CHICAGO — Convenience Store News has selected 15 suppliers as winners in its 2023 Category Captains awards program. Now in its 10th year, the competition recognizes excellence in innovative, creative and profit-generating category management platforms.
The convenience store landscape is still proving difficult to navigate as operators grapple with such problems as lingering supply chain issues, labor shortages and higher prices due to inflation. This year's Category Captains honorees zeroed in on shopper insights to drive decisions within their categories and shared these insights with retailer partners to help grow their sales.
Above all else, a Category Captain's efforts contribute to the growth and success of an entire category, not just the supplier's own products or brands. This year's winners demonstrated in their entries the innovative ways they do this and highlighted the ample resources they devote to supporting overall category growth. They also showed an ability to customize their programs to meet the specific needs of different retailer accounts.
All entries were judged based on factors such 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 technologies; and fact-based evidence of market-specific or account-specific results.
The 2023 Category Captains are:
- Alternative Snacks: Old Trapper
- Beer/Malt Beverages: Anheuser-Busch
- Candy: Mars Inc.
- CBD: E-Alternative Solutions
- Foodservice/Cold & Frozen Beverages: Frazil
- Foodservice/Hot Beverages: Franke Coffee Systems
- Foodservice/Prepared Food: Core-Mark
- General Merchandise: McLane Co. Inc.
- Health & Beauty Care: Lil' Drug Store Products Inc.
- Other Tobacco Products/Cigars: Cheyenne International
- Other Tobacco Products/E-Cigarettes & Vape: E-Alternative Solutions
- Other Tobacco Products/Overall: Swisher
- Packaged Beverages: The Coca-Cola Co.
- Packaged Sweet Snacks: Hostess Brands
- Salty Snacks: General Mills
- Wine & Liquor: Beam Suntory
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. Past Times President and CEO Susan Durtschi has more than 40 years of experience as a buyer, merchandise manager, private label product developer and online marketer for a variety of national and regional retailers and her own retail company.
Look in the March issue of Convenience Store News for spotlights on the winners.