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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Category captains are in your customers’ brains. These category leaders not only know what consumers want to eat, but they also know the texture, the size, the smell, time of day, tipping-point price, impulse control and other characteristics that shape shopping behavior.
By leveraging the latest technology, winners of the 2016 Convenience Store News Category Captains awards program bring to light many of the industry’s most innovative category management initiatives so that retailers and vendors alike can benefit from new ideas and best practices. These are the experts who deliver on the quickly changing consumer needs and wants, with both low-tech and high-tech solutions to drive business and retain customers.
Ten suppliers and distributors in 11 product categories have been chosen as this year’s Category Captains honorees. Now in its third year, the awards program applauds the outstanding category management initiatives implemented in the convenience channel over the past 12 months.
All entries were judged by product development experts at consumer research firm Past Times Marketing based on the information supplied by participating companies.
Entries were judged based on product innovation; creativity in merchandising, marketing, promotion and advertising; use of consumer insights; innovative and dynamic category management tools; demonstrated commitment to meeting retail customers’ specific needs; effectiveness at lifting sales for a brand’s products in the category; effectiveness at lifting an entire category’s sales for a retailer or retailers; and fact-based evidence of market-specific or account-specific sales results.
The 2016 Category Captains are:
- Alternative Snacks: General Mills Convenience
- Candy: The Hershey Co.
- Foodservice/Hot Beverages: McLane Co. Inc. Foodservice
- Foodservice/Prepared Food: AdvancePierre Foods Inc.
- Foodservice/Cold & Frozen Beverages: The Coca-Cola Co.
- General Merchandise: McLane Co. Inc.
- Other Tobacco Products: Swisher International Inc.
- Packaged Beverages: Dr Pepper Snapple Group
- Packaged Sweet Snacks: McKee Foods Corp.
- Salty Snacks: The Kellogg Co.
- Wine & Liquor: E. & J. Gallo Winery
Several of this year’s honorees are repeat winners in the same category: Hershey, AdvancePierre Foods, Swisher International, McKee Foods and E. & J. Gallo. Additionally, c-store industry distributor McLane achieved category captaincy in two different categories this year.
All of these winning companies have earned convenience store retailers’ trust to help manage and grow an entire product category’s sales and profits, not just the vendor’s own product line. They also make sure a retailer’s strategy is not driven by a supplier agenda. Instead, these category captains work with the retailer to ensure that the category’s product assortment and pricing meet the needs of that retailer’s target shoppers.
For more on the winners and their category management initiatives, look in the Convenience Store News Guide to Category Management, coming out later this month.