For the award, the G.M.A. evaluated applications in two categories, those with more than $1 billion in sales and those with total sales of less than $1 billion. Diamond won in the higher sales category, and Henkel won in the lower sales category.
Diamond Foods was recognized in part for its “Project Underdog” strategy, which centered on the Emerald brand’s role in keeping the category vibrant and relevant. The company found retailers who increased their Emerald assortment grew their category almost twice as fast as retailers that did not. In addition, Emerald also increased total distribution by 34% and saw 46% sales growth.
“Our experience with the strategy has energized and strengthened our commitment to support category health with innovation, invest every dollar where it counts and continually over-deliver for our consumers and our customers,” said Michael J. Mendes, chairman, president and chief executive officer for Diamond Foods. “We believe our culture and approach to innovation will continue to yield strong financial performance.”
Earlier this year, Diamond Foods also acquired Kettle Foods, Inc. for an estimated $29 million, and in late 2008 the company acquired Pop Secret from General Mills for about $190 million. Since acquiring Pop Secret, Diamond has expanded the brand by adding new varieties.