Friday, October 12, 2012

Make Dairy Products Convenient

Monday was a very exhausting day, as I flew to Vegas in the wee hours of the morning and spent the afternoon walking the two massive halls of the NACS Show (convenience store show). The effort paid off, as I discovered many innovative new dairy products that will be featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy during the next month. (There were many, and you won’t want to miss any. And these are all real dairy products, not snack foods flavored with cheese or sour cream.

Though c-stores continue to be a destination for parents in need of a quick gallon of milk (view the “got milk?” commercial HERE), there are so many more opportunities for dairy processors to merchandise their wares.

Did you know?
  • There are 148,126 c-stores in the United States—one per every 2,100 people.
  • Other competing channels have far fewer stores, according to Nielsen TDLinx, such as supermarkets (32,924 stores), drug stores (38,526 stores), dollar stores (22,782 stores) and superettes (13,234 stores).
  • The U.S. c-store industry alone serves nearly 160 million customers per day.
  • Cumulatively, in 2011, their $681 billion in sales were more than the sales of the country’s supermarkets ($563 billion) and restaurants ($583 billion) and far greater than drug stores ($222 billion, not including prescriptions).
  • C-stores offer speed of service to time-starved consumers who want to get in and out of the store quickly.
  • The c-store industry also is increasingly a destination for on-the-go refreshment and meals. The average store has more than $20,000 a month in “foodservice” sales.
  • These shoppers recognize this channel of trade for its convenient locations, extended hours of operation, one-stop shopping, grab-and-go foodservice, variety of merchandise and fast transactions.

Are your dairy products convenient? Think cheese cubes and cracker packs, bagels and cream cheese, carrot sticks and sour cream dip, yogurt parfaits, etc.   Are you selling in the c-store channel? The time is now to get on board.  

Other opportunities include partnering with the c-store to offer your branded products as part of their various fresh foodservice programs, including fresh yogurt bars, pizza programs and build-your-own sandwich. And don't forget to offer your branded creamers with their coffee.    

And what best accompanies all of these convenience food options? It’s a single-serve bottle of flavored milk.    

Did you know?
  • Approximately 7.1% of all fluid milk sales occur in c-stores.
  • Almost 10% of milk sold in c-stores is flavored, a higher share than any other retail channel.
  • In 2010, 456-million gallons of milk were sold in c-stores, but unfortunately this figure has declined by more than 10% since 2008.
  • Single-serve milk now represents 10% of all milk in c-stores. Two-thirds of that is flavored milk.
Kudos goes out to Shamrock Farms for their efforts in the c-store channel. This ad appeared in a c-store magazine I picked up at the show.    

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