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UCB celebrates heroes of convenience

United Convenience Buyers (UCB) has ended its annual national conference on a high, recognising the work of its members and trade partners at its gala awards.

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The ‘super heroes and villains’ themed awards night on Wednesday concluded the three-day event which was held at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast this week.

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) was awarded the Grade Champion award, while Parmalat received Trade Stand of the Year.  Other Trade Partner of the Year category winners included Frucor (Energy), Nestle (Confectionery), Smiths Snack Foods (Snacking), Parmalat (Flavoured Milk), Pacific Optics (General Merchandise and Communications), The Distributors (Wholesale/Distributor) and Phillip Morris (Tobacco). Mrs Mac’s also received Food Manufacturer of the Year.

Store of the Year (Single Store Operator) was awarded to Caltex Kurri Kurri, while Store of the Year (Multi-Site operator) went to Westside Cooma. Frucor’s Jacinda Lythgo won the highly contested Trade Partner Representative of the Year. Cornetto was also recognised, taking out Product of the Year for it $2 variety.

parmalat_optThe UCB national conference officially commenced on Monday with a welcome dinner for members. The following day members participated in activities including go-karts, golf, a day spa and winery tour.  Delegates were treated to a lavish poolside dinner later that evening and entertained throughout the night by dance group Phly Crew and a fireworks show.

The third and final day of the conference kicked off with a series of business sessions. Speakers included UCB’s Darren Park and Kevin Azzopardi; Shopper Tracker’s Brett Barclay; Olympic Gold Medalist, Steven Bradbury; finance and economic commentator, Peter Switzer and Beechworth Bakery founder and owner, Tom O’Toole.

Mr Park opened the business session by thanking UCB’s members and trade partners throughout following a year of solid results, however, said that as an industry “we need to challenge ourselves even further”.

Following Mr Barclay’s presentation, which included a snapshot of current industry trends, he hosted a Q&A session with UCB’s Kevin Azzopardi, discussing the ever-growing role of food in convenience, including UCB’s new concept which was the result of local and international industry research conducted by the team.

“This industry was very much about the fuel and the forecourt 30 years ago. Over that time we have developed a strong retail offer that we see today but we’re seeing a lot of change again now,” Mr Azzopardi said.

“Food is a category that we believe can carry this industry. It’s a category that can create multiple visits during the day, when we’ve been talking about food all these years it’s about trying to create a category that is financially stable within itself.

“Having [food] as a category within our stores that’s profitable within itself is a huge mindset change.”

Attendees were able to see UCB’s cafe concept in action at the trade show which was held after the business sessions, serving hot food and coffee.

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Full list of award winners:

Trade Partner of the Year – Drinks, Carbonated, Sports and Water: Coca-Cola Amatil

Trade Partner of the Year – Energy Drink: Frucor

Trade Partner of the Year ­– Confectionery:  Nestle

Trade Partner of the Year ­– Snacking: Smiths Snack Foods

Food Manufacturer of the Year: Mrs Mac’s

Trade Partner of the Year ­– Flavoured Milk: Parmalat

Trade Partner of the Year ­–General Merchandise: Pacific Optics

Store of the Year (Single Store Operator): Caltex Kurri Kurri

Store of the Year (Multi-site operator): Westside Cooma

Trade Partner of the Year ­– Cigarettes: Phillip Morris

Trade Partner of the Year – Communications: Pacific Optics

Wholesaler/Distributor of the Year: The Distributors

New Product of the Year: Cornetto $2 variety

Trade Partner Representative of the Year: Jacinda Lythgo, Frucor

Trade Partner of the Year – Grand Champion: Coca-Cola Amatil

Trade Stand of the Year: Parmalat

Read C&I’s full coverage of the UCB National Conference for 2016 in the upcoming December/January issue of C&I Retailing.

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