Kroger, Walgreens executives recipients of NCA 2017 Confectionery Leadership Award


WASHINGTON – The National Confectioners Association on Monday announced that Christina Groth from Kroger and Brian Rinker from Walgreens are the recipients of the 2017 Confectionery Leadership Awards. The award celebrates the honorees’ contributions to the category through their effective business collaboration, category management best practices, and innovations in merchandising confectionery products in-store.

“Many deserving and worthy candidates were submitted for the 2017 Confectionery Leadership Award, which recognizes dedication and innovation on the part of the industry’s retail customers,” stated NCA’s VP industry affairs Larry Wilson. “Both Christina and Brian exemplify what the award represents as they were selected among all nominees by the committee for their personal leadership, knowledge, expertise and commitment to the confectionery industry.”

Groth, VP general merchandise, healthy & beauty care and non-foods, has been at Kroger for more than 15 years, starting as an intern for the Fred Meyer division. In her role, she leads category management teams in setting and executing the assortment, merchandising and marketing strategies for more than 2,600 Kroger stores.

“This award is really for our team — our category managers, consumer insights group and our suppliers,” Groth said regarding the Confectionery Leadership Award. “It’s a reflection of the work they are all doing. I am just lucky to get to accept it on their behalf.”

Rinker, category manager, has been with confectionery for Walgreens for nearly four years, serving to develop and execute merchandising plans for its more than 8,100 stores. Prior to joining the candy desk, Rinker spent eight years as the cookie buyer.

“Being recognized as a leader in the confectionery category is very humbling,” Rinker said. “I love this category and what it stands for. Everyone needs a moment of happiness and confectionery can do that.”

NCA and Candy & Snack TODAY magazine created the awards program in 2011 to recognize and honor the confectionery industry’s best and most innovative leaders and category champions. The program allows NCA manufacturers and brokers to recognize outstanding retailers and wholesalers in the confectionery community for their effective customer marketing, shopper-driven shelving practices, and promotion of new items.

Groth and Rinker will be presented with their awards in Miami at NCA’s annual State of the Industry Conference, March 6-8, 2017.

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