PMA names Retail Merchant Innovation Award winners

PMA names Retail Merchant Innovation Award winners

The Produce Marketing Association recognized four retail leaders Oct. 14 at Fresh Summit with its new Retail Merchant Innovation Award.

The award is designed to celebrate directors and vice presidents of produce who have "created an entrepreneurial culture and (promote) best-in-class merchant innovation, promotion and consumer education while successfully achieving team goals and growing demand for fresh produce in their stores," according to PMA.

The first class of winners of the award are:

  • Scott Bennett, produce sales manager for Itasca, Ill.-based Jewel-Osco
  • Mike Tipton, vice president of produce and floral for St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets
  • Bridget Bennett, supervisory category manager for produce, Fort Lee, Va.-based Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
  • Jeff Cady, director of produce and floral, Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Friendly Markets

All four are respected veterans of the industry. Cady also received recognition this week as PMG's Produce Retailer of the Year, and Scott Bennett received the honor from PMG (then Produce Retailer) in 2019.

DeCA, under the leadership of Bridget Bennett, was named Produce Retailer of the Year in 2012, and she was also honored as one of The Packer's Women in Produce in 2014. 

Tipton turned heads last year with the world's largest pineapple display, and Schnucks recently opened its first of a new format called EatWell, focused on organic and natural products.

To read more about these winners and their work, check out the following articles:

"At the top of his game" — Jeff Cady is the 2020 Produce Retailer of the Year — Jeff Cady rarely misses an opportunity to get better, and that approach has served him well as director of produce and floral for Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Friendly Markets.

Schnucks and the world's largest pineapple display — “Excitement sells produce!” said vice president of produce Mike Tipton.

2019 Produce Retailer of the Year — Jewel-Osco's Scott Bennett — Suppliers appreciate the partnerships they have with Jewel-Osco produce sales and merchandising manager Scott Bennett.

Schnucks vice president of produce talks new EatWell format — Fresh produce plays a starring role at EatWell, the new natural store format St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets debuted in late June in Columbia, Mo.

Women in Produce — Bridget Bennett — "When I was promoted to produce manager, I knew that I had found a challenge that really intrigued me and allowed me to use my creativity," Bennett said.

"Essential and exceptional" — 2012 Produce Retailer of the Year — "It is so much more than delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to the commissaries."