The Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA) hosted its second Annual Bipartisan Bag-Off on Tuesday, March 6, at the Minnesota State Capitol. This event highlighted the Minnesota food industry and the impact it has on serving consumers, providing careers and investing in its communities.
The Bag-Off featured four legislators: Laura Bakk filling in for her husband Sen. Tom Bakk (D-Cook), House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park), Representative Ron Kresha (R-Little Falls), and Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona), who competed with Minnesota’s 2017 Best Bagger Caleb Meyer of Kowalski’s Market, Oak Grove Heights.
“Baggers truly exemplify the food industry’s dedication to customer service,” says MGA. “They are the people responsible for the last experience customers have in a store, and the contest provided an insider look at the importance of this role to industry. Additionally, the contest used the ever-popular reusable bag, which demonstrates the food industry’s commitment to consumer choice and the well-being of the communities we serve.”
A panel of MGA members judged the five contestants based on speed, distribution of weight between the bags and proper bagging technique, along with style, attitude and appearance. Keeping the trophy in his caucus, Representative Kresha won the competition with speed and weight distribution. He was presented a trophy and $1,000 to donate to a food charity of his choice within his district. It should be noted that the 2017 Minnesota Best Bagger winner Caleb Meyer competed at a slight disadvantage, as he could only use one hand. In February, Meyer represented Minnesota at the National Best Bagger Championship, placing fourth.
MGA also donated $12,500 on behalf of its 2017 Bag Hunger Campaign to Second Harvest Heartland, which was accepted by the organization’s CEO, Rob Zeaske.
“The MGA would like to extend a special thanks to the legislators, volunteers, MGA Board of Directors and MC Tom Hauser for their time and making this event a success,” the organization said.
MGA has represented the Minnesota food industry since 1897. It boasts more than 200 retail members serving more than 1,100 locations statewide, as well as more than 100 distributors, manufacturers and wholesale partners. Its member companies employ more than 125,000 Minnesotans.