Kroger’s Central Division Names Frieda’s Vendor of the Year

Kroger’s Central Division selected Frieda’s Inc. as its 2011 Vendor of the Year for Produce Merchandising. The Central Division of Kroger awards vendors each year for their efforts in increasing Kroger’s business and customer service.

“This was such an unexpected honor and a great way to start off our 50th year in business,” said Jackie Caplan Wiggins, Frieda’s vp and COO. April 2 is the 50th anniversary for the Los Alamitos, Calif.-based wholesale produce company.

Frieda’s was recognized for its partnership, commitment and innovation, with an emphasis on the successful Frieda’s Produce University promotion that took place at all Kroger Central stores last November. The two-part promotion began with an in-depth produce manager training seminar, followed by a store-level customer engagement event led by each produce manager.

“Their creativity and innovation in produce is unsurpassed,” said Gregg Proctor, produce merchandiser for the Indianapolis-based Kroger Central Division. “Their marketing team coordinated communication and advertising with all of the food editors in all of our markets. In addition, they utilized social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as many of the bloggers in our area, and got the message out to our customers about a unique event in our stores.”

Wiggins explained that the success of the promotion was due, in part, to the commitment from the top of the Kroger division. “Gregg’s whole produce team was 100 percent engaged in the promotion, making it very easy for the stores to connect with their shoppers and build specialty produce sales.”

The Kroger Central Division includes 147 food stores, 122 pharmacies and 64 fuel centers operating under five banners: Kroger, Scott's, Owen's, Hilander and Pay Less.

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