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Toasting Winners in Food and Football

ORLANDO, Fla. — There were two major questions as industry executives gathered Jan. 21 for the annual Friends of the Industry Dinner during Food Marketing Institute's Midwinter Executive Conference here.

The first was who would win the annual SN food industry awards presented at the dinner. The second question was which football team would take the American Football Conference championship, which was carried live on large TV screens set up around the banquet room.

All the results were evident by dinner's end. The Indianapolis Colts came from behind to beat the New England Patriots. And SN's awards were made to executives at some of the industry's largest companies (those who got an early look at SN's Jan. 22 issue would have known the winners in advance).

The SN awards were presented by Dan Bagan, SN's senior vice president. The Marketer of the Year Award was given to Food Lion's Mike Haaf, senior vice president of sales, marketing and business strategy. SN's Champion of Diversity Award was made to Supervalu and accepted by Jeff Noddle, chairman and chief executive officer. And SN's Community Service Award was handed to C&S Wholesale Grocers and was accepted by Marc Smith, co-president, and Gina Goff, director of corporate giving.

The Friends Dinner drew some 360 top food industry executives, including those from 50 retail and wholesale companies plus leaders of numerous trade associations.

This year dinner co-sponsors raised more than $100,000 for FMI member companies and associations for scholarships and education activities, said Bill Kies, principal, Kies Consulting, Chicago, who co-founded the dinner and now manages it.

Primary sponsors of the dinner included Accenture, AC Nielsen, Acosta, Catalina Marketing, Crossmark, Diageo, Georgia-Pacific, Hallmark, The Hershey Co., J.M. Smucker Co., Kies Consulting, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods, Musco Family Olive Co., Nestlé-Purina PetCare and Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo, Pinnacle Foods, Source Interlink Cos., Spar Group, Storecast Merchandising, Vertis Communications and WM Wrigley Jr. Co.

Following are photos of award winners and attendees, who mingled during an opening cocktail party.