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What’s Heating Up C-Store Breakfast?

May 22, 2017

Consumers on the lookout for hearty, portable breakfast items

C-store breakfasts are huge—and only getting bigger. More than half (55%) of consumers buy c-store breakfast items at least once a month, more than at any other daypart, according to Technomic’s October 2016 C-Store Market Intelligence Report.

Consumers are on the lookout for hearty, portable breakfast items to grab with coffee or an energy drink to start their days. Bundled breakfast deals or loyalty-based promotions can be a good way to drive business of value-minded customers.

Here’s a look at some of the fastest-growing opportunities in the c-store breakfast market:

Breakfast Sandwiches

Breakfast handhelds are big throughout all food-industry segments, including c-stores. Menu mentions of breakfast sandwiches at c-stores are up 8.9% over the last two years, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor data. And 51% of consumers say they would buy c-store breakfast sandwiches, at least occasionally, according to Technomic’s C-Store Market Intelligence Report.

Whether on a biscuit, English muffin, toast or other bread, these protein-packed sandwiches are popular with on-the-go consumers. Trending proteins include bacon, sausage, ham, turkey sausage and chicken. Tyson recently rolled out a new and improved Jimmy Dean® chicken biscuit sandwich, upsizing and upgrading it to compete with similar fare offered in QSR restaurants.

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Maximizing Summer Opportunities

May 19, 2017

Often, the difference between great sales and mediocre sales is attention to detail. There are certain tasks that c-stores can accomplish that will generate a positive impression in the mind of a customer.

By Jim Callahan

Strong retail sales growth in January and February indicate that consumers are still confident in the U.S. economy.

Indicators of consumer confidence are hitting highs not seen in a decade and should bolster the U.S. economy even more in 2017, according to a recent Kiplinger report.

While it may feel a bit premature to begin forming—then executing—a summer plan that begins with the long Memorial Day weekend and ends with the Labor Day weekend is, be assured most of the major players in retail have already mapped out their plans for the entire year and are thinking beyond summer and looking at holiday strategies.

But, let’s tackle one season at a time. Now is the time to prepare your stores—inside and out. That might include everything from new windshield squeegees for motorists who pull in to fill up; to a new beer cave with an automatic temperature control that keeps the product at a steady temperature.

THINGS BIG AND SMALL
Of course, squeegees are a lot more economical then a beer cave. In the end, your operational budget will dictate the level of upgrades. Still, the point of this article is to remind retailers to keep their eyes on the details, no matter how big or how small.

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Meet David!

May 16, 2017

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born in South Bend, IN, but grew up in Paradise Valley, AZ. I am the youngest of four siblings, all of which I maintain strong relationships with. I am fortunate to have the family and parents I do, who always supported me in sports, academics and my unique endeavors throughout the years. I moved from Colorado with my wonderful girlfriend, Madeline, specifically to work for Harbor Wholesale Foods. We live in Tigard, OR and enjoy exploring Oregon and Washington in our free time.

 

How long have you worked at Harbor Wholesale Foods?

Since October 24th, 2016.

 

What made you want to work in Foodservice Development?

I have always worked in hospitality, customer service, and sales, all of which are very closely related. My first job was at a Dairy Queen and my most recent job was with Sysco Foods. I have a passion for customer service and firmly believe that customer satisfaction is the backbone of any successful business. Independent research of Harbor combined with a facility tour and meeting the people who operate the Lacey distribution center solidified my desire to move to Oregon and accept the role of Foodservice Developer.

 

What areas do you cover?

I cover most of Oregon and parts of Washington, up and down the coast, to Bend, to Goldendale and everything in between. I have the pleasure of working with seven very smart and goal oriented Territory Sales Representatives that make my job fun and rewarding. Living in the Portland area, I travel on average 3-500 miles per week.

 

What does a day at work look like for you?

No two days with Harbor have been the same yet, some days I prospect, other days I work more as an account manager, and some days I put my gloves on and hand bread chicken tenders. Strange and trying at times, I have found this role to be more challenging and rewarding than any other job I have previously had. I understand why so many employees at Harbor have 10+ years with the company!

 

What is your favorite thing about your job?

My favorite part of this job would be the people I work with. Within Harbor, I have the pleasure of working with intelligent, driven and genuinely good people that I am constantly learning from. They are the daily reminders that I found a company to grow with, not just a job that pays the bills. Our customers are all unique individuals that range from serial entrepreneurs, chain operators and high educated business people, to family oriented “mom & pop” types. All of which continuously restore my faith in the future of American business and entrepreneurship.

 

If you were to use on work to describe Harbor, what would it be?

Transparency. From the published book pricing we give our customers, to the vision and future of the company that our sales leaders communicate, Harbor is an incredibly transparent and honest company with values that attract the best people in the industry.

 

Do you have any hobbies?

I have many hobbies that I enjoy doing by myself, or with loved ones that play an important role in my health and well-being like hiking, mountain biking, and running outdoors. In the winter I love to downhill and cross-country ski, and enjoy indoor training like weightlifting and yoga. I like to stay busy building things, and I put great emphasis on continued learning, reading and teaching myself new skills whether it be stock investing or gardening.

 

If you were a snack item, what snack item would you be?

Kind Bar. Not because of the name, but because I eat one almost every day. There’s a lot of good stuff in those.

 

What is one interesting fact about you?

I can walk on my hands and spin a basketball on all of my fingers. Not at the same time, that would be impossible.

Millennials Are Driving Demand for Healthier Snacks

May 15, 2017

Study suggests that millennials are the driving force behind growth in better-for-you snacks.   

​AUSTIN, Texas – A new study by Amplify Snack Brands Inc. and the Center for Generational Kinetics suggests that millennials are the driving force behind the growth of the better-for-you snack category.

The research revealed that healthier snacks have become widely available across the country, break the income barrier, and are being held to the same standards of universal taste appeal as their conventional products. The result, says Amplify, is that healthy is the new normal.

The study’s white paper, available for download at amplifysnackbrands.com/research, cites research-based insights into better-for-you snacking trends and how to engage millennials by understanding their perceptions, motivations and behaviors when it comes to snacking. For example:

  • Millennials expect great taste: 78% describe better-for-you snacks as tasting the same or better than traditional packaged snacks.
  • Less is more: 64% of millennials, more than any other generation, believe that fewer ingredients mean a snack is healthier. In addition, 79% said that understanding all the ingredients increases their level of trust in a packaged snack.

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Kick Off The Summer With Harbor Wholesale Foods!

May 12, 2017

May has finally arrived and we’re getting ready to emerge from the longest and wettest winter in the Northwest since 1895.  Wow! Harbor’s been around for 94 years and never seen this much rain?

There’s no looking back, only looking forward to the busy selling season ahead of us!  Northwest residents have a lot of pent up travel and vacation time ahead, let’s work together to make sure your store or restaurant is their convenient destination of choice along the way.  This week is significant, with several awesome new products and promotions ordered at our tradeshows in March shipping to your stores.

Is your store or restaurant properly stocked with adequate supply of the products your busy customers will be looking for?  Remember, whether you’re a restaurant, convenience store, or a local resort your customers will be looking for fast and convenient service.   Together we survived a wet and potentially slow winter, and likely cut back on labor to keep our costs under control.  Now’s a great time to get staffed up for the seasonal boost. We suggest scheduling adequate time to train new staff to provide an excellent experience for your guests. Today’s job market can be challenging, but maybe there’s some part-time staff available to jump in and help through the busy months.

We’re here to support you along the way.  More prepared than ever, our warehouses are stocked with inventory and our team is staffed up and ready to serve. We are Obsessed With Your Success, and ready to ensure that your sales and profits are maximized through the summer season and beyond.

Please speak with your local salesperson for suggestions and ideas for maximizing your sales.  We are your trusted advisors, here to suggest products, display ideas, merchandising solutions, menu items, promotions, and price points that earn your customers’ business and benefit you with strong margins. With additions in our own staffing like our Foodservice Program Manager, Lisa Fretz and Coffee Program Manager, Stephen Zirschky, we’re even more equipped to help you with ideas to grow sales.

We’re in this together, Obsessed With Your Success so we can maximize your opportunity this summer! Let’s work to set new records for sales instead of rainfall! 

Thank you for your continued trust and support.

Justin Erickson
CEO

Millennials, Gen Z Seek Out Healthy Oils, Fats

May 12, 2017

As younger customers look for less processed, natural foods, minimally-processed fats are becoming appealing.

Dietary guidelines, for three decades have urged customers to cut fat and saturated fat from the American diet, but such a mindset is evolving.

Millennials and Generation Z consumers are the most inclined to view any type of fat not only as permissible, but as offering positive health benefits, according to Food Formulation Trends: Oils and Fats, a new report by market research firm Packaged Facts.

“This is the culinary revolution of the Instagram generation,” said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “These young adults are unencumbered by the low-fat crazes of the 1990s and 2000s, and do not have to overcome negative perceptions about fat in general. Instead, they are able to readily embrace and seek out specific plant-based and animal-based fats for their health benefits, including fat from avocados, olive oil, eggs, butter and omega-3 rich fish such as salmon.”

Packaged Facts forecasts that over the next few years, the foods most successful with these younger consumers will be those that contain minimally processed fats and oils that are free of GMOs and may even be organic. The report found that Millennial and younger consumers, in particular, seek to avoid overly processed foods and ingredients, potentially boosting the appeal of natural, unrefined oils.

When more description is included, it is likely to indicate naturalness and less processing, such as “raw,” “virgin,” “extra-virgin,” “unrefined,” “expeller-pressed,” and “cold-pressed” rather than “hydrogenated,” “refined,” “fractionated” and “solvent extracted.” For example, when it comes to dairy products, the natural, full-fat versions of butter, milk and cheese are more likely to be sought out because they are more natural and less processed.

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Meet Bill!

May 10, 2017

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born and raised in Aberdeen, the same birthplace of Harbor. I am married and have 4 amazing children. I have been in the retail industry for my entire working life, my first 2 jobs were in retail stores. In 2006 I started my path in working the distribution side of the business at my local Pepsi distribution center. I worked in many positions there that gave me a great experience in different fields of the business. I found that I had a great passion for sales. When the opportunity came up to work for Harbor I took it, and have never been happier!

 

How long have you worked at Harbor?

Just shy of 4 years.

 

What made you want to work in Sales?

I like being out and about. I love interacting face to face with our customers and their customers in stores. I really want to be a reason to see Harbor grow.

 

What areas do you cover?

I cover from Kamilche (just outside Olympia) all the way up to Fife.

 

What does a day at work look like for you?

I call on as many accounts in a particular geographic area as I can. I assist them in finding new items to drive sales. I give them fresh ideas for product placement or refer our amazing merchandisers to the store for more extensive resets. We have our monthly promotional book that we go through to see how we can give the store some nice margin growth for that month and showcase some of the latest goods to hit the market. Last but not least, I always leave each account with a smile and thank them for their business. I do this not out of habit, but out of the most sincerity, without their business partnership we wouldn’t be where we are today.

 

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Going out and interacting with our customers, showing them value and helping them grow their business!

 

If you were to use one word to describe Harbor, what would it be?

Family.

 

Do you have any hobbies?

With my kids being little I just love being a Dad. My kids and my wife are my world. Aside form that, I enjoy going to rock concerts and camping.

 

If you were a snack item, what snack item would you be?

The new Caramel M&M’s. I’m fresh and innovative, and every one of our competitors accounts don’t have me, but wish I was there.

 

What is one interesting fact about you?

I have played the violin since I was 10 and the drums since 15.

4 Social Media Tips for Retailers

May 8, 2017

Kay-Tee Olds, known online as The Mobile Contessa, shared tips on best practices for social media during CSP’s Loyalty Forum in Chicago.

Most of Olds’ presentation was focused on real-world interactions between convenience stores and customers concerning loyalty programs, but it became clear when the floor was opened to questions that retailers were hungry for advice on the constantly changing social-media landscape.

Here are four tips Olds shared on managing a successful social-media strategy …

1. Navigating multi-channel options

When one retailer asked whether each of his stores should have its own Facebook page, Olds’ answer was swift and blunt: “I’d shut that down today.” She said it would be a logistical nightmare to try to manage so many different pages and that it’s important to keep a brand’s message unified.

Another attendee said that he uses a different tone on Facebook and Twitter when interacting online with customers, and asked if this was a sound practice. Olds again stressed the importance of a unified message, but pointed out differences between platforms.

While brands can get away with around 12 Twitter posts a day without bothering followers, Olds said more than two posts a day on Facebook can be annoying. She also encouraged attendees to examine what they’re doing to get followers of one platform engaged in others.

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Nielson Identifies Top Flavor Trends For Snacks

May 5, 2017

BBQ, brown sugar, coconut and curry ranked high in consumer preference

NEW YORK — Americans spent almost $27.7 billion on salty snacks in the year that ended Feb. 25, 2017. That’s up 4.6% in dollar sales compared to the previous year. This growing opportunity is a big one for convenience stores and the manufacturers that are helping to stock those shelves.

As a result, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers in the snack category are working to innovate their offering in more creative and flavorful ways. Nielsen’s new Quick Screen tool is designed to help fast-moving CPG manufacturers test new product concept ideas overnight. Nielsen’s research shows that almost half of the new products that brands test with consumers don’t address a real need. And because of that, many new items struggle to succeed, wasting money on production, distribution, marketing and advertising. Quick Screen is designed to test new-product ideas overnight and then evaluate the results based on consumer “need and uniqueness” to determine which ones have the most potential.

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A Day In The Life Of General Sales Manager Neil Harmon

May 4, 2017

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work on the Harbor Sales Team? On April 26th, 2017 Harbor conducted a Social Media Takeover where General Sales Manager Neil Harmon shared what he does during a typical day. In case you missed the takeover on Harbor’s Social Media pages, enjoy the following photos, and experience the day in the life of a General Sales Manager at Harbor Wholesale Foods!

Good morning Followers! Follow along today as I share what it’s like to work on the Harbor Sales Team! It’s 6:50AM and I am hopping into the “Time Machine”. I call it a time machine because I spend a lot of time in here!

Checking in at the office with the HW crew. We’re always growing! New racks going up for new product!

Hitting the road with Summer. Time to meet some customers and prospective customers!

Filling some voids with Vandi at Kwik Pik to get a bigger WAM rebate check! Our Sales Team has awesome tools to help ensure our customers’ success. WAM Portal, MobilNAV, and the Harbor Wholesale Foods Portal to briefly name a few!

Quick bite for lunch! Hmm.. Chicken or a fresh made sub?!

Leaving no stone unturned in our search for a skilled sales leader to lead our North RDC Sales Team! If you’re interested in joining our awesome team, get more info on the Regional Sales Manager role here: http://www.harborwholesale.com/about-harbor/careers/

We’re heading south for the next hour or so back to Roseburg to travel to our last stop of the day, Lil Pantry Express Roseburg! Hope everyone had fun seeing some of what we do. Until next time!