If you’re looking for products and services to help increase shopper satisfaction and boost your footfall then the National Convenience Show (NCS) is the place to visit.

Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from Monday, March 30 to Wednesday April 1, it will be chock-full of big-name companies and their brands.

Whether you’re looking for soup or a new symbol group, confectionery or coffee, you’ll find it at the show thanks to the impressive roll-call of exhibitors. These include: Baxters Food Group, Booker, Boost energy drinks, Christie & Co, Eat Natural, Eat Real, eXpresso Plus, Fast Trak, Fifo, Florette salads, General Mills, Graze, Grenade, Hasbro, Htec, JTI, JUUL Labs, Kind Snacks, Mondelez, Monster Energy, Muller, My Coffee Station, Nestlé, Nisa, Philip Morris International, Rollover, Scandinavian Tobacco Group, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Starbucks Ready-to-Drink, Tetley, Totally Wicked and Weetabix.

B84 baxters

You can visit leading soup, condiments, pickles and preserves manufacturer Baxters’ stand (B84) to hear about their recent additions: food-to-go soup and porridge pots.

K70 eat natural

On the Eat Natural stand (K70) you can find out all about the company’s fruit and nut bars, which the company says are made using only the very best ’store cupboard’ ingredients, sourced from growers around the world who think that good taste comes naturally and not from artificial flavours or additives. All of the bars are gluten free and suitable for vegetarians with one or two even ’vegan friendly’.

G59 eat real

Eat Real (G59) will be showing off its ’free-from’ snacks which are free from all 14 declarable allergens and therefore suitable for consumers looking for vegan and gluten-free products.

K31 expresso plus

eXpresso Plus (K31) describes itself as a national drinks-to-go supplier with a difference. The company’s passion is to meet consumer demand by providing innovative drinks-to-go solutions and bringing big brands, such as Lavazza, Nescafe and Thorntons to the ever-evolving ’2go’ market. To help retailers, they offer solutions ranging from the compact Futuro tabletop to the ultra-modern Eleganza tower.

K50 fifo

Visit the FIFO stand (K50) to check out innovative, high-quality mobile phone accessories. Its products are sold in over 30,000 retail outlets around the world.

C83 florette

On the Florette stand (C83) they’ll talk you through their story. Back in 1989, a group of French farmers introduced a range of leafy prepared salads to the UK. Now their Classic Crispy salad is the number one bagged salad in the market and bought by nearly a third of UK households. The company says its aim is to create freshly prepared salads and vegetables that are packed full of fantastic flavour.

J51 grenade

Grenade is a massive brand in forecourts and you can catch up with the company at NCS and talk to them about their best-selling, high-protein, low-sugar Carb Killa bars (stand J51).

E30 mondelez

On its stand (E30), Mondelez will be focusing on its Trebor and Halls brands.

C20 monster energy

On the Monster Energy stand (C20) you can check out new performance energy brand, Reign.

L70 natural balance

Natural Balance Foods (stand L70) will talk to visitors about its Nakd and Trek products which are made with 100% natural ingredients and minimal processing. All its products are gluten free and vegan friendly.

J40 seattle’s best

Check out Seattle’s Best Coffee (stand J40) which is always freshly ground coffee served with fresh milk; has no complex revenue model; has easy-to-use machines; simple installation; and a ’sensible’ servicing agreement.

G50 starbucks

If you’re not selling Starbucks chilled ready-to-drink coffee, you should really consider it as it’s a best-selling product. Made using Arla milk and the same 100% Arabica coffee beans used in Starbucks’ Coffee Houses, the drinks are available in four classic formats (stand G50).

C61 weetabix

On the Weetabix stand (C61) you can check out Weetabix on the Go, Alpen Bars and Premier Protein bars. Weetabix says that more than 110million bottles of On the Go have been sold since its launch in 2014. Apparently it’s the UK’s number one breakfast drink with a bottle bought every 27 seconds. Alpen Bars too are popular, providing consumers with a tasty pick-me-up at any time of day while Premier Protein bars are new to the UK but already popular in the US and across Europe.

Retailer Hub

One of the highlights of NCS is undoubtedly the Retailer Hub, where experts discuss the issues that matter most to today’s convenience retailers. Look out for the Forecourt Trader session on Tuesday, March 31, which will include the latest research on forecourt customers and retailers.

One session that’s likely to draw in the crowds is Lessons From The Pit lane with Formula One manager, Marc Priestley, which takes place on March 30 at 12.40. As an F1 team manager for McLaren Racing, he learned how to inspire people to work together under pressure and keep drivers in pole position. At the NCS he’ll talk about how retailers can strengthen their teams to keep everything on-track.

Up in smoke? What’s next after menthol cigarettes? is a session that also takes place on March 30, this time at 13.30. Kate O’Dowd, head of field force UK and Ireland at PMI, will look at the May 2020 ban on menthol cigarettes and the opportunities this creates. She will show retailers what their tobacco and vape offering should look like post-menthol and advise them on how to communicate the ban to customers.

Other topics being discussed at the Retailer Hub include ’Your Shopper Heroes’ where six key shoppers are identified and retailers are advised on meeting their needs. There is also a Future Products Showcase where experts look at products set to shape the next decade.

David Glenwright, head of training and strategy at JC Social Media, will host a session entitled: Community Clicks: get sales from your neighbours online. This will show how you can develop online relationships with potential customers, to turn your store into a local hub. Plus there’ll be tips on paid Facebook ads to drive promotions and a drop-in surgery where you can ask questions.

Boost your bottom line: balancing profitable books sees veteran food and drink businessman Paul Hargreaves talk through key elements that can catch people out on the monthly profit and loss accounts and how to maximise every opportunity for success. Plus retailers will share their experience of managing their top and bottom line.

Finally, with independent retailers being renowned for their community engagement and customer focus, there’s a session on becoming a Dementia Friend, led by the ACS in association with the Alzheimer’s Society.

Running alongside NCS is the Farm Shop & Deli Show, where product innovation will be at the very top of the agenda. The show floor will be alive with exhibitors, boasting an array of new product launches. If you’re looking for something that little bit different to stock in your forecourt store then the Farm Shop & Deli Show is the place to find it.

This year’s exhibitor line-up includes Food & Drink Wales, Invest Northern Ireland, Diverse Fine Food, Cotswold Fayre, Pinksters Gin, Rowcliffe, Carron Lodge, Wensleydale Dairy, Maille, Franklin & Sons, Field Fare, Cook, Tudor Tea & Coffee, AG Barr, House of Sarunds, Cawston Press and Two Farmers.

Also running at the same time as NCS is the Food & Drink Expo 2020. Exhibitors including Bridor, Campden BRI, Radnor Hills Mineral Water Co, The Vegetarian Society and Coffee Central, will be bringing their latest new products and initiatives to the show floor.

At The Grocer Magazine’s Talking Shop Live key themes will be debated. Grocer editor Adam Leyland will host several high-profile keynote speakers, alongside master classes, plenary sessions, live interviews and panel discussions centred around hot button, state-of-the-nation issues. Insightful input from MCA and HIM! will also help frame the debate and offer the most up-to-date market data and trends.

Register for your free tickets at nationalconvenienceshow.co.uk

Stopping the C-Store Crimewave

Today many c-stores face a local crime epidemic and retailers need more support to fight back. At this Retailer Hub session (13.30, April 1) you can hear direct from retailers who have had to protect their staff and premises, explore new crime initiatives and discuss what the new government needs to do to make the sector safe and secure. Speakers include Hannah Gallimore, corporate responsibility manager at Central England Co-operatives.

Free breakfast with added insight

Come along to the Retailer Hub (10.30am March 30 and March 31; 11am April 1) to find out about the six key shopper types who are rocking the convenience channel. With this fresh new shopper insight retailers can become pros in spotting key shoppers in their stores including the Multi-tasking Mum and the Top-Up Legend. And as if that wasn’t a big enough incentive to kick-start the day at NCS, delegates can also grab a free coffee and breakfast.