The annual Countdown Gala Dinner for 2017 recognised some of the top people working for one of our nation’s biggest chain. The dinner was hosted for their wide range of employees from all regions.
Presented by Prime Minister Bill English, the dinner was set to congratulate and recognise the employees that stand out among the crowd for the chain which employs thousands of kiwis.
The release from the chain announced the winners and why those individuals deserved the title of the best in show.
Awards were also presented to the chains top stockists and suppliers, showing appreciation for every part of the process.
The complete list of winners is below:
Produce Supplier of the Year - NS & EN Hinton
NS & EN Hinton has shown huge passion in delivering an outstanding level of quality to Countdown. Their products consistently receive positive customer feedback based on the taste and freshness of their produce.
Fresh Meat & Seafood Supplier of the Year - Auckland Meat Processors
Auckland Meat Processors and Countdown have had a business relationship for nearly 50 years, and over this time there has been significant repositioning in the meat industry through changing consumer trends. However the Auckland Meat Processors continue to be the critical link in the supply chain that ensures Countdown product remains the industry standard and award winning.
Perishables & Delicatessen Supplier of the Year - Westie Food Group
Westie Food Group has been a strategic partner with Countdown in the perishables and delicatessen category for many years. They have delivered innovation, continue to drive category growth, and share Countdown’s commitment to low prices every day.
Bakery Supplier of the Year - Farrah Breads
Farrah Bread has continued to deliver value within this competitive sub-category. The Price Down program, promotions and in-store activation's, new product development and collaborative account management has resulted in happy customers and consequently delivered exceptional sales growth for both the supplier and Countdown.
Grocery – Cooking & Baking Supplier of the Year - Heinz-Wattie’s NZ
Heinz-Wattie’s NZ joined Countdown’s Price Down programme last year. This supplier is collaborative, flexible and willing to find a solution that delivers for both parties. They have seen strong growth this year across multiple categories and departments.
Grocery – Breakfast & Snacking Supplier of the Year - Arnott’s New Zealand
Arnott’s NZ embraced Countdown’s Price Lockdown programme and as a result have had fantastic performance with their biscuits and snack food sales. They set a high standard and are a benchmark in terms of engagement with Countdown’s strategic intent.
Grocery – Beverages Supplier of the Year - Nestle New Zealand
Nestle NZ is undoubted a category leader and has transformed their performance by aligning with the Countdown’s strategy. They have been an anchor for the overall category growth and have seen strong growth in this fiercely competitive category.
Liquor Supplier of the Year - Lion New Zealand
Lion NZ has worked incredibly closely with Countdown over the last couple of years with an outstanding account team and in-store field team. They have had a fantastic year with significant growth, and have launched a number of new products. Lion has one of the fastest growing wine brands in the market, and has numerous products on Countdown’s Price Lockdown programme.
Grocery Non Food & General Merchandise Supplier of the Year - Edgewell Personal Care NZ
Edgewell Personal Care NZ has shown significant sales growth year-on-year and has continued to deliver strong profit leading performance in all categories. They are an outstanding example of a company that has understood and embraced Countdown’s strategy and one that forged a business relationship founded on year-on-year incremental performance.
New Product Development of the Year - Steinlager Tokyo Dry (Lion)
Steinlager Tokyo Dry arrived in the market in late October, and was an instant hit with Countdown customers, a new product under an iconic New Zealand brand, this product appealed to customer’s tastes and grew the size of the category.
Account Manager of the Year 2017 - Brad Garfield (Nestle New Zealand Limited)
Brad has done an outstanding job in understanding Countdown’s business, and in managing mutually beneficial outcomes for both businesses. He has demonstrated a passion, commitment, drive and enthusiasm for growing the category with customer needs foremost in his mind. Brad has worked across multiple categories with a commercially astute approach which has resulted in significant improvements in sales.
Countdown Product of the Year 2017 - Best Foods Mayonnaise (James Crisp Ltd)
Best Foods Mayonnaise has delivered improved profitability and has transformed category sales with double digit growth year-on-year, and is an icon product in Countdown’s Lock Down programme. This supplier’s bold commitment to helping Countdown deliver on their commitment of delivering lower prices everyday has seen an overwhelmingly positive response with our customers.
Countdown Category Manager of the Year - Louane Grace (Grocery Food)
Louane has demonstrated passion, enthusiasm, and energy for adapting to change. She is focused and has embraced Countdown’s core business processes and tools to generate outstanding customer value propositions. Louane has been rated by her peers and by her suppliers as an outstanding member of the Countdown team.
Store Manager of the Year
Paul Berney from Countdown Cable Car Lane
Forklift Driver of the Year
Sione Latu from the Auckland National Distribution Centre
Truck Driver of the Year
Rene Niovara from Mainfreight
Checkout Operator of the Year
Rachael Murray from Countdown Te Puke
From Left: PM Bill English, Racheal Murry, managing director Dave Chambers and general manager operations, Brett Ashley.