Pinnacle Foods at the Top

7-Eleven names dry-goods manufacturer as Retailer Initiative Award winner

Published in CSP Daily News

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. has named Pinnacle Food Products Inc., Lake Zurich, Ill., as the winner of its 2005 Retailer Initiative Award. Pinnacle, a dry goods manufacturer, produces the flavor mixes for a number of cappuccinos and cocoas in 7-Eleven stores nationwide.

Pinnacle won this honor for its outstanding efforts last year in customer satisfaction, demand chain support and the development of products that are exclusive to 7-Eleven.

Pinnacle's aggressive approach to new product development and their collaborative efforts with 7[image-nocss] -Eleven contributed to a record 10 percent sales increase in the hot beverage category in 2004, said David Podeschi, senior vice president of Merchandising for 7-Eleven, Dallas. The Pinnacle team is a results-driven organization with a strong customer focus that has positively impacted our business.

Pinnacle was presented the award at the 7-Eleven Business Partner Conference in Dallas on August 18, which attracted more than 600 senior executives and managers from more than 200 companies. Participants heard 7-Eleven leaders speak about 2006 business objectives, marketing and promotional plans and cause marketing opportunities with the company's signature charity, Education is Freedom.

Pinnacle Co-CEO Steve Colnitis said this award is a milestone for the supplier-retailer relationship that began 11 years ago with 7-Eleven. From the beginning, we have been treated as an integral business partner at 7-Eleven and this award is a tremendous honor for us, he said. We're just a small manufacturing company, and we are humbled by this honor.

Co-CEO John Ply added, The fact that 7-Eleven gives this award demonstrates the company's commitment to working with suppliers to support mutually beneficial growth. I am certain all 7-Eleven supplierslarge and smallwill be motivated to try and win this award next year.

The primary objective of the Retailer Initiative Award program is to formally recognize the supplier that has excelled at helping 7-Eleven meet its convenience customers changing needs through team merchandising, demand chain solutions, cost of goods, category management and contributing to creative advertising and promotional programs.

7-Eleven also presented Team Merchandising awards to outstanding suppliers in various categories. These winners include:

PepsiCo: Proprietary Products

Wells Blue Bunny: Vault

The Hershey Co.: Processed Foods

Kraft: Fresh Foods

Mountain View Marketing Inc.: Non-Foods

Boost Mobile: Services

Candidates were nominated by 7-Eleven's corporate merchandising and operations teams, and judged on business activities in 2004 and 2005. The award recipients were decided by the 7-Eleven Awards Committee, composed of five senior executive team members. This is the fourth year 7-Eleven has presented the Retailer Initiative award. Last year's winner was The Hershey Co.; Nestle Waters North America won in 2003; and Anheuser-Busch was the first recipient of the award in 2002.

Nominations for next year's award will begin in January recognizing efforts during 2005 -2006 that support 7-Eleven's strategy of Retailer Initiative and team merchandising to maximize sales potential for both organizations.

[Pictured (left to right): David Podeschi, SVP Merchandising for 7-Eleven; from Pinnacle, Richard Baggett, Sr. Business Development, Darrell Peck, DP Marketing/7-Eleven Account Manager, Andy Burke, President, John Ply, Co-CEO, and Steve Colnitis, Co-CEO; Gary Rose, EVP and COO for 7-Eleven.]