International Convenience Retailer Awards celebrate innovation

Winners of the International Convenience Retailer of the Year and the European Convenience Retail Technology Award were announced at a gala event during the National Associations of Convenience Stores (NACS) Insight Convenience Summit–Europe in London on June 14.

SPAR Natural won the NACS Insight 2017 International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award for its SPAR Natural convenience store in Gran Canaria, Spain. Launched in January 2017, the retailer’s SPAR Natural format recognises that trends in health and wellness are driving growth in the retail food industry, and is poised to grow significantly over the next five years.

Judges agreed that SPAR Natural breaks new ground in health and wellness by providing a holistic approach to local customers seeking better healthcare, a healthier lifestyle, and greater access to natural products and ‘free-from’ food for intolerances. The convenience store communicates its healthy options with icons representing eight categories: vegan (V+), vegetarian (V), organic (O), gluten free (GF), wheat free (WF), dairy free (DF), lactose free (LF) and sugar free (SF). Store employees are also able to share their expertise and answer customer questions about the products.

The store’s design uses natural materials and colours, and in-store signage throughout sets a relaxed tone that complements SPAR’s brand proposition, ‘Life is better with a smile’, and the SPAR Natural slogan, ‘Eat healthy, live green, be free’.

Valora, which has more than 2,500 convenience and foodservice stores in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and France, won the 2017 European Convenience Retail Technology Award for its ‘k kiosk’ mobile loyalty application.

Valora owns a broad network of kiosk formats across Europe, offering everyday convenience-store merchandise, with more than 900 k kiosk locations in Switzerland in highly trafficked areas. Valora’s k kiosk app gives consumers unique coupons, stamp cards and the highly innovative ‘Share and care’ feature. This creates a community of k kiosk app users interacting with each other. They can give gifts of treats such as coffee and snacks to friends who also use the app.

Now in its fourth year, the NACS Insight Convenience Summit Europe brings together convenience and fuel-retailing industry professionals from around the world to discuss new ideas and make new commercial connections. This year’s event kicked off in Zurich on June 10 with education and store tours, and ended in London on June 15.

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