Snacks & Candy

TA's Kempton Earns Confectionery Leadership Award

Category manager recognized for staying ahead of shopper trends
NCA Leadership
Images courtesy of NCA

WASHINGTON — TravelCenters of America Category Manager Peter Kempton Jr. was named one of two 2021 Confectionery Leadership Award winners.

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) and Candy & Snack Today awarded the honor to Peter Kempton, TA's category manager for center store, and to Maureen Keenan, category manager of seasonal candy for CVS Pharmacy. The awards will be presented remotely during NCA’s virtual State of the Industry Conference on March 9.

 Peter Kempton and Maureen Keenan

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of adaptability, innovation and collaboration with our retail partners as critical components to the confectionery industry’s success,” John Downs, president and CEO of NCA, said. “During this challenging year, Maureen and Peter contributed to the resilience of the category, leading with a growth mindset and an eye toward our industry’s future.”

Kempton has been with TravelCenters of America for 11 years, serving as a category manager for the past five and a half years, and has built a reputation for collaborating with confectionery manufacturers to stay ahead of shopper trends, NCA said. In June 2020, he partnered with NCA to pioneer TA’s National Candy Month promotion, expanding the share of total store for the confectionery category.

“In 2020, we looked at what we could do differently to branch out,” said Kempton. “Attending the 2020 State of the Industry Conference planted the seed of National Candy Month, and we were able to build that into an event in the store last year that helped drive sales.”

TravelCenters of America operates more than 260 travel centers across 43 U.S. states and one Canadian province. It ranked No. 28 in CSP’s2020 Top 202 list of the largest -store chains in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Keenan has worked for CVS Pharmacy for more than 25, working her way from CVS store manager to her current position. Her ability to quickly pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic and analyze new industry trends ensured that CVS’s seasonal candy displays continued to inspire shoppers, NCA said, allowing CVS to outperform the general drug-store channel in confectionery sales.

“In 2020 I tried to expand my knowledge and my relationships, looking at things in new ways,” said Keenan. “I spent time coming up with ways to do things differently and understanding the business in new ways to figure out how to expand our reach and meet our customers’ needs.”

NCA, in collaboration with Candy & Snack Today magazine, created the Confectionery Leadership Awards program in 2011 to recognize and honor the confectionery industry’s best and most innovative category champions and leaders.

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