and enhance the iconic brand ICEE."


Lancer Corp. began doing business as Lancer Worldwide on Jan. 31 after 50 years in business. The company rebranded itself to proactively challenge, innovate and invest in the next-generation beverage dispensing experience.

Updates include a new logo, positioning, and website which will better reflect the quality products and service the company will continue to provide industry clients, according to Lancer.

"Lancer's brand has undergone a significant transformation to better represent the next phase of our growth strategy," said EJ Morrow, global president, Lancer Worldwide. "The new identity had to satisfy all of the existing expectations of what the original mark stands for in the global beverage dispensing marketplace while simultaneously moving the brand forward."

Mars Wrigley

Mars Retail Group is making a strategic investment in its retail footprint. The M&M'S brand will open three new experiential stores by 2021:

  • The current Orlando store at The Florida Mall will relocate to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in 2020, with construction already underway.
  • M&M'S will join the Mall of America in Minneapolis prior to the 2020 holiday season, marking the first M&M'S location in the Midwest.
  • The brand's first continental Europe location will open in Berlin, Germany, at Kurfürstendamm, the historic shopping avenue located in City West in 2021.

Features at the experiential stores will include larger-than-life character moments and the iconic Wall of Chocolate; new personalization features that will allow customers to create custom M&M'S gifts on the spot; merchandise that is exclusive to each location; and new in-store designs that pay homage to local cultural elements, according to the company.


PDI acquired SwiftIQ, a provider of analytics cloud and vendor collaboration software and services to both c-store operators and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. The addition of SwiftIQ's analytics cloud with built-in machine learning strengthens PDI's data and insights capabilities, the company said.

"Retail analytics are key to our strategy to work with brands and retailers to provide consumers with relevant offers that drive ROI," said Jamie Hudson, senior vice president, offers and insights at PDI. "SwiftIQ's analytics cloud is the perfect fit to support the scale of our offer network. This will provide our retail customers and CPG partners actionable insights to improve the effectiveness of their loyalty programs and promotions."

By integrating SwiftIQ's advanced analytics, PDI can leverage the transaction-level data from its back office and loyalty solutions. This will help convenience retailers and CPG brands quickly react and refine their loyalty program and promotion strategies, according to the company.


PepsiCo Inc. plans to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity for its U.S. direct operations in 2020. This builds on the company's global progress in switching to renewable electricity around the world.

"We have entered a decade that will be critical for the future of our planet's health," said Ramon Laguarta, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. "PepsiCo is pursuing 100% renewable electricity in the U.S. because the severe threat that climate change poses to the world demands faster and bolder action from all of us."

Its shift to renewable electricity in the U.S. this year is expected to deliver a 20-percent reduction in company-wide direct operations greenhouse gas emissions relative to a 2015 baseline. This represents a significant contribution to the company's goal of reducing absolute GHG emissions across its global value chain by 20 percent by 2030 against a 2015 baseline, according to PepsiCo.

"As an industry leader, we have a responsibility to help spur the use of renewable energy in the U.S., while encouraging the kind of systemic change that can build a more sustainable food system. This is another step forward in that journey," said Simon Lowden, chief sustainability officer, PepsiCo.

PepsiCo will also continue to expand its onsite renewable electricity. It recently installed new solar panels at its global headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., complementing other solar energy installations throughout the country.

Westrock Coffee

Westrock Coffee Co. LLC is acquiring S&D Coffee & Tea from Cott Corp. The transaction is expect to close in early 2020.

"This strategic combination will create the nation's premier coffee, tea, and extract supplier that is capable of serving the most complex and demanding customers across the country and around the world. We intend to use the scale of the new company to offer the most innovative beverage solutions with competitive pricing to our global clients while simultaneously providing a premium price to our farmer partners at origin. Our unmatched commitment to customer service, product quality, and our industry-leading sustainability and transparent sourcing practices will remain a cornerstone of our business," said Scott Ford, Westrock Coffee co-founder and CEO. "Our combined organization will seek to lead the industry with our sustainability program and to accelerate the development of a broadening array of innovative products."

The companies will continue to operate under their respective brand names for the foreseeable future. Both Westrock's North Little Rock, Ark., roasting and packaging plant and S&D's center of operations in Concord, N.C., are expected to see further expansion.

The Wonderful Co.

The Wonderful Pistachios brand launched a new, multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to further resonate with the growing number of people adding more plant-based protein to their diet. The campaign emphasizes that the best protein is grown on trees rather than bred or developed in a lab.

"As more consumers make changes in their diet to eat less meat, but simultaneously crave more protein, Wonderful Pistachios represents the perfect snack because it's a real, whole food containing six grams of plant-based protein per serving," said Adam Cooper, senior vice president of marketing, The Wonderful Co. "When it comes to plant-based protein, you can't beat the original, and our new campaign drives that message home."

The brand will promote plant-based messages at events throughout the year as Wonderful Pistachios influencers continue to share plant-based protein benefits with their follower. Wonderful Pistachios will also host a live virtual symposium dedicated to sharing the latest trends on plant-based protein with retailer partners, supermarket dieticians and other nutrition experts.