Trends to Watch: ECRM Convenience Program

    Wellness-related products such as CBD, clean snacks, and natural beauty are finding a place in convenience stores. Trendspotter Nancy Trend shares what's new at ECRM.

    It was fun to see the trends during ECRM’s Convenience program, held virtually earlier this year. Snacks, beverages, frozen, dairy, hand sanitizers, cannabidiol (CBD), health and beauty care suppliers and more presented new programs to retailers and distributors from the convenience channel.

    “Impulse products continue to be a huge part of the assortment at convenience stores,” said Sarah Davidson, SVP of Food & Beverage at ECRM. “These are items that you never knew you needed, but when you see it, you just have to have it. These include products that solve common problems, new and novel items like fidget spinners, seasonally relevant products, and increasingly, wellness-related products. Packaging and merchandising are important for moving these products, but price is key, too. They must have enough obvious value so that the customer has no hesitation adding it to their cart.”

    James Jo, Founder and CEO of Symphony Beauty, shared his first experience attending the event. “It went unsurprisingly well as we got to meet with new buyers from a new category and introduce beauty products to their C-Stores. Since beauty is a fairly new category for C-Stores, buyers were curious as to how and where they should place our items. This is something we expected because we have worked with C-Stores buyers before. That’s why we created PDQ displays for our products so that they can use their limited space effectively.”

    James said some trends have changed significantly due to the pandemic. C-Stores are now more open to new categories such as beauty because they see the need to differentiate themselves from others and position themselves as a one-stop-shop. This has undeniably worked in Symphony Beauty’s favor, because buyers are excited to bring new innovative and exciting products like theirs to better serve the market.

    Check out all the trends we spotted:

    Natural, Safe and Affordable Skincare

    Symphony Beauty was founded in 2015 by former U.S. Marine James Jo. After fighting for his country overseas, James returned home and landed a job at a cosmetics company. James later founded Symphony Beauty, one of the first U.S.-based K-Beauty brands, by combining his Korean heritage and knowledge of the Western beauty market. The brand was created to provide his wife and all beauty lovers with natural, safe, affordable skincare. One standout: Buyers seemed to be surprised by how much popularity beard oil has gained during the past year. James said, “Our 100% Natural Beard Oil is carried in major C-Stores and is one of the most popular items for grab and go section.”

    Clean On-the-Go Snacks

    Grab The Gold was created in 1990 by Danielle Ontiveros when she was just 16 because she couldn’t find a tasty snack bar that kept her full. She created snack bars with clean ingredients, and is on a mission to make snacks and supplements that energize people to live life to the fullest.

    CBD + Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    The Lunatic pairs CBD with authentic Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil to help support for better sleep, stress relief, pain relief and overall wellbeing. Their product provides balance for the body and brain and contains 100% natural ingredients.

    Energy Drink With Nootropics

    Xite Energy wants to provide a healthy energy alternative that doesn’t compromise on taste or function. Natural caffeine helps deliver lasting energy without a crash. Nootropics help support focus. The product is vegan, zero sugar, diabetic friendly. It delivers ginseng and B vitamins. Their focus is on the product, the people and the environment. They reduce their carbon footprint and plastic use, as well as invest in renewable energy.

    Marinades & Sauces 

    Established in 2005, Cordoba Foods sells products through two brands. Gaucho Ranch that offers Marinade for any protein, condiment, BBQ, & Dipping sauce. n’dulce a compliment for any desert as a filling, topping, or decoration.

    Custom Lifestyle Art

    Enjoy It is a manufacturing, distributing and internet retailing company. Their goal: to help us all find joy through custom lifestyle art that enlivens everyday products.

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    Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm with an office in Los Angeles. Trent & Company, which launched many fitness brands, grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at You may also visit