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JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Competition is coming at convenience stores from all angles. Dollar stores, drugstores and grocers, to name a few, are luring customers in with cigarettes, beverages, foodservice and other convenience store products, making it more and more incumbent upon c-store category managers to get all the help they can from suppliers and employ the appropriate merchandising and shopper insight tools to differentiate their offerings and drive sales.
The 2014 Convenience Store News Category Captains awards, which are newly redesigned this year, honor suppliers for their category management prowess demonstrated through their partnerships with convenience store retailers. This year, 10 winners have been selected based on compelling examples of key category management initiatives over the last 12 months.
The winners are:
- Beer/Malt Beverages -- Anheuser-Busch
- Candy -- The Hershey Co.
- General Merchandise -- Ambess Enterprises Inc.
- Grocery (non-edible) -- Nestle Purina PetCare
- Foodservice: Frozen Treats -- Donper America
- Foodservice: Prepared Foods -- Eby-Brown
- Foodservice: Soups & Sides -- Blount Fine Foods
- Other Tobacco Products -- Swisher International Inc.
- Packaged Beverages -- The Coca-Cola Co.
- Salty Snacks -- The Kellogg Co.
Category Captains are leaders. They have the ability to think strategically, navigate change and implement new processes and products. This year’s entries demonstrate that from foodservice to snacks, the supplier community continues to demonstrate its understanding of convenience store owners' goals and offers innovative ways to achieve them -- elevating the visibility and relevance not only of their own company brands, but also of the categories as a whole.
The honorees know category sustainability is less about whose name is on the package and more about what's inside and how they can deliver solutions to customers. The 2014 Category Captains winners are helping c-stores capture more than their share of consumers’ attention and dollars.
The award criteria factored into the judging of the entries was as follows:
- Product innovation;
- Creativity in merchandising, marketing, promotion and advertising;
- Use of consumer insights;
- Innovative 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.