In a virtual awards show aired on Wednesday, Nov. 18, United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) revealed the 30 category winners of its annual Master Marketer competition, which recognizes best-in-class marketing efforts by independent grocers served by UNFI’s wholesale distribution business.
Along with the category winners, Foster’s, a family-owned and -operated grocer with five stores and a distribution center on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, was named the 2020 Grand Master Marketer for overall consistent performance over the years.
“In a year of great change and challenges, we’re proud of how our independent grocers are continuing to make powerful connections with their customers and local communities through effective marketing and merchandising programs,” noted UNFI President Chris Testa. “We’re thrilled to continue our Master Marketer awards program, albeit virtually this year, and recognize those grocers who are truly excelling at building their brand, their customer relationships and their overall business. Congratulations to all the nominees, winners and to Foster’s for their achievement as this year’s Grand Master Marketer recipient.”
This year, 275 marketing programs competed for the 2020 Master Marketer awards which are judged according to the creativity, clarity and effectiveness of the stores’ marketing efforts. Entries were rated by professors and graduate students from St. Joe’s University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota.
Further, UNFI associates were able to vote for the first-ever Master Marketer Associate’s Choice Award from among 12 nominees in the TV commercial category. The winner in this category was Cub Foods, in Stillwater, Minn., for its “Chalk Art” TV ad.
The full list of store winners by category is as follows:
Tier 1: Stores 30,000 square feet and smaller
- Extra Effort Advertising: Hall's Great Valu Supermarket, Colonial Beach, Virginia
- Fresh Department: Handy Foods, Ottawa, Illinois
- Grand Opening/Anniversary: Bill’s IGA, Staunton, Illinois
- Natural, Organic, Specialty: Food Bowl Market, San Diego
- Industry Promotion: Babbs Supermarket, Spencer, Indiana
- Public Service/Community: Vintage Grocers, Malibu, California
- Radio Spots: Island Foods, Chincoteague, Virginia
- Website/Social Media: Supervalu, Warren, Arkansas
- TV Commercials: Baesler’s Market, Sullivan, Indiana
- Tier 1 Master Marketer: Food Bowl Market, San Diego
Tier 2: Stores larger than 30,000 square feet
- Extra Effort Advertising: Baesler's Market, Terre Haute, Indiana
- Fresh Department: Dorothy Lane Market, Dayton, Ohio
- Grand Opening/Anniversary: Oakes Farms Seed to Table, Naples, Florida
- Natural, Organic, Specialty: Wholesome Choice, Irvine, California
- Private Brands: Lynn’s Superfoods, Hardin, Montana
- Industry Promotion: Chris Food Center, Sandstone, Minnesota
- Public Service/Community: Mackenthun’s Fine Foods, Waconia, Minnesota
- Website/Social Media: North Branch County Market, North Branch, Minnesota
- TV Commercials: Baesler’s Market, Terre Haute, Indiana
- Tier 2 Master Marketer: Oakes Farms Seed to Table, Naples, Florida
Tier 3: Store groups with five or more locations
- Extra Effort Advertising: Foster’s, George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
- Fresh Department: Myers Group Corporate, Clinton, Washington
- Grand Opening/Anniversary: Coborn’s Inc., St. Cloud, Minnesota
- Natural, Organic, Specialty: Ingles Markets, Black Mountain, North Carolina
- Private Brands: Super One Foods, Duluth, Minnesota
- Industry Promotion: Karns, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Public Service/Community: Pay-Less Market Inc., Hagatna, Guam
- Radio Spots: Food Depot, Stockbridge, Georgia
- Website/Social Media: The Fresh Market, Greensboro, North Carolina
- TV Commercials – Cub Foods, Stillwater, Minnesota
- Tier 3 Master Marketer: Karns, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Providence, Rhode Island-based UNFIdelivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 61 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.