CFX Highlights: The 2022 Foodservice Innovators Awards

Five companies are recognized for raising the bar in foodservice.
2022 Foodservice Innovators Awards

SAVANNAH, Ga. — In addition to presentations, discussions and local excursions, the 2022 Convenience Foodservice Exchange, hosted by Convenience Store News, featured an annual highlight: the presentation of the Foodservice Innovators Awards.

The 2022 Convenience Foodservice Exchange took place in Savannah on June 21-22.

The Foodservice Innovators Awards recognize c-store retailers that are raising the bar on quality, service and innovation in the foodservice category. Now in its 11th year, the program has been recognizing best-in-class convenience foodservice retailers since 2012. Winners are chosen annually by the Convenience Store News Foodservice Advisory Council, a panel of foodservice experts from the retailer, supplier, wholesaler, research and consulting fields.

"We have a terrific group of Best-in-Class convenience foodservice winners in this year's Foodservice Innovators Awards," said presenter Don Longo, editorial director emeritus of CSNews. "We have two first time winners in Casey's General Stores and Huck's Market, and we have multiyear winners in Rutter's, Wawa and Texas Born (TXB), formerly known as Kwik Chek. They've all proven they can turn on a dime and pivot to meet changing market conditions and still deliver an outstanding and innovative food offering."

Jimmy Crowder and Brandon Frampton of TXB accepted the 2022 Best Prepared Foods Innovator award. This is the second time the retailer has won this award, having been recognized in 2020 as Kwik Chek.

Chad White, foodservice category manager of Rutter's, accepted the 2022 Best Cold & Frozen Beverages Innovator award. Rutter's is no stranger to the winners' circle, having won the overall Innovator of the Year title in 2012, 2018 and 2021. Rutter's was also named Prepared Foods Innovator of the Year in 2013.

Dave Grimes, vice president of foodservice at Huck's Market, accepted the 2022 Innovator to Watch award. This award recognizes an up-and-coming leader in convenience foodservice. Previous winners have included such innovators as Pilot Flying J, Dash In, Choice Market, Enmarket and last year's winner, Family Express.

"As they grow, they continue to look at new ways to expand foodservice options," said one judge. "Adding kitchens to their new stores and giving customers more reason to shop their stores is a big win for them. Great job!"

Led by Chief Merchandising Officer Tom Brennen, a contingent of Casey's leaders accepted the 2022 Foodservice Innovator of the Year award. Ashenafi Tekeste, Carrie Stojack, Richard Guidry, Kylie Kieffer and Andrew Kintigh, from Casey's foodservice and guest insights teams, joined Brennen on stage to accept the grand prize award — a first for the giant Ankeny, Iowa-based convenient retailer noted for its pizza offering.

"For a company their size, they continue to show that they won't rest on their laurels," one judge remarked on Casey's foodservice program. "We all know breakfast is our busiest food time, so innovating that menu is key. Utilizing their homemade dough to make sandwiches, along with adding breakfast bowls, was a great idea."

Wawa was recognized as the 2022 Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year. The Pennsylvania-based c-store retailer was named Foodservice Innovator of the Year in 2013 and in 2017.

The Foodservice Innovators of the Year winners will be profiled in Convenience Store News' October "Innovation" issue.

Sponsors of the 2022 Convenience Foodservice Exchange included gold sponsors BOHA!, Core-Mark, Cuhaci Peterson, Finlays, Hoshizaki, Sugar Foods Corp. and UNO Foods; and silver sponsors Supplyit and Southern Visions.

About the Author

Don Longo

Don Longo is Editorial Director Emeritus of Convenience Store News. He joined the brand in 2005. With the highest recognition of any c-store industry media journalist, Don has given presentations to business groups throughout the U.S., Europe and South America, appeared as a guest on Fox Business News and National Public Radio, and is a highly sought source for major consumer and business news.

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