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Target, General Mills, and Acosta Honored for Their Consumer Focus

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Target Stores, General Mills, and Acosta Sales and Marketing Co. were yesterday named winners of this year's Consumer 360 Awards, co-sponsored by three VNU business publications, Progressive Grocer, Convenience Store News, and Brandweek. The awards were presented here at the Consumer 360 conference hosted by ACNielsen U.S. and Spectra, both VNU businesses.

The prestigious Consumer 360 Awards honor the retailer, manufacturer, and sales agency in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry that have demonstrated the best understanding of the consumer in their merchandising activities as voted by their peers.

Winners were selected by a poll of readers of Brandweek, Progressive Grocer, Retail Merchandiser, and Convenience Store News. Retailers were asked to choose the manufacturer winner, and manufacturers picked the retailer winner. Both manufacturers and retailers voted on the sales agency.

Target, the retailer winner, was praised for demonstrating the best understanding of the consumer in its year-round merchandising activities and for being able to connect actionable consumer insights to gain a competitive advantage in an environment that demands increasing efficiency.

Retailers recognized General Mills as Manufacturer of the Year for its commitment to understanding its shoppers and translating those insights into innovative and actionable merchandising strategies that generate profitable volume growth.

"We develop shopper insights by leveraging our proprietary tools and capabilities to combine scanner data with ACNielsen Homescan household panel data and attitudinal data we collect through Internet surveys," said Al Fan, director, category management, refrigerated/frozen categories at General Mills.

This is the third time Jacksonville, Fla.-based Acosta Sales and Marketing Co. has won the award. (Acosta previously accepted the Consumer 360 Award in 2003 and in 2000, when it was called the Category Masters award.)

Michael Bernatchez, s.v.p., corporate marketing, said the key for Acosta is finding the right program that uses and supports the retailer's merchandising assets and their go-to-market strategy, while still meeting the brand objectives and addressing consumer purchase dynamics.

Bernatchez emphasized the importance of using data to help build the plan and evaluate results. "Our Asset Knowledge Suite [AKS] tools that capture scan data trends and performance along with the use of our ACNielsen Homescan panel data allow us to build the best plan possible," he said. "Retail POS data, panel data, and Spectra's geo-demographic data allow us to make good merchandising and display recommendations based on historic volume performance and household demographics in key markets." Acosta also uses its post-promotion analysis (PPA) tool to evaluate promotions and work with the retailer to make the adjustments necessary to help meet sales and profit objectives at the brand and category level.
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