Kroger’s Groth, Walgreen’s Rinker Earn Category Awards


Washington, DC – Christina Groth and Brian Rinker are the 2017 Confectionery Leadership Award winners. The honor comes from the National Confectioners Association in partnership with Candy & Snack TODAY magazine and celebrates Groth’s and Rinker’s contributions to the category through their effective business collaboration, category management best practices, and innovations in merchandising confectionery products in-store.

Christina Groth, The Kroger Co.

Groth, vice president, general merchandise, healthy & beauty care and non-foods for The Kroger Co., has worked for the retailer for more than 15 years, starting as an intern for the company’s Fred Meyer division. In her current role, she leads category management teams in setting and executing the assortment, merchandising and marketing strategies for more than 2,600 Kroger stores.

“This award is really for our team — our category managers, consumer insights group and our suppliers,” notes Groth on receiving the Confectionery Leadership Award. “It’s a reflection of the work they are all doing. I am just lucky to get to accept it on their behalf.”

Brian Rinker Headshot
Brian Rinker, Walgreen Co.

Rinker, category manager for The Walgreen Co., has been at the confectionery desk for nearly four years, charged with developing and executing merchandising plans for its more than 8,100 stores. Prior to the candy category, Rinker spent eight years as the cookie buyer.

“Being recognized as a leader in the confectionery category is very humbling,” says Rinker. “I love this category and what it stands for. Everyone needs a moment of happiness and confectionery can do that.”

“Many deserving and worthy candidates were submitted for the 2017 Confectionery Leadership Award, which recognizes dedication and innovation on the part of the industry’s retail customers,” says NCA Vice-President of Industry Affairs Larry Wilson. “Both Christina and Brian exemplify what the award represents as they were selected among all nominees by the committee for their personal leadership, knowledge, expertise and commitment to the confectionery industry.”

Groth and Rinker will be presented with the awards in Miami during the NCA’s annual State of the Industry Conference, March 6 to 8, and featured in the March/April issue of Candy & Snack TODAY.