CHICAGO — Convenience Store News has selected 17 suppliers for recognition in the 2022 Category Captains awards program. These suppliers were chosen based on the outstanding jobs they do of working together with their retailer customers to enhance overall category sales and profitability.
The winners in this year's ninth-annual Category Captains program illustrate best-case examples of the retailer-supplier collaboration needed to overcome the myriad challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year. Understanding category strengths and weaknesses, and how they align with consumers' needs and behaviors, is a critical challenge for c-store industry suppliers, but now, they must also deal with the increased importance of safety and hygiene, labor shortages, trip erosion, and supply-chain instability.
This year's impressive group of Category Captains work together with their retailer partners, using data and information, to shift their business faster and more efficiently as they reshape convenience retailing for the post-pandemic shopper.
All entries were judged based on such factors as product innovation; creativity in merchandising, marketing, promotion and advertising; use of consumer insights to drive entire category sales; innovative and dynamic category management tools; and fact-based evidence of market-specific or account-specific results.
The 2022 Category Captains are:
- Alternative Snacks: Jack Link's
- Beer/Malt Beverages: Anheuser-Busch
- Candy: The Hershey Co.
- CBD: E-Alternative Solutions
- Foodservice/Cold & Frozen Beverages: Frazil
- Foodservice/Hot Beverages: SEB Professional
- Foodservice/Prepared Food: Rich Products Corp.
- General Merchandise: BIC USA Inc.
- Health & Beauty Care: Lil' Drug Store Products Inc.
- 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: Hostess Brands
- Salty Snacks: Conagra Brands
- Wine & Liquor: E&J Gallo Winery
- Leadership Award for Comprehensive Multi-Category Management: Core-Mark International & Eby-Brown Co.
Past Times Marketing, a consumer research and product evaluation firm based in New York, once again judged the entries based on information supplied by participating companies.
Look in the March issue of Convenience Store News for spotlights on the winners.