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YORK, Pa., and WILMINGTON, Del. – Two of the nation’s best-in-class foodservice retailers shared their Gold Medal recognition in the Convenience Store News 2013 Foodservice Innovators Awards with hundreds of their associates at their annual end-of-year company meetings last week.
The CSNews Foodservice Innovators Awards, sponsored by Tyson Foods, recognizes convenience retail leaders that are raising the bar on quality, service and innovation in the fast-growing and critically important category of foodservice.
On Thursday, CSNews Editorial Director Don Longo and Tyson Foods executives traveled to York, Pa., to present Rutter’s Farm Stores with its Gold Medal as 2013’s Best Prepared Foods Innovator and a Silver Medal for Best Limited Time Offer or Promotion. Rutter’s operates 58 stores throughout central Pennsylvania.
“In this hotbed of convenience store retailing, Rutter’s continues to outsmart and outshine most of its competition,” said Longo, as he presented the awards to Rutter’s CEO Scott Hartman and Vice President of Foodservice Jerry Weiner at Rutter’s annual year-end awards and holiday meeting.
“Our judges were truly impressed with the variety of food items available on the menu, as well as their quality,” Longo continued. “Rutter’s continued its pattern of innovation this year, introducing a new value menu in May and other new menu items.”
Winners were chosen by CSNews’ 18-member panel of How To Do World-Class Foodservice experts.
On Friday, in Wilmington, Del., almost a thousand Wawa Inc. associates gathered for the company’s annual general managers meeting, which brings together managers from the more than 600 convenience stores the retailer operates in the Mid-Atlantic States and Florida.
Wawa won this year’s top prize as 2013 Foodservice Innovator of the Year. Longo noted that while the award recognizes outstanding innovation, “it’s so appropriate that we are presenting this award at the meeting of the store managers whose execution is critical to turning innovative ideas into reality.”
Wawa’s Vice President of Foodservice Mike Sherlock accepted the award on behalf of the entire Wawa foodservice and marketing teams.
“Tyson Foods is pleased to be here today to honor and congratulate one of the true leaders in the convenience foodservice industry,” said Eric LeBlanc, vice president of marketing for deli and convenience foodservice for the Springdale, Ark.-based food company. “Like Wawa, we have been in the business of feeding people for a long time and we share the same passion for compelling fresh food. We have a commitment to partnering with the convenience foodservice channel to enhance and improve the food that American consumers find in their convenience outlets, and like the rest of the industry, we look to Wawa for leadership and inspiration in delivering convenience foodservice excellence.”
LeBlanc also noted Tyson and Wawa's shared commitment to local communities.
“One other thing we have in common with you is a commitment to the communities in which we live and work. Our motto is ‘Making Great Food...Making a Difference’ and we support all of our efforts under the Know Hunger program. Since 2000, Tyson Foods has donated over 94 million pounds of protein to food banks and organizations that work to alleviate hunger," said LeBlanc. "At Wawa, you show your commitment to relieving food insecurity with programs like the Check Out Hunger campaign and in partnership with Feeding America. We are pleased to partner with you in the donation of 30,000 pounds of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank on the occasion of next week's [Dec. 17] Grand Opening in Orlando.”
LeBlanc also congratulated Sherlock, his team and all the managers in attendance on their “recognition as Foodservice Innovator of the Year, on your continued success and growth, and on your ongoing commitment to your communities.”
To view all the 2013 CSNews Foodservice Innovators Awards Winners, along with video and commentary, visit www.stagnitodigitalmedia.com/innovators.
At the end of the meeting, Longo also presented Operations VP Sal Mattera with a reproduction of the front page of CSNews’ October 2013 issue featuring a cover story on Wawa.