More consumers turning to drug, convenience stores for groceries
WASHINGTON Sources across the country, and in the capital city, have reported that more consumers are shopping at their local convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven, and such drug stores as CVS, to buy grocery staples. In many U.S. regions the ease of location and sometimes better prices are enticing more people to buy everything from canned beans and soups to quarts of milk and fresh fruit—even pancake syrup—at local drug and convenience stores.
In its latest annual report, CVS showed that general merchandise sales—into which grocery sales are folded—accounted for 15 percent of its business. While the drug store chain does not market itself as a grocery store, management does hand-select items according to neighborhood. And, in response to growing demand, CVS has made efforts to expand its selection of staple food items, such as bread and milk, sources have reported.
In many places, reports have stated, the move to convenience and drug shopping for groceries is largely a result of simply having more locations in an area. In the Washington, D.C. region, for example, the Washington Post reported that there were 416 7-Elevens and 190 CVS stores in an area where only 32 Whole Foods grocery stores operated.
The Washington Post over the weekend reported on one 7-Eleven franchise owner in Arlington, Va., who was responding to the trend by stocking his store with basic cooking items such as cooking oil, salt and sugar, to match the demand. More people were coming in for chips, crackers, gallons of milk and budget beers, the Post observed.
Folgers cuts coffee canister weight
NEW YORK Procter & Gamble, the sellers of Folgers coffee, said that it has reduced the weight of canisters from 13 ounces down to to 11.3 ounces as part of the company’s move to more “green” coffee production. The lower weight canisters are already on retailers’ shelves across the country at the same price, a company spokesman said.
The company said that the lower weight is a result of a different way of roasting coffee beans that has been tested for at least 10 years and is just as effective as the former method of roasting. Every can will of Folgers coffee will still yield 90 cups, the company added.
“This is not changing the end result to the consumer,” P&G spokesperson, Jen Becker, told the media. “We have an enhanced roasting process that actually derives more flavor from each bean and the roasting process actually makes the beans and the grind lighter.”
In June, J.M. Smucker Co. announced its plans to buy Folgers from P&G.
Premium M&Ms take a new approach to ad treatment
MCLEAN, Va. Mars has been working on a new set of TV ads to pump up the buzz about its new M&M’s Premium Chocolate Candies. Recycling the M&M’s characters who spring to life in the TV ads, with the Premiums presence, the new ads bump up the attitude of the characters and turn up the sexiness of the brand.
To initiate M&M’s into the premium chocolate market, the company said that is had to beef up the size of its regular M&Ms and get rid of the shells. M&M’s Premium candies have just a shiny, marble-ized top-coat that comes in different metallic finishes, such as raspberry red, mint green or blue, to match the each different flavor.
Ryan Bowling, a spokesman for Mars Snackfood U.S., told the public, “We’ve actually changed the recipe of M&M’s as America and the world knows it. This is a whole new recipe, both visually and to its taste, as well.”
New, spunky TV spots will air beginning next week on major networks such as AMC and the food Network. In one commercial, the green premium M&M character who represents the triple chocolate flavor, struts around the set enjoying one of the chocolate candies while a female voice coos about the great taste of M&M’s Premiums.
M&M’s Premiums are already on store shelves, distributed to outlets where M&M’s are sold, including convenience stores, supermarkets and mass chains like Target and Wal-Mart. A 6-oz. upright carton retails for about $3.99.