6 healthy products coming to a convenience store near you
Every year, the NACS Show features the newest products in convenience retailing. Snacks, beverages, coffee — you name it. If it’s sold in a convenience store, you can bet it’s at this event. This year, more than 25,000 attendees traveled to the C-store industry event at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
If you read my last post, then you know that I arrived there on a road trip: I traveled more than 2,500-miles across six states, in six days, eating only at convenience stores. My travel companion is a good friend of mine — Al Hebert, the Gas Station Gourmet. Whereas I enjoy showing people that healthful options do exist inside convenience stores, Al does the opposite.
MORE: I spent 30 days eating at gas stations | How to eat healthy at gas stations
Once we arrived at our destination, Al searched the NACS Show expo floor for the best new indulgent products. I, on the other hand, searched for new and exciting better-for-you options that may arrive soon at convenience stores near you.
Here are six of my favorites:
Tosi | Cashew SuperBites Bar
Finding a healthful snack bar can be tricky. Some brands are packed with sugar, and others make bold claims about their ingredients only to leave you wondering if they’ve stretched the truth. Transparency matters.
While I’ve long been a fan of products from KIND, I was also impressed with Tosi. Featured in the NACS Show’s New Exhibitor Section, Tosi’s vegan snack bars contain ingredients that you can actually see. My favorite, the Cashew SuperBites Bar, consists of only six ingredients.
Hellowater | Flavored water for kids
Every NACS Show has its trendy or popular product categories. Beef jerky was a big hit last year. This time, it seemed everyone was selling bottled water. It wasn’t much of a surprise since sales of bottled water overtook soda in 2017, but Al did turn to me one day and say, “Frank, there’s a lot of water here.”
He’s right, but there’s still room for innovation in bottled water. I was particularly impressed by Hellowater’s new kid-friendly product line. Children’s drinks are notorious for being full of sugar. Hellowater Kids avoids that completely. Each bottle is sugar-free, contains 3g of fiber, and has added vitamins. Perhaps most impressive, they do this while retaining the strong flavor profile that children demand.
PathWater | Bottled water
How many of us have spent $20 or $30 on fancy, artisan water bottles only to damage or lose them? I know I have. It’s frustrating.
PathWater found a simple solution. Their water is packaged in reusable aluminum bottles, but it’s also priced similar to what you’ll find today at your local convenience store. The company also points out that the process of recycling aluminum produces less waste than plastic. “Refill not landfill,” as they say on their website.
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Jarritos | Sparkling water
I’m a huge fan of sparkling water. Sometimes I need a bit of flavor, and it’s a great alternative to soda. At the same time, it’s easy to grow tired of the same familiar brands — or those that don’t really taste like much of anything.
Famous for their glass-bottled soda, Jarritos has introduced a new line of sparkling water, Naturagua, with four flavors: mandarin, lime, peach, and pomegranate. The flavor is refreshing and strong, and the mouthfeel reminds me of my long-time favorite, Topo Chico. I can’t wait to see these in stores.
Revive Kombucha | Flavored kombucha
Kombucha is everywhere these days. I recently stopped at a local Hy-Vee Gas and saw a sign that promoted kombucha recommended by their dieticians. As a longtime fan, I couldn’t be happier. But it’s also true that some kombucha has a harsh, gingery taste that can be off-putting for newcomers.
That’s why I’m impressed with the products from Revive Kombucha. Founder Sean Lovett created the company to solve this dilemma, and the result is a proprietary brewing process with a smooth, delicious product. It’s everything I like about kombucha with none of the drawbacks.
NestFresh | Flavor-infused hard-boiled eggs
Hard-boiled eggs have long been a go-to healthful product at convenience stores. Walk inside, find the cooler, and grab a few eggs. It’s great if you need a snack when you’re on-the-go. But sometimes they can get a bit boring.
Fortunately, NestFresh found a way to fix this. They brought four flavor-infused eggs to the NACS Show and although these reminded me of Easter, I was hooked after trying the mustard version — which tasted exactly like stone-ground mustard spread on top of a hard-boiled egg. I literally had to walk away in order to save room for the samples at other booths.
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Frank Beard is a speaker, writer, and convenience retailing advocate from Des Moines, Iowa. He is also a regular contributor to NACS Daily, NACS Magazine, and an analyst/evangelist for convenience store trends at GasBuddy. You can find Frank on Twitter @FrankBeard, on Instagram @30DaysofGasStationFood, and on LinkedIn.