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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Confectioners Association (NCA) named Christina Groth of The Kroger Co. and Brian Rinker of The Walgreen Co. as recipients of the 2017 Confectionery Leadership Awards.
The awards honor the winners' contributions to the category through effective business collaboration, category management best practices and innovations in merchandising confectionery products in-store. They will be presented during the NCA's annual State of the Industry Conference, which will take place March 6-8 in Miami, reported Candy & Snack TODAY.
"Many deserving and worthy candidates were submitted for the 2017 Confectionery Leadership Award, which recognizes dedication and innovation on the part of the industry's retail customers," stated the NCA's Vice President of Industry Affairs, Larry Wilson. "Both Christina and Brian exemplify what the award represents as they were selected among all nominees by the committee for their personal leadership, knowledge, expertise and commitment to the confectionery industry."
Groth has been with Kroger for more than 15 years, after starting out as an intern for its Fred Meyer division. As vice president, general merchandise, healthy & beauty care and non-foods, Groth leads category management teams in setting and executing the assortment, merchandising and marketing strategies for more than 2,600 Kroger stores.
"This award is really for our team — our category managers, consumer insights group and our suppliers," Groth said. "It's a reflection of the work they are all doing. I am just lucky to get to accept it on their behalf."
Rinker, a category manager, has been with confectionery for The Walgreen Co. for nearly four years, where he developed and executed merchandising plans for more than 8,100 stores. Prior to moving to the category, he served as cookie buyer for eight years.
"Being recognized as a leader in the confectionery category is very humbling," Rinker said. "I love this category and what it stands for. Everyone needs a moment of happiness and confectionery can do that."
The NCA and Candy & Snack TODAY launched the awards program in 2011 to recognize and honor the confectionery industry's best and most innovative leaders and category champions. It allows NCA manufacturers and brokers to recognize outstanding retailers and wholesalers in the confectionery community for their effective customer marketing, shopper-driven shelving practices, and promotion of new items.