Shifting consumer habits have prompted a shift in deliveries to serve the convenience store market, and Mickey Truck Bodies is meeting that demand by building the right truck bodies for the job.
For the fifth consecutive week leading into August, off-premise dollar sales growth of beer, FMBs (flavored malt beverages) and cider in convenience stores outpaced sales in larger channels, such as supermarkets, according to Nielsen. The recent data marks a reversal of early COVID-19 trends when consumers, fearing shortages, stocked up on their favorites from large-format stores.
“The bounce back of the c-store, which of course is beer’s most important channel, is another sign that consumers have settled into a ‘next’ normal,” Danelle Kosmal, Nielsen VP of Beverage Alcohol Practice, told The Daily Brew, the online daily newsletter for the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
As a result, Mickey reports customers are requesting smaller sideload units, such as 6.5- and 8.5-bay bodies, for better maneuverability in convenience store parking areas.
“In addition, some customers, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, and Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP), are using different types of van bodies, or straight trucks, with liftgates for c-store deliveries,” says Tom Arland, Mickey president. “Not only do these smaller units improve delivery efficiency to small-store formats, the fact that they do not require a CDL license helps address the issue of driver shortages.”
Besides the COVID-19 restrictions imposed on restaurants and bars, the continued popularity of categories such as energy drinks and hard seltzers is also driving deliveries to c-stores, the company notes.
“We’re selling a lot of non-CDL 6-bay mini bodies for the energy/secondary brands,” says Todd Holm, Mickey’s southeast regional sales manager. “They are very easy to maneuver in city locations where space is tight. Energy brands like Bang, Monster and Red Bull continue to sell well. So are the hard seltzers like Truly and White Claw. And now Coca-Cola is jumping in with coffee-flavored sodas.”
For any type of delivery, innovation will drive the beverage truck market for the foreseeable future, and Mickey will continue “to pave the way,” adds Dane Meyer, Mickey’s southwest/west sales manager.
“KDP is actually reducing its conventional tractor and trailer fleet in favor of sideload and bulk trailers, and converting to 26-foot non-CDL van bodies with liftgates,” Meyer says. “Wholesalers are looking at non-CDL straight trucks with liftgates, on-board charging systems for electric delivery carts, roof-mounted solar charge systems for gates and electric pallet delivery devices. Efficiency, productivity and profitability will be the top priorities for companies delivering beverages.”