Snacks & Candy

7-Eleven Honors UST, BakeFresh

Bestows Retailer Initiative Awards on tobacco, bakery companies

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. has named UST Inc. and BakeFresh Co. LLC as winners of its 2006 Retailer Initiative Awards. UST is a holding company for its principal subsidiaries U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., makers of Copenhagen and Skoal, the world's best-selling moist smokeless tobacco brands, and International Wine & Spirits Ltd. BakeFresh produces fresh bakery items for select retail and convenience store operations on the East Coast.

Dallas-based 7-Eleven said it selected UST for the company's efforts in customer focus, demand-chain support and cost-of-goods [image-nocss] management during 2005. UST has had a positive impact on our organization with a collaborative approach to merchandising their high-quality products and maximizing in-store promotions to provide superior value to customers, said 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto. This well-deserved award is a result of UST management's ongoing support of the 7-Eleven Retailer Initiative strategy and their leadership, passion and overall efforts to grow the moist smokeless tobacco category.

DePinto added that UST promotes expanded fresh-daily distribution through the 7-Eleven Combined Distribution Center (CDC) network, which results in double-digit growth in these CDC areas by offering the consumer the freshest product available at 7-Eleven. UST also provides regional product assortment recommendations to help 7-Eleven stores effectively grow moist smokeless tobacco sales and profits effectively.

BakeFresh is a team-merchandising leader for 7-Eleven operations in the Chesapeake and New England regions. The supplier has established production efficiency and execution, and quality assurance standards that serve as best practices for other 7-Eleven bakery partners. Also, the company created additional training tools for its manufacturing locations focused on improving product quality, freshness and sales.

The BakeFresh team uses its innovative expertise to provide solutions for new product introductions and improves service to our stores with only the latest equipment and technology in their facilities, said Cynthia Davis, senior vice president of merchandising for 7-Eleven. This is a company that leads by example and this award recognizes that.

In addition, companies receiving honorable-mention recognition for their outstanding team merchandising efforts include Virgin Mobile USA LLC and Miller Brewing Co.

The primary objective of the 7-Eleven Retailer Initiative Award is to formally recognize the supplier that has excelled at helping 7-Eleven meet its convenience customers' changing needs through team merchandising, demand-chain solutions, cost of goods, category management and contributing to creative advertising and promotional programs.

Candidates were nominated by 7-Eleven's merchandising and operations teams and judged on business activities in 2005. The award recipients were chosen by the 7-Eleven Awards Committee composed of senior executive team members. This is the fifth year 7-Eleven has presented its Retailer Initiative award. Last year's winner was Pinnacle Food Products, Inc., and past winners include The Hershey Co, Nestle Waters North America and Anheuser-Busch.

UST Inc., Greenwich, Conn., is a holding company for its principal subsidiaries: U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. and International Wine & Spirits Ltd. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco is a major producer and marketer of moist smokeless tobacco products, including Copenhagen, Skoal, Red Seal and Husky. International Wine & Spirits Ltd. produces and markets premium wines sold nationally through the Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, Conn Creek and Villa Mt. Eden wineries, as well as sparkling wine produced under the Domaine Ste. Michelle label.

BakeFresh Manufacturing Co. is a Chesapeake, Va.-based wholesale manufacturing company that supplies 7-Eleven and other outlets with delicious, high quality baked goods. The company was founded in 1988 as a Central Production Facility to service a multi-unit Dunkin Donut franchisee. In 1996, the company signed a wholesale manufacturing agreement with 7-Eleven, which continues today. In 2005, the company continued their growth into the New England area and consistently looks for ways to grow the 7-Eleven fresh bakery business. BakeFresh delivers donuts, muffins, brownies, cookies and other baked goods fresh, 365 days a year.

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