The Coca‑Cola Company returned to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) annual tradeshow to present an array of offerings tailored to the industry’s shift towards a food and beverage destination.
Throughout the four-day event at the Las Vegas Convention Center—which drew attendees from more than 1,200 companies—Coca‑Cola highlighted innovative beverages, packaging, equipment and service solutions “c-store” operators can utilize to meet shoppers evolving needs.
“As consumers continue to prioritize accessibility and ease of the overall shopping experience, convenience store operators must continue to shift toward offering foodservice options that retain current customers and entice the next generation of shoppers,” said Kevin LeMoyne, Senior Vice President, Customer Leadership, Coca‑Cola North America Operating Unit. “The industry must look to new technologies such as mobile ordering, while offering innovative products in a sustainable manner to remain competitive and meet evolving shopper expectations. We are committed to providing the solutions and resources that support the convenience industry as foodservice becomes the focus.”
Recognizing that c-store food and beverage sales are strongest in the a.m. hours, as commuters stop in for breakfast, morning snacks and fuel for the day, Coca‑Cola prioritized its robust portfolio of ready-to-drink (RTD) and brewed coffee solutions. Highlights of the fast-growing lineup include: Costa Smart Café, an unmanned coffee shop in a box designed to craft and dispense more than 100 barista-quality, hot and cold drinks; Costa WMF 1500 S+, a versatile countertop machine providing premium coffee specialties with up to three hoppers offering a choice of coffee beans and chocolate powder; Costa Flat White RTD espresso-based beverages 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 daypart, Coca‑Cola offers a broad and constantly evolving portfolio of products to satisfy all tastes and lifestyles—including drinks with less sugar, bold new flavors, enhanced nutritional benefits and options within new categories—supported by innovative packaging, equipment, merchandising and marketing. Recent and upcoming sparkling innovations include: Sprite® Lymonade Strawberry (launching next summer), a limited-edition twist on the beloved lemon-line sparkling beverage; a new-and-improved Fanta Orange and Fanta Orange Zero Sugar (launching in 2023); and a limited-edition What the Fanta? Halloween 2023 flavor in 20-oz. bottles and a frozen dispensed format capturing Fanta fans’ desire for new taste experiences with a mystery profile that does not match its appearance.
Updates on the still beverages front include a POWERADE and POWERADE Zero relaunch in 2023 featuring new electrolyte-enhanced formulations, visual identities, athlete partners and more; smartwater alkaline with antioxidant (launching spring 2023) with an antioxidant boost and +9.5pH; and a groundbreaking sweetener system for vitaminwater (launching in spring 2023) utilizing monk fruit and stevia for an improved taste of its zero-sugar offering. In addition, vitaminwater will launch two new zero-sugar flavors: the coconut-flavored forever you and raspberry/dark chocolate-flavored with love.
Recognizing consumers sustainability-driven changes in consumption habits, Coca‑Cola is partnering with c-store operators on environmental initiatives supporting the company’s World Without Waste goals including transitioning all DASANI bottles to 100% recycled PET*; shifting all Sprite plastic packaging from its signature green color to clear to increase the material’s likelihood to be remade into a new bottle; and connecting stores with partners offering reusable solutions like aluminum, fiber and polypropylene cups.
Coca‑Cola is working with convenience retail customers to meet shoppers’ post-pandemic demand for ease and an enhanced shopping experience tools like CardFree, which lets operators quickly launch a digital ordering platform for drive-thru or curbside pickup, and the upcoming launch of a limited-edition collection of collectible 16-oz. cans and promotional messaging featuring characters from League of Legends: Wild Rift to capture gaming fans’ attention at the pump and in the store.
“Coca‑Cola is perfectly positioned to help convenience retailers shift from fuel-forward to food-forward—given our expertise and leadership in foodservice—and our NACS booth exemplified just that,” said Paula Weeks, Director, Industry Affairs, Coca‑Cola North America Operating Unit. “By taking customers on a journey from pump to purchase, we effectively showcased the solutions, beverages and equipment we offer to meet the evolving needs of today’s consumers.”
*Excluding cap and label