Convenience Store News

NOV 2014

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66 Convenience Store News | NOVEMBER 2014 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM The Best in New Products CSNews ' 18th annual awards honor 20 products of the year By Susan Durtschi S nacking is a way of life in America. The percentage of Americans who snack at least three times a day has increased exponentially over the last five years and convenience stores are smartly capitalizing on the trend. From Baby Boomers to Millennials, about half of all eating occa- sions are snacks and mini-meals, and these occasions are taking place when people are alone because they can get things done while they are eating. This year's batch of winners in the Convenience Store News Best New Products Awards tap into the latest snacking trends including one-handed protein snacks to healthy "bites" meant for sharing. The winning prod- ucts' descriptions also herald such on-trend terms as "gluten free," "premium," "bold flavors" and "exotic combinations" of ingredients. After a month of consumer testing, the votes were tallied and 20 winners were recognized by CSNews at the 2014 NACS Show in Las Vegas for bringing the best new products to the convenience store industry during the past year. Judging for the 18th annual CSNews Best New Products Awards was supervised by Past Times Market- ing, 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, conve- nience, healthfulness, ingredients, preparation require- ments, appearance and packaging. THE 2014 WINNERS ARE: Alternative Snacks: Nature Valley Nut Clusters. Nature Valley from General Mills Conve- nience has come out with single- serve bags of Nut Clusters — nuts and granola in tasty, thick mini-square bites. Our panelists loved the Roasted Nut & Seed variety. "Satisfying flavor yet good for you," said one panelist. "Perfect size for a hike, car or in the office drawer," said another. The product is convenient and healthy with high protein and fiber. Candy/Chocolate: Twix Bites. Delivering the same chocolate and caramel-covered cookie bars as a full-size Twix bar, the unwrapped Twix Bites satisfy the sweet tooth. Consumers said they just "want a little bite," and you can pop these in your mouth easily. Panelists also thought these "bites" were less messy to share than the regular bar, and you can eat some now and save some for later snacking. A convenient option for social occasions or on-the-go, the product from Mars Chocolate North America is also very popular among the Hispanic demographic. Candy/Non-Chocolate: Fruit Vines Bites. From American Licorice Co., one of the original licorice manufacturers in the nation, comes a low-fat candy with no preservatives. These soft, chewy, bite-sized candies pack a punch in flavor. Fruit Vines Bites are available in cherry and strawberry, the top two fruit flavors in America. Our testers loved the strawberry in a blind taste test. Following consumer trends for bite-size, on-the-go snacking, Fruit Vines Bites are the perfect portable sweet treat. "This is better licorice than the twisted sticks," said one panelist. "Utterly addictive," said another. From left to right: Sandie Deas-Johnson, Lynn Choi Perrin, Amy Abouelenein, Alyca Judge and John Dalton Tim Quinn From left to right: Stephanie Louie and Madalyn Friedman

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