Coming soon to a 7-Eleven near you: Eco-friendly condoms, energy chocolate and nonstick gum
Brian Levin stood covered in jerky in the middle of the showroom floor at the National Association of Convenience Store Trade Shows.
Levin isn't a demonstration model. He's founder and chief executive of Perky Jerky, a company trying to hit it big in the "high-end" jerky market.
"We want to become the Grey Goose of jerky," Levin said, as people walked by to pick packages of jerky off his costume.
If there were two big themes at this year's trade show, which began Monday and aims to sell wares to convenience stores across the country, they were jerky and energy drinks. The products took up the largest percentage of real estate at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
With 23,000 attendees and 1,300 exhibitors expected, the show is all about getting attention for products, although some of the goods certainly stood out on their own.
Here's a look at some of the new products creators hope will land in the 7-Eleven or Speedy Mart nearest you:
Energy chocolate tabs
Think M&Ms for energy.
Energems are chocolates wrapped in a hard shell. Three of them give a boost equivalent to a cup of coffee.
"Some people want their energy to taste really good," said Joe Fairleigh, vice president of sales.
Just don't call them candy. Fairleigh said they are dietary supplements.
Nine pieces sell for $3.99 and are scheduled to be in stores nationwide within two months.
The maker of these condoms call them the world's most eco-friendly prophylactic.
Sir Richard's (pun intended) are 100-percent latex and contain no paraffins or glycerins. They also do not contain casein, a dairy product.
"They are vegan approved," said Patrick Andino, director of sales for Sir Richard's.
Three-packs sell for $4.99, and varieties include ultra thin, ribbed and "pleasure dots."
These chocolate wheels carry a kick. They are spiced with Tabasco.
"We would take them to other trade shows and they were so popular, they would just disappear," said Jeff Thackaberry, of developer the Chocolate Traveler.
The company approached the maker of Tabasco for wide distribution and got the green light.
Tins will retail for $3.99.
Mike Beyer said he was watching "Cops" and "Speeders" when he came up with the idea for Drink-A-Lyzer, a new product that allows people to measure whether they are too drunk to drive.
"I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if you could test yourself before you get stopped?'" said Beyer, who previously invented the Fizz Keeper bottle pump cap.
Customers can carry the $4.95 sticks with them as they go out for drinks and test themselves for before they choose to drive home. The sticks turn colors to tell the customer whether they are over or under the legal limit.
Chewing gum is a convenience store staple, but Rev7 puts a new spin on it.
This gum won't stick to your clothes, washes away with soap and water and degrades in the environment so it won't stick on sidewalks.
The manufacturer says its flavor also lasts an hour.
It seems like a natural pairing, but bacon lovers have been left out of the jerky market. Not anymore.
Monogram Meat Snacks has licensed bacon jerky.
"The jerky market has seen double-digit growth the last 10 years," said Marty Butler, of Monogram Meat Snacks. "It started with the Atkins diet and just kept going after that."
Butler said market tests have shown that bacon jerky won't cannibalize the beef jerky market, just add to it.