7-Eleven Honors Kraft

7-Eleven Inc. will present long-time supplier-partner Kraft Foods Global Inc. with the company’s 2008 Retailer Initiative Award at its Business Partners Dinner Sept. 9 in Dallas.  Retailer Initiative is 7-Eleven’s strategy for providing customers with what they want through item-by-item management at each store.


Kraft was selected for its high level of partnership throughout 2008 and for developing programs that increased sales at 7-Eleven stores in a challenging economic period, said Kevin Elliott, 7-Eleven’s senior vice president of merchandising.


The successful year of “team merchandising” included inventive product development to build store traffic throughout the day, exclusive new offerings based on consumer insights, and significant promotional support both inside and outside the store.


 “We consider the people at Kraft who work on our account to be valued partners because they go above and beyond what many manufacturers do in providing us with support, innovative ideas,” said Joe DePinto, president and CEO of 7-Eleven. “They treat our business with the same energy, enthusiasm and respect they give their own company.”  


7-Eleven bestowed the annual honor to its top suppliers and partners who excel in assisting the company meet its customers’ changing needs through supply chain solutions, category management and creativity in advertising and promotional programs. 


Among Kraft’s most recognized 7-Eleven product is the proprietary Big Bite all-beef Oscar Mayer hot dog, a perennial top-seller on 7-Eleven store grills, and the food giant has worked with 7-Eleven to increase sales across several food and beverage categories.  


“Receiving the 7-Eleven Retailer Initiative award is a tremendous honor for Kraft Foods,” said Frank Hopfinger, Kraft Foods’ vice president of growth channels.  “Partnering with 7-Eleven to identify and realize opportunities across many categories was one of our key accomplishments last year.”


7-Eleven praised Kraft for having a dedicated sales team that includes product development experts and analysts who play a significant role in its fresh foods business systems team.


“In 2008, they were instrumental in helping us grow the morning day-part of our grill business with a successful coffee and Breakfast Bite promotion,” Elliott said. “Special Big Bite and snack promotions also contributed considerable growth to both of our businesses.  Working together toward a common goal, we realized even greater benefits.”


Candidates were nominated by 7-Eleven’s merchandising and operations personnel and judged on 2008 business activities.  The award recipients were chosen by the 7-Eleven Awards Committee, composed of senior executives.


 “Strong focus and collaboration on foodservice, core items and strategic categories enabled Kraft Foods to grow our partnership with 7-Eleven by providing more support in fresh foods, innovative display activity and new item execution,” said Hopfinger.  “Kraft continues to be committed to our partnership with 7-Eleven and looks forward to many years of success working together.”


Companies receiving honorable mention recognition in the Retailer Initiative Award competition for their outstanding team merchandising efforts include Kellogg’s and Technimark.


This is the eighth year 7-Eleven has presented its Retailer Initiative award.  Last year’s winner was Mars Snackfood US.  Past winners, which included a tie one year, are Miller Brewing Co., UST Inc. and BakeFresh, Pinnacle Food Products Inc., The Hershey Co., Nestlé Waters North America and Anheuser-Busch. Nominations for next year’s award will begin in January and recognize efforts during 2009 that support 7-Eleven’s Retailer Initiative strategy and team merchandising to maximize sales potential for both organizations.


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