Relationships matter. It’s true in the business-to-business environment, and it’s true in the business-to-consumer landscape. Our 2019 Retailer of the Year is a great example of both.

What suppliers appreciated most about Jewel-Osco’s produce sales and merchandising manager Scott Bennett was his willingness to listen. When they’re long on product, he will run the numbers and see if he can help them out by taking more than planned. Suppliers described the partnership as one with give and take; Bennett will do his best to adjust when he can to accommodate his vendors, and in turn they will make sure to take care of Jewel-Osco when supply is limited and they could get sky-high pricing elsewhere.

The collaboration goes beyond deal-making, too. Bennett is always looking for creative ways to sell more, and he’s willing to try things when suppliers come to him with suggestions.

When it comes to the relationship with consumers, Bennett wants to be consistent there, too. His assistant sales manager Monique Hoguet noted that, while all buyers want a great price, Bennett will go on quality first. He doesn’t just want product that will last on store shelves; it also needs to last once the customer gets it home, Hoguet said, because that is what will bring shoppers back for more.

Our sister publication The Packer recently ran a column in which Imperfect Produce co-founder Ron Clark lamented that too many buyers these days purchase only based on price and margin, oblivious to or unmoved by supply changes and the opportunities that go along with them. Retailers need to be more reactive to sell more produce and thus reduce food waste, Clark asserted.

Jewel-Osco reacts more quickly than most and has done an excellent job with its produce with Bennett leading the charge, according to suppliers. So enjoy our cover story about him and his team, and please congratulate him when you see him.


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