2017 Foodservice Innovators of the Year

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2017 Foodservice Innovators of the Year

Wawa Wins Its Second Foodservice Innovator of the Year Title

Holiday, Cumberland Farms, RaceTrac, Swiss Farms and Pilot Flying J also recognized as foodservice innovators

By Don Longo

WAWA, Pa. — Wawa Inc., the 756-unit convenience store chain that operates in the Mid-Atlantic states and Florida, earned its second Foodservice Innovator of the Year award in five years, leading a group of six exceptional convenience foodservice retailers selected as winners in Convenience Store News' sixth- annual Foodservice Innovators Awards program, presented in partnership with Tyson Convenience.

"Why Wawa? They have the great MTO (made-to-order) program already," said one of the experts on CSNews' Foodservice Advisory Council. "And now, they add mobile ordering. This will be industry-changing. And their handcrafted specialty hot beverage program is the best!"

Foodservice Innovator of the Year winners are chosen by CSNews' Foodservice Advisory Council, a panel of foodservice experts from the retailer, supplier, wholesaler, research and consulting fields. Winners are recognized for raising the bar on quality, service and innovation in the fast-growing and critically important foodservice category in the convenience channel.

In addition to Wawa, the other 2017 Foodservice Innovators Awards winners are:

Prepared Foods Innovator of the Year: Holiday Stationstores
The Bloomington, Minn.-based operator of more than 500 stores, which recently reached an agreement to be acquired by Canadian c-store giant, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., received the most votes for Prepared Foods Innovator among the members of the Foodservice Advisory Council, with many citing Holiday's centralized commissary and wide variety of quality prepared foods.

Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year: Cumberland Farms
This operator of nearly 600 c-stores in eight states was named Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year after launching its biggest advertising campaign ever to support its popular Farmhouse Blend Coffee.

Cold & Frozen Beverages Innovator of the Year: RaceTrac Petroleum
The 720-store convenience chain is no stranger to the winner's circle in the Cold & Frozen Beverages Innovator category. The Atlanta-based retailer was voted Cold & Frozen Beverages Innovator of the Year in 2013, 2015, and is now a three-time winner with its 2017 achievement.

Best New Foodservice Offering of the Year: Swiss Farms
A first-time winner in the Foodservice Innovators Awards program, this Broomall, Pa.-based chain operates 13 convenience drive-thru markets that have been steadily improving their fresh food program.

Foodservice Innovator to Watch: Pilot Flying J
The Knoxville, Tenn.-based retailer that operates more than 750 convenience stores and travel centers in North America is the winner of the inaugural Foodservice Innovator to Watch award in this year's competition.

Look below for individual profiles and videos on each of the winners.