In a virtual awards show on Nov. 18, UNFI announced the 30 category winners of its annual Master Marketer competition, which recognizes best-in-class marketing efforts by independent grocery retailers served by UNFI’s wholesale distribution business.
The wholesaler also named the Cayman Islands’ Foster’s as 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,” said UNFI President Chris Testa.
This year, 275 marketing programs were submitted for the awards, which are judged based on the creativity, clarity and effectiveness of the stores’ marketing efforts. Entries were assessed by professors and grad students from St. Joe’s University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota.
Click through for the category winners and to learn more about this year’s Grand Master Marketer, Foster’s.
Tier 1: Stores 30,000 square feet and smaller
- Extra Effort Advertising – Hall's Great Valu Supermarket, Colonial Beach, Va., for its Hall’s strawberry season annual event
- Fresh Department – Handy Foods, Ottawa, Ill., for its Rib Fest
- Grand Opening/Anniversary Event – Bill’s IGA, Staunton, Ill., for its 39th anniversary
- Natural, Organic, Specialty – Food Bowl Market, San Diego, for gentrification
- Industry Promotion – Babbs Supermarket, Spencer, Ind., for its June Dairy Month 2020 campaign
- Public Service/Community – Vintage Grocers, Malibu, Calif., for its summer concerts
- Radio Spots – Island Foods, Chincoteague, Va.
- Website/Social Media – Supervalu, Warren, Ark., for its Supervalu Warren Facebook promotion
- TV Commercials – Baesler’s Market, Sullivan, Ind., for its local products TV commercial
- 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, Ind., for its talking TV displays
- Fresh Department – Dorothy Lane Market, Dayton, Ohio, for its Lobstermania Drive-Thru Edition
- Grand Opening/Anniversary Event – Oakes Farms Seed to Table, Naples, Fla., for a grand opening event
- Natural, Organic, Specialty – Wholesome Choice, Irvine, Calif., for website innovation
- Private Brands – Lynn’s Superfoods, Hardin, Mont., for its private label sale
- Industry Promotion – Chris Food Center, Sandstone, Minn., for its “May the Frozen Be With You” March Frozen Food Month campaign
- Public Service/Community – Mackenthun’s Fine Foods, Waconia, Minn., for its Stuff a Truck event
- Website/Social Media – North Branch County Market, North Branch, Minn., for its “North Branch County Market Gets a Pharmacy” promotion
- TV Commercials – Baesler’s Market, Terre Haute, Ind., for its “Groceries 2 Go” TV commercial
- Tier 2 Master Marketer – Oakes Farms Seed to Table, Naples, Fla.
Tier 3: Store groups with five or more locations
- Extra Effort Advertising – Foster’s, George Town, Grand Cayman, for its “These Are Our Heroes” campaign
- Fresh Department – Myers Group Corporate, Clinton, Wash., for its “Fill It Fresh” promotion
- Grand Opening/Anniversary Event – Coborn’s, Inc., St. Cloud, Minn., for its grand reopening of stores in New Prague, Clearwater and Sauk Rapids
- Natural, Organic, Specialty – Ingles Markets, Black Mountain, N.C., for its gluten-free gatefold circular
- Private Brands – Super One Foods, Duluth, Minn., for its private-brand event
- Industry Promotion – Karns, Harrisburg, Pa., for collaborative insights in action
- Public Service/Community – Pay-Less Market Inc., Hagatna, Guam, for its Kick the Fat 5K/10K race
- Radio Spots – Food Depot, Stockbridge, Ga.,
- Website/Social Media – The Fresh Market, Greensboro, N.C., for its “Meet the Curators–Produce Department” promotion
- TV Commercials – Cub, Stillwater, Minn., for its “Cub Clean Team” commercial
- Tier 3 Master Marketer – Karns, Harrisburg, Pa.
2020 Grand Master Marketer
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.
During the virtual event, Julian Foster, marketing senior manager, said, “After the year we had last year, with rebranding, creating a new visual identity for our stores, opening our 60,000-square-foot flagship location and just really focusing on training, developing our team and creating a customer experience unlike any other on the island, it’s really cool to be rewarded and to see our work culminate into this achievement.”
The 60,000-square-foot store opened Oct. 31, 2019, and features a wide selection of products, including specialty, organic, all-natural and local products; a Bay Market Cafe (deli-style cafe), featuring 14 made-to-order food stations, hot bars, coffee and juice bar; its largest range of gourmet cheeses; and a bakery department. The store also has a floral department, Foster’s Pharmacy, indoor and outdoor dining area and a demonstration kitchen.
Master Marketer Associate’s Choice Award
UNFI associates were also given the opportunity to vote for the first Master Marketer Associate’s Choice Award. In this category, 12 nominees in the TV commercial category were given another chance at being recognized for their TV spots. Winning this category was Cub in Stillwater, Minn., for its “Chalk Art” TV commercial, which highlighted messages supporting front-line workers, hope and simply making "each and every day a little brighter."