NATIONAL REPORT — 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.
While 2020 was a difficult year for both retailers and suppliers, the 2021 Convenience Store News Category Captains displayed exceptional leadership, resilience, determination, and willingness to embrace change in a year of unprecedented challenges.
Sixteen suppliers and distributors in 17 product categories were chosen as this year’s honorees for their close partnerships with their c-store customers to create successful solutions for today's retail environment.
Now in its eighth 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 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 judged the entries based on information supplied by participating companies.
Here are spotlights on this year's winners:
- 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. Inc.
- Health & Beauty Care: Lil’ Drug Store Products
- Non-Edible Grocery: McLane Co. 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: McKee Foods Corp.
- Salty Snacks: General Mills Convenience & Foodservice