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Exciting New Products From General Mills

January 31, 2019

Introducing Gardetto’s Crisps

The Gardetto’s flavor you know and love now in bite-sized crisps! New, single form poppable bites with a crunch texture. Gardetto’s sales have grown +5% over the last 5 years. Original delivers on the much loved flavor of Gardetto’s Original Snack Mix and Peppercorn Ranch offers a new mashup that consumers will

yearn for. C-store shoppers crave different salty snacks depending on their mood. Sometimes it’s about eating snacks that provide a mix on flavors, and other times it’s about mindlessly eating crave-worthy snacks. Gardetto’s checks all these boxes!

Gardettos’ Crisps Original Recipe | Harbor Item Number: 5870031

Gardetto’s Crisps Peppercorn Ranch | Harbor Item Number: 5870032

 

EPIC: A brand that can surround your store!

EPIC’s innovation is driven by its commitment to utilizing the whole animal and minimizing waste, and also greater influence Supply Chains toward regenerative practices. EPIC isn’t an item, it is a brand that can surround your store and build incremental consumer offerings! Consumer are seeking out responsibility sourced foods and animal welfare plays a significant role in the decision making process. 80% of consumer are seeking out natural or organic products and 71% believe sustainable sourcing is important. EPIC bars are non-GMO and cage free. Now available in four great flavors.

 

EPIC Almond Butter Chocolate | Harbor Item Number 0910202

EPIC Lemon | Harbor Item Number 0910199

EPIC Peanut Butter | Harbor Item Number 0910201

EPIC Peanut Butter Chocolate | Harbor Item Number 0910203

Hot Dispensed Evolves with Times

January 30, 2019

With the abundance of ready-to-drink, cold brew and nitro varieties of coffee and tea trending today, and consumers looking for more varieties and customization, convenience store operators must continually adjust their hot dispensed beverage programs to maintain maximum profitability.

While the motivators for beverage consumption remain the same as always—a boost of energy in the morning and a pick-me-up in the afternoon—consumers, especially younger ones, are always looking for new products to satisfy their needs, according to Mark DiDomenico, director, client services for Datassential research firm.

For some, that could be switching from hot dispensed beverages to ready-to-drink (RTD) from the cooler. For others it might be a new exotic brew or limited time offer (LTO) creamer to add a different flavor to their coffee.

As Millennials and Gen Z consumers take over the primary age demographics, their preferences in food and drink are increasingly driving sales, DiDomenico pointed out.

“These younger consumers are looking for beverage options that combine flavor, authenticity, functionality and a sense of adventure,” DiDomenico said. “That could be anything from kombucha to herbal teas.”

When it comes to coffee, 100% Colombian has been around for a long time, but now a growing number of retailers are becoming more specific, highlighting different geo-specific regions of counties or even specific farms, he explained.

 

“There’s a mystique about taste and quality that goes along with these coffees similar to wines,” DiDomenico added.

At the same time, some things have stayed the same. For example, French vanilla has been the No. 1 favorite coffee flavor, and hazelnut No. 2, for at least 20 to 30 years. And, people like to experiment with flavors through LTOs. DiDomenico said that as a nod to the preferences of younger consumers, operators may want to add some plant-based milks and natural sugars such as turbinado sugar and Stevia to their coffee bars.

SERVING UP PROMOTIONS
Special deals on coffee can also increase customer awareness and sales of hot dispensed beverages.

At Big 10 Mart, which has 15 locations in Iowa and Illinois, hot dispensed beverage sales were down 14% during the first three quarters of 2018 versus 2017, reported Jacque Hager, director of retail operations for the chain.

“We attributed this to more competition and a hotter summer,” she explained.

To try and combat those declining sales, the company implemented a 99-cent price point on any size coffee on Mondays. As a result, Big 10 Mart saw a 15% increase in hot dispensed beverage sales during the fourth quarter versus the previous year.

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What’s On Trend For 2019? Meat Snacks.

January 9, 2019

Meat Snacks continue their explosive growth, averaging 7+% growth per year for the past 5 years, and is projected to hit $3 Billion in 2018. Meat Snack growth is in the top 5% of all food category growth in retail stores. Meat Snacks remain the top seller in c-store alternative snacks, with sales racking up more than double that of health, energy and protein bars. In the 52 weeks ending on September 22nd, 2018 meat snacks sales in convenience stores totaled over $1.5 billion, a 3.6% increase from the same period in 2017, according to Nielsen.

Meat Snacks are up 30% in sales growth over the last 5 years.

Consumer lifestyle changes are one reason for Meat Snack growth. High protein, paleo, keto and mediterranean diets are popular. There are 35 million

households with at least one person on a diet. Claims fueling the growth are all natural preservatives, and clean label ingredients.

Meat Snacks are growing +1.1% in Northwest convenience store market this year. Harbor Wholesale Meat Snacks growth is +6.0%, six times the growth of NW
Convenience. Most notably, consumers are switching to larger sized packages. For example, standard (3-5 oz.) size jerky sales declined ($783,555) in the Northwest, while large and extra-large (>5.0 oz.) jerky/sticks grew +$1.2 million! Large and extra-large sizes now represent 28% of jerky sales, which is double from a few years ago. Popular large size products on the Harbor schematic include Oberto 9 oz. jerky and Old Trapper 10 oz. jerky. These items are a great way to increase basket ring in the store.

American households spend an average of $25.81 per year on meat snacks. Their pre-trip spend on sticks and jerky at $7.42 is also twice as much as it is on staples like potato chips, which are at $3.61, and popcorn, which totals $4.01, according to Nielsen. In terms of age groups, baby boomers are the biggest buyers, spending $28.48 per year, making them 10% more likely to buy meat snacks than the average shopper.

Meat Sticks grew +0.7% in the Northwest this year. Oberto Cocktail Pep and Smok-A-Roni are the top two selling stick items which can be merchandised either in a caddy or pegged, and have the highest dollar growth within Harbor Wholesale Meat Stick products. Slim Jim Monster 1.94 oz. items are highly ranked items that are growing in the Northwest and in the Harbor portfolio.

Bulk products account for 22% of sales dollars.

Bulk, or unwrapped jerky represents 22% of total meat snack sales. The Tillamook bulk program is the most popular modular floor display.
The Oberto Cocktail Pep acrylic counter top display is the highest volume at Harbor.

What’s On Trend For Foodservice In 2019? Green and Healthy Options.

December 10, 2018

Many of the industry publications are predicting that “green” and “better for you” options will trend through the year.  When broken down these are driven by individual needs and tastes of customers, meaning that what customers are looking for are customizable options, something that meets their individual tastes or desires in the moment.  Snacks and small meal items continue to grow in popularity because they are easy to manage and provide smaller portions, satisfying that immediate need.

Delivery will start to be a bigger and bigger opportunity.  As c-stores begin creating signature tastes and options to compete with small restaurants and fast casual food, getting food directly into the mouths of customers will be of utmost importance.  The easiest way to do this is to leverage current technologies and participate with Uber Eats and other food delivery services.  Customers looking for local options will see that convenience as a category has exactly what they need in that customized eating experience they are demanding.

Technology will also be used to drive customer dedication and brand development.  Fast casual locations are already using apps, games and coupon codes to drive business through their doors and to compete with these digital innovations c-stores will need to invest in development of technology on many levels.

The good news is that implementation of the solutions which let c-stores take advantage of these trends is becoming easier.  Many vendors are well aware of these trends and are creating products to fill these needs.  From Tyson’s Nothing Added Ever (NAE) line to smaller portions being packed.  On the technology side there are many firms, including NCR, that are developing digital menu systems and providing platforms to allow customers to place and customize orders.

Get To Know Split Shift Coffee Company

November 12, 2018

We recently sat down with Stephen Zirschky, Coffee Program Manager at Harbor, to learn more about our new coffee brand, Split Shift.

Tell us a little about the development of Split Shift.

I always like to say “your brand is your promise” – it’s a platform for you to create an opinion in someone’s mind about what you’re about. Whatever a person’s opinion of you…they’re right in their mind. Split Shift is about putting your nose to the grindstone and getting [it] done – a coffee for the working class, those that work a split shift and do what it takes to accomplish their dreams. We want to showcase the classic Americana mindset & entrepreneurial spirit in every avenue: in our customers and the end coffee drinker both.

Who is the target audience of this new brand?

I think I partly answered this in the question above, but we are putting a lot of focus on the American working class – we take a lot of pride in getting our hands dirty to do whatever it takes to meet our goals, and want to recognize those that do the same. That being said, we want this brand to stand in any circle of life…the first phrase we used to describe Split Shift was “everyone’s cup of joe”. Whether you’re working that split shift, have yet to enter the work force, or flying a private jet to your next big venture – we want this to be the coffee for you.

How do I know if a store is a good fit for the new coffee brand?

I would first ask what do you want to get from your coffee bar? Split Shift was built with the goal of sustainability & profitability in mind. We want to grow the bottom line through increasing the amount of people drinking your coffee. The industry itself is in a state of flux. Starbucks is invading the convenience space more than ever & major chains are all moving in the direction to imitate Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and McDonalds in terms of quality, customization and variety. The old adage is going to ring true – “if you’re not first, you’re last”. If you’ve been serving the same thing for the last 3-5 years, it’s time to take a look at what’s new with us.

What are you most excited about in regards to Split Shift?

We’re extremely passionate about coffee (as you can tell). What I’m most excited about is that we are able to express that passion through Split Shift. Everything from the brand imagery to the origin & roasting was handled by us & tailor made to our specifications. What that means is that not only can you see our obsession, but that if anything doesn’t jive with what we want this brand to be…we can change it. That’s what’s so cool about the entrepreneurial spirit, right? Taking your destiny into your own hands?

Tell us about the Coffee Blends for Split Shift, what are the different options?

We have a small army of single origin & blends in our lineup as of today:

  • Two types of “house blends” one for use with milk & one that tastes best black
  • Two dark roasts, one meant for putting hair on your chest and the other as a dessert coffee
  • A light roast that showcases all the elements of a bright/light bodied coffee
  • Two single origins (for now) – a Costa Rican and a Sumatran
  • Three “flavored” coffees for some of our markets that show an affinity to specific flavors (i.e. vanilla or hazelnut)
  • While not caffeinated, we can’t forget about our decaf! We took the best elements of our “original” house blend and replicated the flavor profile

Why should someone add Split Shift to their store?

To touch on what I said a few moments ago – Split Shift was created to help grow business & give the end consumer the kind of quality they pay $3 more for in a drive-thru. We obsessed over the construction of this brand. With all the time, energy and passion it took, we did not want to do so just to add another notch to our portfolio, but to make a major difference in the industry. Now is the time to rebrand the term “gas station coffee”, as I like to say.

 

Spotlight Foodservice: Nisqually Markets

November 12, 2018

From the moment you walk into Nisqually Market you see their dedication to providing quality products and innovative solutions to their customers.  Beyond their modern and eye-catching displays and the cleanliness of the location, they have a bustling Quick Service Restaurant business and a full coffee bar serving Watertown premium coffees.

The push for innovation goes beyond the displays and ensuring that their customers have everything that they need.  A few years ago they were using a standard four ounce breakfast burrito at the center of their breakfast program.  Alongside our Foodservice Developer Fritz Haberland, Deli Manager Jackie used key ingredients to put together a breakfast burrito that cut cost, increased margin and provided customers a full 12 ounce burrito for their morning commute.

Moving to making burritos themselves has helped them build this signature item, drive traffic through their store and differentiate themselves from other stores in the area.  Our Foodservice team works diligently with our customers every day to build solutions like the breakfast burrito at Nisqually Market.

Jackie says that the burritos are easy to make and are a key item in their hot case every day, becoming a staple alongside their coffee for the morning commute.

From the moment you walk into Nisqually Market you see their dedication to providing quality products and innovative solutions to their customers.  Beyond their modern and eye-catching displays and the cleanliness of the location, they have a bustling Quick Service Restaurant business and a full coffee bar serving Watertown premium coffees.

The push for innovation goes beyond the displays and ensuring that their customers have everything that they need.  A few years ago they were using a standard four ounce breakfast burrito at the center of their breakfast program.  Alongside our Foodservice Developer Fritz Haberland, Deli Manager Jackie used key ingredients to put together a breakfast burrito that cut cost, increased margin and provided customers a full 12 ounce burrito for their morning commute.

Over the course of a few years this burrito has become a staple at Nisqually Market with customers stopping in every morning to get them before they sell out.  Preparation is easy with all of the work done the night before.  Tortillas are spread with sausage gravy, topped with hashbrowns, eggs, cheese and bacon or ham.  They make 40 burritos which are wrapped, placed on baking sheets and stored overnight in the cooler.  The morning crew takes the burritos out and cooks them up, one tray at a time only using 15 minutes of their time to be set for the rush.

Moving to making burritos themselves has helped them build this signature item, drive traffic through their store and differentiate themselves from other stores in the area.  Our Foodservice team works diligently with our customers every day to build solutions like the breakfast burrito at Nisqually Market.

Jackie says that the burritos are easy to make and are a key item in their hot case every day, becoming a staple alongside their coffee for the morning commute.

Cold & Flu Season Is Here

October 3, 2018

Cold and Flu season has come early this year, and Harbor has you covered by offering a variety of cold and flu related products. Don’t let your customers be sick this season by stocking your store with cold and flu items. Some of these items include:

2440361 – Nyquil Liquid Original

2440371 – Nyquil Liquid Cherry

2380002 – Nyquil Liquidcaps

2440391 – Dayquil Liquid

2380001 – Dayquil Liquidcaps

2380032 – Theraflu Day Severe Cold Cough

2380033 – Theraflu Night Severe Cold Cough

2220011 – Tylenol Child Chewable Bubblegum

2440001 – Tylenol Cold Multi Symptoms Night

2440000 – Tylenol Cold Multi Symptoms Day

 

There are also some everyday preventative actions that can help stop the spread of germs. Cover your cough and practice good hygiene by using soap and water or alcohol- based hand sanitizer. Avoid close contact with sick individuals, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you get sick, make sure you limit contact with others. Keep your customers, and employees, healthy this season by carrying Cold& Flu products.

Get Ready For National Coffee Day on September, 29th 2018

September 7, 2018

Have you felt it?

The cool, crisp air that persists past noon, the glowing orange of Pumpkin Spice-everything, the soft patter of UGG boots across concrete…It must be COFFEE SEASON! It is the time of year soda sales begin to take a back seat to an uptick in your hot beverage sales. Do you have what it takes to take advantage of the season?

Over 60% of all adults in the U.S. drink coffee daily – and the average consumption increases +30% between September-February. With that increased traffic, the factors that influence consumer traffic becomes much more visible.

Coffee consumers have become increasingly aware of what they’re drinking, not just the price of what they’re drinking. In addition, the options to customize beverages have become a driving factor to all of us. Yes, the days of a cheap cup of coffee are buried next to bell-bottom jeans and my childhood dreams of being an astronaut.

The point is this: customers have many options when it comes to choosing where to buy their coffee. To recognize and adapt to this rising competition means growth potential in the category. Sales data shows that the right program & products can increase annual sales by +12-27%!

What does the “right program” look like for you? While the answer looks different in every market, some common themes emerge:

  • High quality coffee
  • Coffee Variety (multiple options, roasts & blends)
  • Customization options (i.e. creamers, sweeteners, flavorings)
  • A loyalty program (Buy 5 Get 1 Free)

Daily coffee consumption is increasing +6% each year! You owe it to your customers (and your bottom line) to take a look at what you offer and why you offer your current beverage products.

 

National Coffee Day is right around the corner on Saturday, September 29th. Make sure and have your store ready by having the best coffee, and coffee selection for your customers!

Get To Know Brakebush

September 7, 2018

In 1925, Bill and Otto Brakebush bought a Chevy truck and went into business buying and reselling eggs.  From Westfield, Wisconsin, they delivered their product to Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago.  Bill and Otto started more than a business, they established a proud tradition, one that would thrive and grow into the next century.

Today, Brakebush remains a family owned company under the leadership of Carl Brakebush.  Third generation family members hold key management positions in the company including Purchasing; Research & Development; Operations; IT; Facilities Management and Transportation.

Commitment to reinvest in the company through multiple plant expansions; installation of state-of-the-art equipment, and its people have secured jobs for over 1,900 team members.

Brakebush continues to be guided by the principles of trust, honesty and respect for fellow employees, integrity, forgiveness and commitment.

Brakebush has had a long record of success and its product line continues to expand to meet the changing demands of its customers.    The company vision is to be the leading US family owned supplier of great tasting chicken to the food industry

Brakebush Brothers family business started with one truck in 1925.  Farming sandy soil had its challenges so the brothers took an entrepreneurial risk to begin taking local livestock and poultry to major markets in Madison and Milwaukee.

As their business grew, they bought eggs from local grocers and sold them where greater demand existed.   In a logical next move, Brakebush began picking up live poultry, dressing and freezing it as a service to their customers.   A dressing and freezing facility was built and this started Brakebush in the food industry.

What started with one truck has grown to a fleet of over 35 with product produced in three production facilities (a fourth in Mocksville, North Carolina will be up and running in spring 2019)

Today Brakebush continues to provide the highest quality chicken products to the food service industry.

50% of the third generation is involved in key management positions within the company.

A love for transportation from its founders has allowed Brakebush to branch off a separate trucking and transportation business.   Under the leadership of Carey Brakebush, Brakebush Transportation now has a fleet of trailers handling the majority of company shipments plus work with other Wisconsin based food companies assisting them with their transportation needs.

The same values that drive the Brakebush business also drive their community involvement.   These values are past down to family members and future generations.

Brakebush currently employs 1100 people in Westfield; 725 at its Irving, Texas location and 75 at the Wells, Mn. facility.  165 or 15% of Westfield team members have been with the company for 20+ years.

The family also feels it’s important to give back and does this through programs like Feeding America and the American Cancer Society; and contributions to local fire and rescue departments and food pantries.  Brakebush serves as the Wisconsin branch for Orphan Grain Train.  Through its support, 42 truckloads of food, clothing and medical supplies were shipped to locations around the world.   In fact, 10% of net income goes to charity via a family charitable trust.

Located in a small town with a population of 1,250, it’s important to both Brakebush and the community to provide local employment.  Additionally, the company believes in being active and supportive in their communities through volunteerism.

Brakebush customers prosper through innovative solutions and highly personalized relationships. Brakebush treats its customers, suppliers, employees and all people associated with the business as they wish to be treated; be socially responsible; and work to continuously improve all aspects of the business.

Brakebush prides itself on purchasing supplies and raw materials from local and Wisconsin companies.  100% of pallets, boxes and labels and 40% of seasonings are purchased from Wisconsin based companies.

Being an agricultural company, the family understands its impact and responsibility to the environment and local communities.   With over 2000 acres of forest and farmland, Brakebush has a negative carbon footprint and has many other sustainability initiatives in place.

Winning with Coffee

August 29, 2018

Whether it’s served by a barista, or made by a well-designed brewing machine, good coffee helps c-store sales flow.

The U.S. retail value growth for ready-to-drink coffees is projected to reach nearly $1.6 billion between 2017 and 2022, according to Euromonitor International. Conversely, cold brew has experienced 150% revenue growth in the past year.

Despite those impressive growth tracks, quality hot coffee programs are helping drive convenience store foodservice sales.

Fresh coffee remains a hot prospect in convenience stores, even in the face of newer innovations in the packaged coffee arena, according to industry experts and convenience store managers.

In 2017, hot dispensed beverages were the second largest category in foodservice at 14% of sales, according to data from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) State of the Industry Report for 2017. Coffee continued to lead this category, making up 58.6% of sales, followed by cappuccino (18.5%) and refills (12.2%). Competition for convenience store retailers in hot dispensed beverages comes primarily from quick-service restaurants (QSR).

The cappuccino subcategory has performed strongly between 2015 and 2017, and it showed improvement in 2017 in average store sales, gross profit dollars and gross margin percentage. Customers want their coffee fresh, affordable and consistent, according to NACS.

Specialty hot coffee is also a rising star in the coffee world, according to data from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). The market share of specialty coffee, in cups, increased from 40% in 2010 to 59% in 2017, with an average of three cups consumed per day, per drinker.

RAISING THE BAR
Coffee consultant Bruce Milletto, president of Portland, Ore.-based Bellissimo Coffee Advisors, sees a tremendous opportunity for convenience stores to tap into the specialty coffee market.

“In the last five years, convenience stores have raised the bar on quality of coffee they serve,” said Milletto. “They’ve seen the many advantages of premium coffee given the fact that people will stop in to get coffee, and end up getting something else.”

Milletto noted that coffee provides a high-profit margin way to draw traffic into the store, but emphasizes the importance of quality and freshness in convenience store coffee.

“Once a customer has had a great cup of coffee, their palate remembers that, and they aren’t going back to drinking poorly made coffee that’s been left out for hours,” said Milletto.

In fact, a quality hot coffee bar is a way to draw more customer traffic to the convenience store.

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