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Convenience Store News Honors 16 Suppliers as 2021 Category Captains


CHICAGO, Ill. — The entire convenience store industry had to adjust in 2020, with cleanliness and contactless solutions coming to the forefront and making it even more critical for retailers and suppliers to work together to squeeze as much sales and profit out of every product category as possible.

Based on this year’s entries in the annual Convenience Store News Category Captains awards program, many leading suppliers partnered closely with their c-store customers to create successful solutions for today’s c-store environment.

While 2020 was a difficult year for both retailers and suppliers, this year’s Category Captains honorees displayed exceptional leadership, resilience, determination and willingness to embrace change in a year of unprecedented challenges.

Sixteen different suppliers and distributors in 17 product categories have been chosen as this year’s Category Captains. Now in its eighth year, the awards program honors outstanding category management initiatives in the c-store industry.

All entries were judged based on: product innovation; creativity in merchandising, marketing, promotion and advertising; use of consumer insights to drive entire category sales; innovative and dynamic category management tools; demonstrated commitment to meeting the specific needs of retailer customers; efficiently lifting sales for the entire product category; and fact-based evidence of market-specific or account-specific results.

Past Times Marketing, a consumer research and product evaluation firm based in New York, once again facilitated the judging based on information supplied by the participating companies.

The 2021 Category Captains are:

  • Alternative Snacks: Link Snacks
  • Beer/Malt Beverages: Anheuser-Busch
  • Candy: The Hershey Co.
  • CBD: Happy Place
  • Foodservice/Cold & Frozen Beverages: The ICEE Co.
  • Foodservice/Hot Beverages: Franke Coffee Systems
  • Foodservice/Prepared Food: Rich Products
  • Foodservice/Turnkey Foodservice Solutions: Eby-Brown
  • General Merchandise: McLane Co.
  • Health & Beauty Care: Lil’ Drug Store Products
  • Non-Edible Grocery: McLane Co.
  • Other Tobacco Products/Cigars: Cheyenne International
  • Other Tobacco Products/E-Cigarette & Vapor Products: E-Alternative Solutions
  • Other Tobacco Products/Overall: Swisher
  • Packaged Beverages: The Coca-Cola Co.
  • Packaged Sweet Snacks: McKee Foods Corp.
  • Salty Snacks: General Mills Convenience & Foodservice
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