The Coca-Cola Company returned to the annual National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show to showcase a range of offerings tailored to the industry’s shift to a foodservice destination.
Throughout the four-day event at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which drew attendees from more than 1,200 companies, Coca-Cola showcased innovative beverage, packaging, equipment and services that c-store operators can use to meet the changing needs of shoppers.
“As consumers continue to prioritize affordability and ease of the overall shopping experience, convenience store operators must continue to move toward dining options that retain current customers and attract next generation of shoppers,” said Kevin LeMoyne, Senior Vice President, Customer Leadership, Coca-Cola North America Business Unit. “The industry must look to new technologies such as mobile ordering, while delivering innovative products in a sustainable way to stay competitive and meet changing consumer expectations. We are committed to providing the solutions and resources that support the convenience industry as restoration becomes the priority.
Recognizing that food and beverage sales at convenience stores are strongest in the morning, when commuters stop for breakfast, morning snacks and fuel for the day, Coca-Cola gave the priority to its strong portfolio of ready-to-drink (RTD) and brewed coffee products. solutions. Highlights of the fast-growing range include: Costa Smart Café, an unmanned cafe in a box designed to make and dispense over 100 barista-quality hot and cold beverages; Costa WMF 1500 S+, a versatile countertop machine offering premium coffee specialties with up to three hoppers offering a choice of coffee beans and chocolate powder; Costa Flat White RTD espresso drinks with a thin “flat” layer of steamed milk offered in three flavors – Signature Blend, Mocha and Caramel – in 11 oz. cans; and the Dunkin’ Bakery Series of RTD Iced Coffees launching next spring with three indulgent flavors – Brownie Batter Donut, Cake Batter Donut and Coffee Cake Muffin – inspired by fan-favorite items from the Dunkin’ Bakery.
Beyond the morning day, Coca-Cola offers a broad and constantly evolving product portfolio to suit all tastes and lifestyles, including beverages with less sugar, bold new flavors, improved nutritional benefits and options in new categories, supported by innovative packaging, equipment, merchandising and marketing. Recent and upcoming sparkle innovations include: Sprite® Strawberry Lymonade (launching next summer), a limited-edition version of the beloved lemon-based fizzy drink; a new and improved Fantas orange and Fanta Orange Zero Sugar (launch in 2023); and a limited edition What is Fanta? Halloween Flavor 2023 in 20 oz. bottles and a chilled dispensed format capturing Fanta fans’ desire for new taste experiences with a mysterious profile that doesn’t match its looks.
Updates on the still beverage front include a relaunch of POWERADE and POWERADE Zero in 2023 with new electrolyte-enriched formulations, visual identities, partner athletes and more; alkaline smartwater with antioxidant (spring 2023 launch) with an antioxidant boost and +9.5pH; and a revolutionary sweetener system for vitamin water (launching spring 2023) using monk fruit and stevia for a better taste of its sugar-free offering. Additionally, vitaminwater will be launching two new sugar-free flavors: Forever Coconut Flavor and Raspberry/Dark Chocolate Flavor with love.
Recognizing the changes in consumer consumption habits focused on sustainability, Coca-Cola is partnering with convenience store operators on environmental initiatives supporting the company’s goals of A World Without Waste, including transitioning all DASANI bottles to 100% recycled PET; changing all Sprite plastic packaging from its characteristic green color to a clear color to increase the likelihood that the material will be remade into a new bottle; and connect stores with partners offering reusable solutions like aluminum, fiber and polypropylene cups.
Coca-Cola is working with convenience store customers to meet post-pandemic shopper demand for an easier and better shopping experience with tools like MapFree, which allows operators to quickly launch a digital ordering platform for drive-thru or curbside pickup, and the upcoming launch of a limited-edition 16oz collectible. cans and promotional messages featuring characters from League of Legends: Savage Rift to capture the attention of game fans at the pump and in-store.
“Coca-Cola is perfectly positioned to help convenience retailers transition from fuel to food, given our expertise and leadership in the foodservice space, and our NACS booth is a perfect example of this,” said said Paula Weeks, director of industrial affairs, Coca-Cola. North America business unit. “By taking customers on a journey from pump to purchase, we effectively showcased the solutions, beverages and equipment we offer to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s consumers.”
*Excluding cap and label