NATIONAL REPORT — In order for convenience stores to win in their wide assortment of categories today, they need the aid of their leading suppliers. Category Captains step in as partners in leadership, providing solutions for c-stores that raise the health of an entire product category by leveraging consumer insights to link demand to unmet needs and marketplace opportunities.
C-store operators have been relying more and more on the expertise of their Category Captains in recent years to better understand the ever-changing roles of categories and products.
Suppliers and distributors that are up-to-date with federal legalization and widespread availability of CBD products, regulatory changes around e-cigarettes and vapor products, food safety protocols and standards, the latest ecofriendly packaging, and changes in technology make these partnerships even more effective. C-stores know they have to have the latest and most accurate product information for training their employees.
This year’s Convenience Store News Category Captains honorees are helping c-stores capture more than their share of consumers’ attention and dollars. The 13 suppliers recognized as 2020 Category Captains have earned convenience store retailers’ trust.
Now in its seventh year, the CSNews Category Captains awards program honors outstanding category management by supplier companies. All entries were judged based on:
- Product innovation;
- Creativity in merchandising, marketing, promotion and advertising;
- Use of consumer insights to drive 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 judged the entries based on information supplied by participating companies.
Here are spotlights on this year's winners:
- Alternative Snacks: Jack Link’s Protein Snacks
- Beer/Malt Beverages: Anheuser-Busch
- Candy: The Hershey Co.
- Cigars: Cheyenne International
- E-Cigarette/Vapor Products: E-Alternative Solutions
- Foodservice — Cold & Frozen Beverages: Frazil
- Foodservice — Prepared Food: Rich Products
- General Merchandise: McLane Co. Inc.
- Health & Beauty Care: Lil’ Drug Store Products
- Packaged Beverages: The Coca-Cola Co.
- Packaged Sweet Snacks: McKee Foods
- Salty Snacks: McLane Co. Inc.
- Wine & Liquor: E&J Gallo Winery