NGA Accepting Creative Choice Award Entries

Which independent grocer has the best marketing and merchandising programs? The National Grocers Association (NGA), is now accepting entries for its annual Creative Choice Awards, a contest that recognizes the best programs of the past year.

The contest, sponsored by Kellogg’s and Unilever, has adjusted its categories a bit this year in deference to the “new normal” brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, said the NGA. This year features four marketing and four merchandising categories from which two winners for each category, one entry from 1-15 store operator and one entry from a 15+ store operator, will be selected.

“2020 has brought grocers a year of unprecedented challenges and changes,” said Laura Strange, NGA senior vice president, communications and external affairs. “But knowing that independent grocers are among the most innovative and resourceful retailers around, we’re confident that their stories of triumph this year will demonstrate their ability to flourish even in the most trying times.”

In addition to the updated categories, two new special-recognition awards will be presented by the competition’s sponsors: Kellogg’s Supermarket Superheroes Award, which recognizes those campaigns that honored a company’s frontline workers, and Unilever’s Excellence in Agility Award, which focused on the ways grocers had to pivot to meet new consumer demand and how they maintained strong relationships with their new customers.

Related Article: NGA Partners with ISSA to Create a Sanitation and Outbreak Prevention Program

Retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, manufacturers, and advertising agencies that create marketing and merchandising programs for independent grocery stores may submit entries; however, the Creative Choice Awards contest is a retailer competition, and the retailer that implements the campaign will be awarded. Events, campaigns, or promotions held between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020, are eligible. All entries are due Monday, December 7, 2020.

Entries will be judged based on creativity, clarity, and effectiveness. From the category winners, one “Outstanding Marketer” and one “Outstanding Merchandiser” winner will be selected by the public through online voting. These winners will be announced during the 2021 NGA Show and recognized yearlong.

More information about the award categories and how to enter can be found at

NGA Foundation, Cornell Launch Virtual e-Leadership Series

The NGA Foundation and Cornell University will host Head Start, a five-day virtual leadership development program crafted to address the challenges of leading a retail business through the pandemic, October 19-23, 2020.

Designed to complement NGA’s annual Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP), the week-long program offers 12 hours of instruction by Cornell faculty in two-hour increments per day. 

Sponsored by PepsiCo, Head Start is a high-impact learning opportunity encompassing five days of intense, interactive instruction presented by a mix of respected academic and industry leaders. Participants will come away with the tools to emerge from the pandemic in a position of strength. This is a brand-new program utilizing content from the executive education team at Cornell and specifically geared towards crisis management, innovation and adaptability.

Cornell’s Executive Education leverages faculty, research, and pedagogical innovation from all departments/schools at Cornell to deliver Customized Learning and Development solutions. Utilizing a wide range of customized learning methods, the team includes virtual classroom sessions, eCornell Expert-led and On-Demand asynchronous sessions, face-to-face sessions, experiential learning both within and outside the classroom, customized assessments, and executive/peer coaching, among other modalities.

“Investing in the next generation of leaders is vital to positioning your organization for long-term success,” said Maggie White, director of the NGA Foundation. “Head Start is the perfect learning opportunity for your rising stars.”

Who should attend?

Alumni of the NGA Foundation’s Executive Leadership Development Program.

Mid- to upper-level executives with large spans of control and responsibilities who may be candidates for ELDP.

“Due to the pandemic, the NGA Foundation was not able to hold its five-day intensive Executive Leadership Development Program this year,” White said. “Instead, thanks to PepsiCo, we are pleased to announce Head Start, an entirely new program that is the perfect booster shot for graduates of ELDP looking to hone their skills in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Click here to register

All participants will receive a digital certificate from Cornell University upon completion of the program.