NEWS RELEASE (August 15, 2022) - DES MOINES, Iowa – In a contest to find the best grocery bagger in the state, Nolan McGregor, who works at the Fareway store in Sergeant Bluff, finished first. The Iowa Best Bagger contest was held Friday, August 12, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, where McGregor claimed the Iowa Best Bagger title, a trophy, a $500 cash prize and a trip for two to Las Vegas to compete in the National Best Bagger Competition that will be held in February of next year.
“The Iowa Best Bagger Contest spotlights talented Iowans and the grocery industry in a very positive way by promoting the ethics of hard work and community. All of the baggers did an outstanding job,” said Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, which hosts the event annually at the Iowa State Fair. “Once again, it was a close contest. Nolan demonstrated great composure, speed and style.”
“Grocery baggers play an important role when it comes to creating a positive shopping experience for customers.”
Placing second in the Iowa Best Bagger competition was Cameron Voss, who works at Fareway in Jefferson. He received $250. Harrison Dahm, who works at the Fareway in Denison, won $150 for finishing third. And Kade Mauk, who works at the Hy-Vee in Waukee, placed fourth and took home $100.
McGregor, 20, who lives in Sergeant Bluff, has been bagging groceries for six years. He began working at Fareway while in high school. McGregor will represent Iowa at the 2023 National Grocers Association Best Bagger Contest in February. The reward for winning in Las Vegas includes a $10,000 prize. Once there, he will attempt to bring home a ninth national title for Iowa. Iowan Ben Miller, who works for Hy-Vee, captured the 2021 National Best Bagger title in Las Vegas. Iowans have a proud tradition of winning at the national contest having captured the title three out of the past five years. Iowa currently holds more national titles than any other state.
A total of 15 individuals from around the state qualified to take part in the 2022 Iowa Best Bagger event, which celebrated its 35th year at the Iowa State Fair. Contestants bagged identical grocery orders consisting of approximately 35 commonly purchased items into three reusable grocery bags. They were scored and ranked primarily on weight distribution among bags, speed and proper item arrangement.
The top six finishers winnowed from three preliminary heats competed in the final round.
Members of the crowd had a chance to win one of many gift cards for answering grocery industry trivia questions.
Calyn Thompson, reporter of WHO-HD Channel 13 News, won the celebrity bagger contest, receiving a check for $250 provided by Fareway Stores Inc. for the ALS Association of Iowa Chapter. All other celebrities receive a $100 donation to the charity of their choice, provided by the IGIA. Our other celebrity baggers included: Kurt Van Auken of Ken and Kurt in the Morning, Star 102.5, competing for the Karen Coaldrake Financial Assistance Fund; Dave Downey, We Are Iowa Local 5 meteorologist, raising money for the Wounded Warriors Project and 2021 Iowa Best Bagger Champion Ben Miller, Hy-Vee.
Companies sponsoring the 2022 Iowa Best Bagger Contest include the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, Coca-Cola, Dupey Equipment, Frito-Lay, Iowa Food & Family Project and the Iowa Lottery. Prize sponsors include Hiland Dairy, Keurig Dr Pepper, Cookies Food Products and PepsiCo. Fareway Stores Inc. provided the celebrity charity donation.
All non-perishable food items used in the competition were donated to the Food Bank of Iowa.
The Iowa Grocery Industry Association is a nonprofit association that conducts programs in education and public affairs on behalf of its members, which are independent and chain grocery stores, convenience stores, food wholesalers servicing Iowa, food brokers and manufacturers. The Association's approximate 1,500 retail and supplier members are responsible for providing close to 100,000 jobs in Iowa.
Press Contact: Audrey Comer, Marketing and Communications Specialist Iowa Grocery Industry Association 515-270-2628 or 800-383-366