Citing Rich’s innovation and commitment to customer service, Supermarket News magazine in October 2010 bestowed Rich’s In-Store Bakery (ISB) Division one of its “Category Excellence” awards, which recognize suppliers who support brand and category performance at retail in a variety of ways.
The awards paid tribute to suppliers who best served food retailer needs during the year. The editors of Supermarket News (SN) – the supermarket industry’s leading trade publication – selected the 2010 winners based on feedback from retailers, who voted in a comprehensive online survey and participated in interviews. The magazine rounded out this information with additional surveys and interviews with other industry participants.
SN reported that retailers and other industry sources praised Rich’s for its marketing support and especially for its close-up support in-store. While honoring Rich’s in the category of In-Store Bakery, the magazine lauded ISB for its ability to tie into consumer trends, as well as for its in-store execution.
For example, in 2010 ISB collaborated with Chips Ahoy!® to introduce Cookie Crunch® Bettercreme® with Chips Ahoy! whipped icing – “one of Rich’s several new attention-getters,” SN pointed out. The editors also highlighted Rich’s earlier purchase of GLP Free Manufacturing, which led to development of a line of gluten-free breads, cakes, muffins, pizza dough and tortillas, to satisfy growing consumer demand for gluten-free items.
SN was also impressed by Rich’s detailed customer satisfaction study, which seeks to identify ways the company can provide more value to its retail customers.
“It was a great honor for the ISB Division to be recognized this way, since nominations came straight from our customers,” said Nick Stambula, vice president, Rich’s ISB Marketing. “Our business has been built on a combination of product innovation and customer satisfaction. ISB continuously speaks with our customers to identify new ways of improving the value we provide to them.”
Supermarket News made note of Rich’s dedicated sales and marketing force, which includes a team of technical consultants. Through that expertise, “the company offers cake decorating training and shopper insights, and continuously looks for ways to help out,” SN reported.
“Rich’s has excellent customer service,” John Chickery, the bakery director at Riesbeck’s Markets, in St. Clairsville, Ohio, told Supermarket News. “On a scale of one to 10, I’d give them a 10. If we have a problem or a question, they’re on it right away.”
The company’s packaging innovation was not overlooked when the awards were announced. SN made mention of the several changes Rich’s has instituted to reduce plastic use and improve distribution efficiency through new packaging.
“It is encouraging to see how innovative the food retailing industry has remained, despite the economy,” Supermarket News said in its “Category Excellence” report. “From new products and new sustainability initiatives to new ways to reach customers via social media, it is clear that the fresh food suppliers represented in this report are in tune with what consumers want, and with what their retail customers need.”