Manufacturer of the Year

When you meet Nick Porcelli, he speaks to you directly, sincerely and with genuine warmth. You know he's a no-nonsense guy but someone who cares. These qualities may explain why Porcelli, the Automatic Merchandiser Manufacturer of the Year, has had a successful sales career.

onesty, sincerity and respect — these are three principles that guide Porcelli to find solutions for his customers, big or small, not sales gimmicks. With respect and good customer service, he uses his background in OCS and vending to help operators grow with the market.

From savarin coffee to Kraft
Porcelli's been in the OCS and vending industry for 25 years. He started with S.A. Shoenbrunn & Co. (Savarin Coffee), which produced well-known brands like Savarin Coffee, Brown Gold Coffee, and Medaglia D'Oro Espresso. "This is where I first developed my love and passion for coffee," said Porcelli. "The average consumer does not realize how much effort goes into producing a great cup of coffee — from the different quality of beans used and blended together, to the subtle nuances of length of roast, fineness of grind, proper brewing technique, etc. All impact the romance of the finished product in your cup."

In 1987, Porcelli joined Kraft Foods as a foodservice sales representative. Through promotion and taking on additional responsibility, he has risen to beverage manager for the Northeast region. In addition to his full-line account manager responsibilities for covering OCS and vending operators throughout the state of New Jersey, he is charged with growing the beverage category within the Northeast region. This includes working with other account managers on beverage related opportunities throughout the area.

Growth In Healthy Products
Porcelli sees better-for-you snacks and single-cup coffee as the segments poised for strong growth. In response to the obesity issue with children, Kraft Foods has taken a leading role in removing trans fats and developing "better for you" products that taste great. Porcelli believes this trend will lead to healthier foods not just for kids, but for everyone. Kraft already offers several varieties of 100 Calorie packs which have been well received.

Especially useful for finding products that meet particular state school nutritional guidelines is the "Snack Search" Kraft has created online. Any operator can access Snack Search and select nutritional criteria requirements and generate a report listing all Kraft/Nabisco items meeting that criteria.

Coffee: A Personal Choice
As for coffee, Porcelli sees continued growth in the gourmet and single-cup arenas. "Like fine wine, more and more consumers are developing a palate for quality coffee," said Porcelli, "and getting turned on to gourmet coffees and coffee-based drinks. There is a tremendous opportunity for new concepts that will take single-cup to the next level. It's all about personal choices by the cup!"

Solutions, not Sales
Porcelli doesn't just sell; he uncovers his customers' needs and finds solutions. "I have a genuine concern for their business and how I can help them," Porcelli said. One type of support he offers is point-of-sale material, including sell-sheets, invoice stuffers, machine clings, branded premiums, etc. "I have designed customized promotions to increase sales and develop new business within the operator's existing customer base and potential new accounts. We have such an extensive product portfolio to work with, whether it's promoting Maxwell House Rich French Roast Coffee with Oreo cookies, Jell-O with Capri Sun, Crystal Light with bottled water, or Easy Mac and Fruit2O, we offer viable options to develop new business."

In the end, Porcelli comes to work each day because of the industry. "(I like) the dynamics of the people and products that make up our industry — dealing with the very small companies to the very large companies, offering extensive product lines from beverages to snacks to cold food, finding out how I can help my customers with their businesses ... and Kraft is a great company to work for," said Porcelli.

As a parting thought, he said, "Receiving this award demonstrates to me that I've earned the trust and respect of my customers and provides me with validation. I am honored to receive this recognition and want to thank all my customers for allowing me to service and learn from them. I'm grateful for all the friendships I've made along the way, and look forward to new relationships in this dynamic industry in which we all work."