Category Colonels Awards
Special Report - 2012 Catergory Colonel Awards

Readers At The Heart Of Category Colonels' Success

July 18, 2012
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It’s difficult to get a real sense of how important a flagship contest like the Category Colonels is until you see the reaction of winners in person.
We got to see that up close and personal last month at our conference at the Hilton Chicago, where Category Colonel winners who attended were presented with their 2012 gold and silver awards.
The smiles on their faces, the applause for each of the winners announced, spoke volumes. So many came up to our team over the course of three days to tell us how important it was, how it was the driving factor in their attendance — to receive their Category Colonel award.
What would make it so important? Why would winning this award impact a company and its employees so deeply?
We talk often in meetings and conferences about the strength of our readership, the audited tens of thousands of decision-makers in private label who get our magazine each month. But this, here, is the true measure of the strength of our audience.
Because it’s not us telling someone else how good they are. It’s the suppliers, the award winners, saying it for us.
It’s important because it’s a contest voted on by our readers. It’s a contest determined not by a panel of “experts.” Not by a small editorial group at our magazine. By our readers.
And the response from the winners tells you how important that is to them. They know how important our readers are in the industry, how well-informed they are, how their opinion on a company makes a real difference in products getting on the shelf.
So being selected a gold or silver award winner in one of the 116 categories listed in the 2012 Category Colonels contest is not simply a tag to put on marketing. It’s not a certificate to hang up on a bare wall. It’s a stamp of approval.
It’s the insight from people who make decisions in the private label industry every day, saying that company produces a quality product, excels in customer service, provides merchandising and support along the way, works collaboratively with retailers and other suppliers in the chain, and is efficient at doing the job.
That’s why this contest is held in such high regard. It’s why a company might travel hundreds or thousands of miles to pick up its award at our conference. It’s why our readers took the time to cast hundreds of ballots — enough to fill up the entire floor of one of our offices as the ballot counting took place.
There will be some tweaks and changes and improvements to the contest as we move forward, and we appreciate any feedback from our readers and the winners for ways to improve. But one thing will not change.
Winning a Category Colonel award — whether it’s your first or you’ve won in each of the 12 years we’ve conducted the contest — means something important. Because our readers have said that company is worth their business.
PLBuyer wants to congratulate all 232 award winners, as well as all the readers who took the time to participate in the contest.

An Overview of the Winners

The 12th version of the Category Colonels contest featured 232 awards given over 116 categories, the most categories honored in the history of the competition.
There were 155 different companies honored, six more than were honored in 2011. And multiple winners abounded.
Wild Thymes Farm came away as the biggest winner of the 2012 Category Colonels contest. The sauce maker had the most overall Category Colonel awards with seven, and the most gold awards, winning five categories.
LiDestri Foods came in next with six Category Colonels, including a gold and five silver awards. Garcoa Laboratories, Windsor Foods, and Carriage House Companies each brought home five awards, Garcoa earning two golds and three silvers, Windsor bringing back two golds and three silvers, and Carriage House earning three golds and two silvers.
Three other companies earned three gold awards in the 2012 competition: Clement Pappas with three golds among its four awards, Cott Corporation with three golds and a silver, and Karlin Foods with three golds.
Other multiple gold award winners, in alphabetical order with two apiece, were: Barrel O’ Fun Snack Foods, ConAgra, Lakeside Foods, Lucerne Foods, Pacific Coast Producers, Presto Products, Ralston Foods, Red Gold, Schreiber Foods, Snyder's-Lance, Sun Products, The Perfect Bite Co. and Windsor Foods.
LiDestri had the most silver awards with its five. U.S. Nonwovens joined Windsor Foods and Garcoa Laboratories with three silvers.
Other companies earning two silvers each, in alphabetical order, were: Bay Valley Foods, Hormel Foods, J&J Snack Foods, Jel Sert, McCain Foods, Nice-Pak, S.T. Specialty Foods, Seneca Foods, SunOpta Food Solutions, Tower Laboratories, and Wild Thymes.
Finally, PLBuyer would like to single out three companies for continuing a winning streak in the Category Colonels competition. These companies have won Category Colonel awards in their respective categories every year since the contest began: Ranir (Oral Care), Nice-Pak (Pre-moistened Wipes) and Ralston (Breakfast Foods/Cereal).
Congratulations to all winners in the 2012 competition.


Food & Beverage Category Colonels

Category Gold Silver
Alternative Beverages Clement Pappas Jel Sert
Asian Foods Windsor Foods Water Lilies Foods
Baby Food/Formula PBM Products Jacks Harvest
Baked Goods Cloverhill Bakery Harlan Bakeries
Bakery Mixes ADM Bektrom Foods
Beverage Mixes Sturm Foods Jel Sert
Beverages – Alcoholic Winery Exchange LiDestri Foods
Beverages – Organic Clement Pappas Cott Corporation
Beverages – Smoothies Sunrise Growers - Frozsun Foods SunOpta Food Solutions
Beverages – Sport/Energy Cott Corporation Berner Food
Bottled Water Niagara Bottling Winona Foods
Bread/Dough Frozen Furlani T. Marzetti
Bread/Dough Refrigerated Sara Lee DaVinci Foods
Breakfast Foods Ralston Foods Windsor Foods
Candy Kerry Custom Products Palmer Candy
Carbonated Soft Drinks Cott Corporation SunOpta Food Solutions
Cereal Ralston Foods Sturm Foods
Cheese – Natural Winona Foods Saputo Cheese
Cheese – Shelf/Stable Schreiber Foods Berner Food
Cheese – Specialty Schreiber Foods ICCO Cheese
Coffee Massimo Zanetti Mother Parker's
Condiments – BBQ Wild Thymes The Carriage House
Condiments – Ketchup Red Gold Wild Thymes
Condiments – Mayo The Carriage House Ventura Foods
Condiments – Mustard Golding Farms Woeber Mustard Co.
Condiments – Salsa Red Gold LiDestri Foods
Cookies Interbake Foods Snyder-Lance
Crackers Snyder-Lance Bremner Food Group
Dairy Lucerne Foods Shamrock Group
Dairy – Organic Jasper Products Aurora Organic Dairy
Deli Meats Carl Buddig West Liberty Foods
Desserts – Frozen/Refrigerated Mister Cookie Face J&J Snack Foods
Dry Dinner Mixes Karlin Food Products S.T. Specialty Foods
Eggs NuCal Foods Williamette Egg Farms
Fruit – Canned Pacific Coast Producers Seneca Foods
Fruit – Frozen Sunrise Growers - Frozsun Foods Imperial Frozen Foods
Fruit Snacks National Raisin Pacific Coast Producers
Gelatin/Puddings Jel Sert Hormel Foods
Hispanic Food The Carriage House Border Foods
Ice Cream/Novelties Lucerne Foods Fieldbrook Foods
Italian Food Windsor Foods Valley Fine Foods
Jams/Jellies/Preserves Wild Thymes The Carriage House
Juices – Refrigerated LiDestri Foods Imbibe
Juices – Shelf/Stable Cott Corporation Clement Pappas
Kosher Products Hormel Foods Giovanni Food Company
Meals (Prepared) Frozen The Perfect Bite Co. Windsor Foods
Meat – Canned Faribault Foods Hormel Foods
Meat – Refrigerated/Frozen West Liberty Foods Windsor Foods
Meat Snacks Marfood USA Old Wisconsin
Nuts/Seeds/Trail Mixes John B. Sanfillippo and Son Amport Foods
Oils Fine Italian Food LiDestri Foods
Olives Bell-Carter Foods Agro-Sevilla
Organic Cookies Snyder-Lance Commercial Bakeries
Organic Foods Pacific Coast Producers Chelten House
Pasta – Dry Dakota Growers American Italian Pasta
Pasta – Refrigerated/Frozen Freiberger Bertagni
Pickles Bay Valley Foods Wild Thymes
Pizza - Frozen DaVinci Foods Palermo's
Potatoes – Frozen ConAgra - Lamb Weston McCain Foods
Poulty – Refrigerated/Frozen Tyson Foods Pierre Foods
Prepared Meals Karlin Food Products Gilster-Mary Lee
Produce River Ranch Walker's Food Products
Rice Karlin Food Products S.T. Specialty Foods
Salad Dressings Wild Thymes Bay Valley Foods
Salty Snacks/Chips Barrel O' Fun Snack Foods Snak King
Salty Snacks/Pretzels Barrel O' Fun Snack Foods J&J Snack Foods
Sauces/Marinades Wild Thymes Golding Farms
Seafood – Canned Chicken of the Sea Ocean Beauty
Seafood – Frozen High Liner Foods Seafood America
Snack/Granola Bars ConAgra Foods Bloomfield Bakers
Snacks/ Appetizer - Frozen The Perfect Bite Co. McCain Foods
Soup – Canned Morgan Foods Bay Valley Foods
Soup – Refrigerated Marsan Mondiv
Spices/Seasonings McCormick Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings
Spreads Wild Thymes Grecian Delight Foods
Sweetners Associated Brands Heartland Sweetners
Syrups The Carriage House LiDestri Foods
Tea Clement Pappas Harris Tea
Vegetables – Canned Lakeside Foods Seneca Foods
Vegetables – Frozen Lakeside Foods Gourmet Express
Vinegar Mizkan Americas LiDestri Foods


Non-Food Category Colonels

Category Gold Silver
Antacids/Digestive Aids Raritan Pharmaceuticals Tower Laboratories
Baby Diapers Irving Consumer Products Associated Hygenic Products
Baby Products Rockline Industries Nice-Pak
Bath and Body Chemolee Corp. Garcoa Laboratories
Batteries Fuji Norvell Batteries Powermax Battery
Cleaning Aids Sun Products Clean Ones
Cold Remedies Tower Laboratories Gemini Pharmaceuticals
Cosmetics Fruit of the Earth US Nonwovens
Cotton North American Cotton US Cotton
Eyecare Bausch & Lomb KC Pharmaceuticals
Facial Care US Nonwovens Nice-Pak
Feminine Care Albaad Rostam Fempro
First Aid Products US Cotton Premier Brands
Foils/Wraps Reynolds Packaging Group Trinidad Benham
Food/Trash Bags Presto Products Reynolds Packaging Group
Foot Care Premier Brands Garcoa Laboratories
Hair Care Garcoa Laboratories American Comb
Home Diagnostic Mansfield Medical Dist. Veridian Healthcare
Home Fragrances Personal Care Products Inc. Stonewall Kitchen
Household Cleaning Clean Ones US Nonwovens
Laundry Products Sun Products Personal Care Products Inc.
Light Bulbs Linkage Technologies Feit Electric
Oral Care Ranir Oratech
OTC LNK Interational Tower Laboratories
Paper Products – Other Clearwater Paper U.S. Alliance Paper
Paper Products – Tissues Cascades Tissues Global Tissue Group
Personal Care Hospeco Garcoa Laboratories
Pet Food Simmons Pet Food Camerican International
Pet Supplies Simmons Pet Food US Nonwovens
Plastic Cups/Bowls/Utensils Solo Cup AJM Packaging
Plastic Storage Presto Products Webster Industries
Pre-Moistened Wipes Nice-Pak Diamond Wipes
Shaving Products Energizer Personal Care Pace Shave
Skin Care Garcoa Laboratories Sun Labs
Vitamins/Nutritional Supplements Century Foods BestSweet

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