Seven Minnesota grocers who promote locally grown and produced products have been named a 2024 Retailer of the Year by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Minnesota Grown program, in partnership with the Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA).
This year’s winners include:
- Northwest: Hugo's Family Marketplace, East Grand Forks
- Northeast: Chris’ Food Center, Sandstone
- West Central: Elden’s Fresh Foods, Alexandria
- Southwest: Mackenthun’s Fine Foods, Waconia
- Southeast: Nilssen’s Foods, Zumbrota
- Twin Cities: Kowalski’s Markets, Grand Avenue
- People’s Choice: Festival Foods, Hugo
“We commend these seven grocers for their creative efforts to promote fresh, local foods from Minnesota Grown members,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “When consumers have the chance to eat more foods grown and produced by their neighbors, it benefits Minnesota’s farmers, grocers, and communities.”
MDA and MGA staff will be presenting the awards in-person at an MGA spring event. Each winner will receive a commemorative plaque, exclusive rights to use the “Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year 2024” logo in their ads and displays, as well as recognition amongst retailers and consumers that they are champions of all things local.
Judging was based on several factors, including the number of Minnesota Grown products featured and the number of Minnesota Grown farmers and producers that the grocer sourced from. Judges also looked at how the grocer used ads, displays, social media, and other events to promote Minnesota Grown items to customers.
“Grocers are the foundation of the communities they serve and are incredibly proud of their innovative local partnerships from farm to fork,” said MGA President Jamie Pfuhl. “The success of the Minnesota Grown program is driven by the exceptional efforts of all in the food industry. We are proud to play a role in this collective effort that showcases and celebrates innovative partnerships and brings wonderful local products to our customers.”
The contest to select the 2025 winners will open in August of 2024. Information about how to participate can be found on the Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year webpage.
The Minnesota Grown Program is a statewide partnership between the MDA and Minnesota producers of specialty crops and livestock. It was created over 35 years ago by specialty crop growers to differentiate their produce from produce grown elsewhere.
The Minnesota Grocers Association is the only state trade association that represents the food industry of Minnesota from farm to fork. It has served the industry for over 125 years, with over 300 retail, manufacturer, and wholesale members supporting nearly 1,300 locations statewide. MGA member companies employ over 150,000 union and non-union Minnesotans. It actively advances the common interest of all those engaged in any aspect of the food industry as a leader and advocate in government affairs.
Logan Schumacher, MDA Communications