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During the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Chairman’s Lecture, held Jan. 19 at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Washington, D.C.-based trade organization presented awards to a range of food industry leaders, including prominent grocers Frederick J. Morganthall II, Harris Teeter president and COO, and Danny Wegman, CEO of Wegmans Food Markets.
Other honors went to Timothy Smucker, chairman of the board of the J. M. Smucker Co., and E. & J. Gallo Winery and The Campbell Soup Co.
Morganthall received the GMA 2013 Industry Collaboration Leadership Award, which recognizes an industry leader who has demonstrated throughout his or her career excellence in fostering collaboration among trading partners and programs that better serve the consumer.
“Fred Morganthall’s leadership, passion and commitment have mobilized the retail and CPG industries to work together in new and innovative ways around the shared goals of serving the consumer and responsible growth,” said GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey. “At a time when our industry is facing many challenges, it is only fitting that we recognize the exemplary leadership that motivates and inspires us to strive for a higher level of trading partner collaboration.”
Morganthall started in the industry in 1973 at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati and went on to join the wholesale and retail side of the business at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spartan Stores from 1978 to 1986, when he joined Harris Teeter In 1997, he became president of the Matthews, N.C.-based chain.
“Perhaps it is due to his background in CPG or because of his service as chairman of the FMI Industry Relations Committee, but Fred Morganthall has brought a special level of collaborative leadership to the industry,” noted Joe Bivona, VP, trade development at New York-based Time Inc. Retail, and chair of the GMA Industry Development Advisory Committee, which administers the award.
Wegman and Smucker were the recipients of the GMA Hall of Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association. Established in 1984, the award recognizes the extraordinary service and contributions of the consumer packaged goods industry’s most distinguished leaders. Past recipients include A.G. Lafley of P&G, Campbell’s Doug Conant and Ric Jurgens of West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee Inc.
“Danny Wegman and Tim Smucker are more than pillars of industry, they are family men from two of the most admired family companies, who are as well known for their philanthropy as for their leadership,” said Bailey. “It is only fitting that these two men, who partnered on so many innovative solutions throughout their professional lives, [have received] GMA’s highest honor at the same time.”
Under Wegman’s guidance, the venerable Rochester, N.Y.-based chain has become a family-friendly franchise continually recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the best places to work. Wegman has had particular success in building consensus on tough issues. From his work on data synchronization, Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) and the “New Ways of Working Together” program, to his stints as chairman of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), GS1 US, GS1 Global and the FMI Food Safety Task Force, Wegman has been a leader in uniting retailers and manufacturers.
As well as serving in a range leadership roles at his Orrville, Ohio-based company, Smucker is a noted advocate for business standards, supply chain innovations and advanced technologies that have helped move not only his own company, but the industry as a whole, forward. He has held longtime posts on the GMA board of directors, as well as on its executive committee and board committee on health and wellness, and continues to implement new industry technology and standards as vice chairman and chairman emeritus for the management board of GS1.
Additionally, GMA and its Associate Member Council (AMC) presented Gallo and Campbell with the 2013 CPG Awards for Innovation and Creativity, which are given annually to companies that not only have demonstrated these qualities, but have also made a significant impact on the industry knowledge base.
“In today’s competitive marketplace, the transformative innovation that enables growth comes from really listening and reacting to the consumer,” observed Bailey, adding that Gallo and Campbell were “companies that have cultivated a culture of fresh and innovative thinking.”
GMA evaluated applications in two manufacturer divisions: those from companies with total sales of less than $3 billion in Division A, and companies with $3 billion or more in sales in Division B. Gallo took the Division A award for its “Pair It. Share It: Engaging the Millennial Consumer” campaign, while Campbell won Division B for Just Peachy salsa, a unique program that brought together Camden, N.J.-based Campbell, the New Jersey agriculture community and the Food Bank of South Jersey.
Leveraging extensive research, social media, a wine-and-food pairing website, “Pair It, Share it” taught millennials about wine and food pairing, showed them how to take and share pictures of food, and allowed them to engage and get recommendations from others using the #PairItShareIt Twitter feed. In addition to the digital and social elements, the campaign engaged millennials through in-store displays, point of sale, recipes and pairing guides. Not only did Pair It, Share It generate more than100 million incremental impressions for the focus brands, it drove impressive sales results for the retail partner.
Campbell’s culinary and product development teams concocted the salsa recipe, which used 850,000 pounds of blemished but edible peaches to make a shelf-stable product saving farmers landfill discard costs and providing the food bank with a future model for sustainable revenue. Campbell donated the product costs, recruited suppliers to donate ingredients and materials, and encouraged hundreds of employee volunteers to make, package and hand-label the salsa. Just Peachy was sold online and via local South Jersey retailers, with 100 percent of the profits going directly to the Food Bank of South Jersey. The effort now serves as an inspiration for similar projects across the United States.