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2021 Accelerate the Momentum Virtual Conference Supplier Awards

Bakery, Dairy, Frozen Winner: ROSINA FOOD PRODUCTS

Congratulations to Rosina Food Products for winning the top Bakery, Dairy, & Frozen Supplier Award for 2021 at our Accelerate The Momentum Conference!

With a 98% fill rate through the pandemic while always keeping members front of mind during the process and a 100% GS1 compliance score, Rosina continued to provide unmatched support and communication throughout 2020.

One thing that Rosina learned from the past year, according to Tony Roland, VP of Corporate Foodservice for Rosina Food Products, is flexibility and adapting to an everchanging situation along with over communication were all keys to overcoming the challenges presented from COVID.

Center of Plate Winner & Supplier of the Year: AQUA STAR SEAFOOD CO.

A warm round of applause to Aqua Star Seafood Co. for winning the 2021 Supplier of the Year and top Center of Plate Supplier Award at our Accelerate The Momentum Conference!

During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aqua Star provided full disclosure of their business status throughout the year, and although they didn’t have a way to capture fill rate, they had contingency plans and shortage solutions in place to combat the COVID-19 pitfalls and provided weekly inventory updates, while also upholding a 99% GS1 compliance score. Additionally, they are the highest paying service fee supplier among all of Center of Plate suppliers, provided extensive engagement and support from their marketing team by producing and providing materials for distribution to the Members, and are held in high regard by IMA packaging as a great supplier to work with.

According to Ryan Baldwin, Vice President of Broadline Foodservice & National Account Sales at Aqua Star, the first few months of the COVID experience were confusing since foodservice had originally been pronounced dead, but then people decided to continue to support the restaurants that remained open. "Foodservice sales exploded, and we didn’t have the inventory to support," Ryan said. "As soon as we saw the signs of rebound, we were able to immediately ramp up the supply chain and service our customers well.  We were purposeful and expeditious.  We didn’t retreat, and we kept our customers in business."

The Supplier of the Year award represents the highest recognized supplier out of all four business units. Due to their continued support and flexibility during the past year, Aqua Star has been a leading supplier to IMA and our Members.

"The most important thing we can do is make sure we put product in the salesperson’s hands that they can sell with confidence," Ryan Baldwin, Vice President of Broadline Foodservice & National Account Sales at Aqua Star, said. "When they aren’t chasing credits and they are winning on quality, it makes everything else we collectively do easier.  Our quality assurance team, here and overseas, are the foundation for a perpetually successful program."

Grocery, Commodities, Imports Winner: A. ZEREGA'S SONS

Congratulations to A. Zerega's Sons for winning the top Grocery, Commodities, & Imports Supplier Award for 2021.

Throughout 2020, Zerega provided consistent supply and kept adequate on hand inventory of EB products with fill rates at 98% and 100% for many weeks during the year. With a 100% GS1 compliance score and being the 7th highest paying service fee supplier among all within the Grocery, Commodities, & Imports Categories, Zerega also locked IMA Exclusive Brands Dry Pasta pricing at an aggressive basis heading into the uncertain and strained Market conditions.

Although the foodservice industry experienced a decline of 15% overall and broadline distributors were down by over 30%, Zerega was able to maintain service levels of 98.5% overall during all of 2020, according to Steven Goldstein, Vice President for Zerega/Philadelphia Macaroni Company. “We understood the importance of keeping the distributors in stock so that they wouldn’t lose the opportunities that arose as businesses opened,” he said.

In preparation for 2022, Steven says Zerega is adding significant additional production capacity at their Lee’s Summit, MO production facility. “Our new line will be rated at approximately 90 million pounds of capacity,” he said. “We also plan to have the full rollout of the new Villa Frizzoni updated branded packaging available before the end of this year.”

Non-Food & Beverage Winner: BERRY GLOBAL

Congratulations to Berry Global for winning the top Non-Food & Beverage Supplier Award for 2021.

Throughout COVID-19, Berry Global maintained great service levels with virtually no shortages. Additionally, they hold a GS1 compliance score of 100%.


Congratulations to Trident Seafood Corporation for winning the GS1 Excellence Supplier Award for 2021.

Trident has completed the image naming initiative on 90% of items, approved stylized images, packaging images and marketing content, along with being proactive in working towards staying 100% compliant.

Jim Livingston, at Trident, said that they too faced the negative impacts of COVID, with their biggest concern still being the labor constraints, however throughout 2020 Trident was able to maintain production with limited supply chain disruption. “We took advantage of this time to focus on the core of our business and realigning our Sales and Customer Service teams in a more strategic manner to ensure focus on our key customers such as the IMA members who operate with a more entrepreneurial mindset,” he said.

Additionally, with limitations on travel and in person meetings, the importance and value of high quality GS1 Data was magnified for Trident, as well as, other forms of digital engagement and training resources. “In many cases, these platforms were the only way customers were exposed to the features and benefits of our products,” Jim said.