Love’s travel stores kick off private-label snack line with gummy candies

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Love's choice to launch its private-label line with gummies underscores the power of non-chocolate confections today.
Love's choice to launch its private-label line with gummies underscores the power of non-chocolate confections today.

Related tags Convenience foods Convenience stores Candy Gummy Confectionery Fruit snacks Private label New product launches

The US convenience store and gas station introduced branded snacks on June 12, starting with gummy bears and worms, as well as fruit rings.

Other candies include starlight mints, French burnt peanuts, heart-shaped cherry sours and assorted fruit slices, according to a release. Each bag runs for an RRP of $1.69. As of June 25, shoppers can snag two bags for $3.

“This line provides our customers good value, innovative flavors and offers they can’t find anywhere else,”​ said Wade Hollis, senior manager of category buyers for merchandise. “These products further define our commitment to highway hospitality and being the one-stop shop for travel needs.”

Founded in 1964 in Oklahoma City, the family-owned and operated company runs nearly 500 stores in 41 US states, employing more than 24,000 people.

The company said the line ‘represents its entrepreneurial culture’ that supports new products and services. Distributing its own candy also helps keep shelves stocked. Love’s said it will introduce more snacks later this year.

F&B hugely important to convenience channel

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), food and beverage accounted for 22.6% of 2018 in-store sales – more than 10% of which are snacks, baked goods or candy.

More than a third of customers stopping at a gas station head into the store to purchase a snack, the NACS found. Another 42% are looking for a beverage, while 11% buy grocery items, such as milk or produce.

Overall, the NACS estimates that candy comprises less than 5% of in-store sales​ at US stores, but the trade group emphasizes the importance of indulgence dollars. It does not track private label sales, NACS told ConfectioneryNews, but noted that a number of large convenience chains have launched private label lines in recent years.

Love’s choice to start with gummy candies underscores the power of the non-chocolate confections category, which has surged 15% in the past five years – exceeding $8bn in sales, according to Mintel. Gummies now account for about half​ of that number.

Private label growth

The US has only recently latched onto the viability of private label, which research firm Nielsen attributes in part to connectivity afforded by the internet. Many consumers view private label as ‘equivalent or substitutable’ to major brands, with quality as ‘good and getting better.’

Where the top 20 CPG food manufacturers lost value growth in 2017, for example, private label grew nearly 2%.

Two-thirds of consumers globally view private label products as an ‘extremely good value,’ Nielsen found, while 71% believe that quality has improved.

Additionally, convenience stores hold a particularly unique position in the future of private label and the innovation inherent to that space – especially as store footprints shrink and alternative store formats become go-to destinations.

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