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Golden Pencil winners for 2016 announced

McCain and Scornaienchi to receive the grocery industry's highest honour

The Food Industry Association of Canada has announced that Michael McCain of Maple Leaf Foods and Vince Scornaienchi of Fortinos will receive this year’s Golden Pencil Award.

The Golden Pencil is grocery’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. Scornaienchi and McCain will receive their awards Nov. 14 in Toronto.

McCain (pictured) has been president of Maple Leaf since 1995 and its chief executive since 1999. He also spent 16 years at his family’s namesake french-fry company in New Brunswick.

McCain oversaw a massive seven-year overhaul of Maple Leaf's business that is only now wrapping up. He especially won praise for his handling of the 2008 listeria crisis.

He is not the first McCain to win the Golden Pencil. His father Wallace and uncle Harrison, received the award in 1988. The brothers founded McCain in the 1950s, turning it into one of the largest frozen food companies in the world.

Scornaienchi grew up working in the grocery business at the Fortinos chain in Hamilton and is now its executive vice-president.

Fortinos is much admired for its customer service, merchandising, fresh food offering and grocerant business. Today there are some 20 Fortinos from Hamilton to Toronto. The chain was purchased by Loblaw in 1988.

The Food Industry Association of Canada, a not-for-profit, first presented the Golden Pencil in 1957. That year’s winner: Milton J. Cork of Loblaw Groceterias.

The award has been presented each year since then, with two winners traditionally recognized: one supplier (McCain, this year) and one retailer or distributor (Scornaienchi).

The Golden Pencil acknowledges efforts to improve the Canadian food industry and is given to individuals who, through their career, have made a significant and worthwhile contribution to the industry as well as their communities.

Each year the Food Industry Association’s nominations committee considers candidates from both the grocery industry at large and the association’s executive committee.

Last year’s Golden Pencil recipients were Longo Brothers’ Gus Longo, Lassonde’s Jean Gattuso and GS1’s Arthur Smith.

Other recent winners include Dino Bianco of Kraft, Eric La Flèche of Metro and Louise Wendling of Costco.

The Golden Pencil award ceremony will be held Nov. 14 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, from 5 to 7 p.m. To order tickets click here.

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