LAS VEGAS, Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- It's official: Krystal Smith, 24, from Burlington, Vt., has been crowned the best grocery bagger in America, winning the national Best Bagger Championship presented by ConAgra Foods in Las Vegas. Crushing the Valentine's Day competition, not the bread, Smith showed no love to her opponents in a nail-biting finish at this year's national final, which featured state winners from across the country.
Competitors faced off in a grocery-bagging showdown at The Mirage and were rated on speed, bag-building technique, weight distribution between bags, style, attitude and appearance. Seizing the coveted "Golden Grocery Bag" trophy was only the beginning for Smith, who also took home a $10,000 prize. The prize, for the second straight year, was made possible by ConAgra Foods.
"It was nerve racking, but I practiced a lot and came prepared," Smith said. When asked how she'll spend her prize money, Smith said "I'll save a little and spend a little, but I have to be honest: I do plan to shop, shop, shop!"
Smith's winning time was 38 seconds. Jessica Lewis of Washington followed closely behind, claiming 2nd place and a $5,000 prize. Other top finishers included Andrew Hadlock of Utah, Matt Medley of Minnesota and Roland Mattox of Georgia, who each took home $1,000 for their efforts.
This year's Best Bagger Championship drew from 21 states across the country and marked the competition's 25-year anniversary. N.G.A. President Peter Larkin says this group epitomizes the dedication and work ethic of all baggers across the country. "Each year, we hold this competition to shine a light on the baggers and their unending commitment to this industry. And year after year, from the state level to this national stage, they continue to embody the true values of the independent grocer," Larkin said.
N.G.A. is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that make up the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. Most independent operators are serviced by wholesale distributors, while others may be partially or fully self-distributing. Some are publicly traded but with controlling shares held by the family and others are employee owned. Independents are the true "entrepreneurs" of the grocery industry and dedicated to their customers, associates, and communities. N.G.A. members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about N.G.A. and the independent sector of the industry, see the N.G.A. website: www.NationalGrocers.org.
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's leading food companies, with brands in 97 percent of America's households. Consumers find Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, Snack Pack and many other ConAgra Foods brands in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong business-to-business presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
SOURCE ConAgra Foods, Inc.