ATLANTA — Among products hitting convenience store shelves next year are sour candies, spicy sandwiches and indulgent snack mixes.

Drawing more than 20,000 industry professionals, the 2016 NACS Show, hosted by the National Association of Convenience Stores and held Oct. 18-21 in Atlanta, features the latest innovations from more than 1,100 exhibiting companies.

Convenience retailer confidence is up, fueled in part by strong sales of in-store items in the first nine months of the year, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Convenience Stores. Sixty-nine per cent of convenience retailers reported higher in-store sales over the prior-year period, while only 9% said in-store sales were lower compared to the year before. New food service offers helped boost the optimism among convenience store operators.

One such new offering comes from AdvancePierre Foods. The BIG AZ Sriracha Chicken Sandwich features grilled chicken smothered in sriracha sauce and topped with cheese on a corn-dusted bun.

“Our new grilled chicken sandwich is a hearty option that indulges taste buds with just the right amount of kick,” said Tony Schroder, president of convenience channels at AdvancePierre Foods. “It’s a surefire way for c-store and vending outlets to stay on-trend.”

For consumers craving breakfast ‘round the clock, Johnsonville Sausage is offering innovative new items to expand convenience retailers’ menus. A new Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit features a buttermilk biscuit stuffed with scrambled eggs, Johnsonville sausage and milk cheddar cheese. The company also has unveiled the Ultimate French Toast Sausage for the roller grill. The sausage features a sweet cinnamon aroma and buttery, maple syrup flavor.

Click for a slideshow of new products debuting at the 2016 NACS Show.