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Recognizing Nancy Cota...


Big Cheese Described As: recognizing an individual or individuals, a prominent person in the industry that has made significant contributions, contributed unselfishly of their time and talent to continue the forward movement in their perspective industry. This honor also reflects on the company with whom the recipient(s) represents.

Nancy Cota…Vice President Product Management Own Brands - Perishables Albertson’s Companies
Over 40 years of experience in the food industry, has held positions in

  • Corporate Strategies
  • Marketing
  • Innovation
  • Retail Operations
  • Private Label Brand & Product Management (20+ years along)

Mark Cheng and Nancy Cota
Mark Cheng and Nancy Cota


Nancy started her career as:

  • Courtesy Clerk while she worked her way through college.
  • She quickly advanced through the ranks, up through backstage operations, where keep in mind, very few women held leadership positions.
  • At the very young, tender age of 36, Nancy became the 1st Corporate Vice President of Deli/FoodService Operations for all stores across Safeway where she led efforts to re-engineer their operations.
  •  In 1992, Nancy wrote a column in the Northern California Deli Magazine, Winter 1992, Volume V, Number 1 where ‘Cota’ Describes Trends (entrees, salads, vegetables at Safeway).
    • For those of you that may not be aware, today’s Perishable Foods Council Of Northern California (PFC) was previously k/a The Northern Delicatessen Council.
    • Interesting enough, in this very same edition, there is a President’s Message Column, where it mentions, and I quote “By popular demand, the Northern California Deli magazine will be reinstating “The Big Cheese” which is a feature article on a prominent person in our industry. So as you can see, this prestigious honor dates back 25 years.
  • In 1999, Nancy recognized the opportunity for Private Label in the Fresh Departments and led the expansion of their brand portfolio in Deli, Meat, Seafood, Produce and ISB.
  • Within Own Brands, Nancy has held a multitude of leadership roles including VP of Innovation where their team was recognized as Innovator of the Year.
  • Additionally Nancy led the team that developed and launched many new brands from concept to launch including Open Nature, Primo Taglio, Waterfront Bistro, Signature Café, Debi Lilly and Pantry Essentials. As many of you know, some of those brands have been re-engineered, and new ones have been created.
    • Here is an interesting tidbit that many of you might not heard of, I believe it was the year 2011, Nancy who spearheaded the development and launch of Open Nature traveled the country with her family in an RV, plastered with Open Nature signage, complete with samples to give away.
  • Nancy has been a multi-year/consecutive year recipient of the ‘Top Women in Grocery Award’ by Progressive Grocer. Awarded the ‘Private Label Innovator of the Year’ by Store Brand Decisions.
  • She serves as the President on the Board of Directors for a non-profit adoption agency specializing in the placement of older children with special needs and sits on other advisory boards.
  • On November 13, 2016, Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence (a/k/a WISE), a non-profit professional development organization that fosters diverse collaboration in the store brands industry hosted their 4th annual meeting where they also awarded the 2016 Top Women In Store Brands honorees. At this event, Nancy took the stage sharing her professional challenges and successes while inspiring the audience to own their attitude and stay (as we know her)…“All Fired Up”.
    • Nancy received an industry award as ‘Women Of Influence In The Food Industry’.

Well…without further ado, on behalf of myself and The Perishable Food Council of Northern California, we are thankful for the commitment and sacrifices you have made both professionally and personally, to honor you with this years….2017 ‘Big Cheese Award’.

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