DALLAS — Dozens of emerging food and beverage brands were selected to participate in 7-Eleven’s Brands with Heart program, now in its fourth year.
The convenience retailer assembled a team to discover up-and-coming businesses aligned with new food and beverage trends with the goal to diversify its product offerings beyond the traditional gas station assortment. Following an application process, standout startups were invited to participate in an in-store test at a regional 7-Eleven, Speedway and Stripes location. Top brands from each market advanced to the Brands with Heart showcase event, held Nov. 9-10 in Dallas, to attend educational sessions and present products to a panel of company leaders.
7-Eleven said it was seeking a variety of snacks, beverages, confectionery and better-for-you items. Forty-seven finalists were chosen based on product innovation, compelling brand story and strong consumer following.
Beverage brands selected for the Brands with Heart showcase were Agua Bonita, Aura Bora, Bea’s Squeeze, Blue Norther Seltzer, Bollygood, FitVine Wine, Lost & Found, Machu Picchu Energy, Mananalu Water, Mirth, Odyssey Elixir, Ohza Mimosa, Pulpoloco, Viva Tequila Seltzer and Wildwonder.
Snack brands included BeeFree, Better Bites, Chunk Nibbles, Chuza, Cool Haus, Deanan Popcorn, Elite Donuts, Ethel’s, Freestyle Snacks, Funday Chips, Honey Bunchies, Mmmly, Nature’s Crush, Olyra Biscuits, Once Again, Papa’s Pops Skinless Popcorn, Pop Daddy, Savoursmiths, Somi, Sonoma Creamery, Split, Supernola, Top Fox Snacks, Tosi, Tucson Tamale, Uglies Chips, UNiTE Bar and Yomms.
Confectionery brands included ChocZero, Tamalitoz and Taza Chocolate.
“7-Eleven’s Brands with Heart demonstrates their commitment to finding great emerging brands, built with purpose, that will resonate with consumers,” said Daniel Scharff, chief executive officer of Machu Picchu Energy, an organic beverage brand with a social mission to empower children in underserved communities. “We were really grateful to be selected — it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn how 7-Eleven works, the path to get on shelf — and do well — and meet key decision makers. A bonus is getting to connect with all the other like-minded brands here at the event.”
Clara Paye, founder and CEO of UNiTE Food, a brand of protein bars featuring globally inspired flavors, said the program has provided valuable resources to help emerging brands more effectively compete with large consumer packaged goods companies in conventional retail channels.
“The opportunity to participate in this prestigious cohort and have direct access to decision makers is priceless,” she said.
Yannis Varellas, founder and CEO of Olyra Foods, added, “This program is run by people that really believe in what they do. They are driven to support emerging, good-for-you brands to succeed in 7-Eleven and the US marketplace in general. Their passion is what makes the Brands with Heart program intriguing. They are extremely knowledgeable on what 7-Eleven customers are looking for, and they are prepared to create custom trial programs to confirm that our brands will perform well. We are really honored to be part of the program and being recognized as a brand that can become an everyday snack for 7-Eleven customers.”Showcase winners will receive coaching, mentoring and training from 7-Eleven leaders to prepare for possible shelf placement at participating stores across the country.