Products of the Year USA creates a jury of industry leaders and journalists to identify the submitted products that demonstrate innovation in function, design, packaging, or ingredients. Then 50,000 shoppers from across the United States choose the winners, which range from toothpaste and antacids to pickles and detergent.
Those trends most affecting c-stores, as identified in a recent issue of Parade magazine:
Late one night in 2011, Nestlé Crunch marketing manager Cherry Joh was brainstorming new variations on her brand's iconic candy bar when she struck confectionary gold: adding the beloved flavors of Girl Scout Cookies.
"We'd be combining two timeless classics and giving them a twist to make them relevant for today," Joh told the magazine. Two years later, the company launched three types of Nestlé Crunch Girl Scout candy bars--Peanut Butter Crème, Caramel & Coconut, and Thin Mints. They hit quickly; during a presale on Facebook, 3,000 boxes were sold in 24 hours.
Nestlé Crunch bars aren't the only childhood favorite teaming up with other treats: M&M's now share a bag with costars like mini cookies, mini pretzel twists and roasted almonds. It took months to develop the right balance of flavors and textures in the three snack mixes, which feature milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or peanut M&M's.
We Want No-Hassle Healthy Food
At Quaker, the idea was to create a grab-and-go version of premium oatmeal. Quaker Real Medleys (in four flavors, including cherry pistachio) contain a blend of oats, barley, and rye, the magazine reported.
Green Giant tackled this conundrum: how to make veggies tastier without cheese or butter sauces. Answer: six types of Seasoned Steamers, from honey Dijon carrots to backyard grilled potatoes.
And SK Energy focused on a healthier energy drink--a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and natural caffeine.
On trend that could become an issue for c-stores as it stands today:
We See the Value in Green
Take, for instance, the SodaStream, an at-home soda and seltzer maker that creates carbonated drinks (with a customizable level of fizz) from nearly 70 flavor syrups. One reusable carbonator makes the amount of soda found in 169 cans. Without those containers to transport from warehouses to stores to homes, less gasoline is burned. Beyond that, think about the decrease in fountain and cooler sales, should SodaStream achieve mass popularity.
Click here to see all eight products trends outlined by Products of the Year USA.