Curtis Aikens. (Image Credit: LinkedIn)
Culinary celebrity Curtis Aikens will be part of the National Grocers Association’s Creative Choice Awards program as master of ceremonies during the 2024 NGA Show, which is scheduled to take place March 10-12 in Las Vegas.
During the show, Aikens will distribute awards for excellence in marketing and merchandising, as well as lead panel discussions with the award winners as part of “Snack and See: Unwrap Innovative Insights from the 2024 Creative Choice Award Winners,” on the afternoon of March 10.
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“Chef Curtis brings an excitement and enthusiasm for food and healthy eating that will translate well for the Creative Choice Awards, which recognize independent grocers for, among other things, their ability to engage with consumers in a meaningful way,” noted Laura Strange, chief communications and engagement officer and SVP of Washington, D.C.-based NGA.
The annual awards program, presented by Kellanova and Unilever, honors the best marketing and merchandising programs in the grocery industry. Award recipients receive national recognition at The NGA Show.
A Food Network pioneer and regular cast member on ABC's “Good Morning America,” Aikens doesn’t just provide food-related advice and recipes – he also works to lower the incidence of diabetes and increase literacy. The Georgia native’s fondness for fresh produce began as a child in his grandfather’s garden. His interest grew during high school, when he worked at a local A&P supermarket. Later, he moved to California, worked at a grocery store in the San Francisco Bay Area and opened his first produce company, called Peaches. Next, he headed to New York to run produce departments for Dom’s Wholesale Market and Balducci’s. Aikens’ television career began as a consultant and food stylist on commercials for Pizza Hut, Pillsbury and McDonald’s. In 1988, he returned to his home state to start Aiken’s Family Produce Inc., a wholesale and retail supplier of produce.
A must-attend annual event for the independent grocery sector for more than 40 years, The NGA Show is produced and managed by Clarion Events as part of the Food & Beverage Group in partnership with the NGA.