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Grocery bagging champion from Iowa is the hero America needs

Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Grocery bagging is an art, and Trevor DeForest is its Michelangelo. The Maquoketa, Iowa grocery bagger on Monday was crowned the champion at the National Grocery Association’s Best Bagger competition in Las Vegas, the Des Moines Register reports. He has worked for Fairway supermarkets for 21 years, and is currently the assistant manager at the 110 Westgate Drive location in Maquoketa.

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Lest you think bagging is mere robotic motion, allow the Register to elucidate the art form’s finer points: “Competitors bagged identical grocery orders of approximately 35 commonly purchased items like canned goods, 2-liters of Pepsi, bread loaves, chips and eggs into three reusable grocery bags. Scoring was based on speed, weight distribution among bags, proper item arrangement, style, and appearance.” (Find the Iowa Grocery Industry Association best bagger competition guidelines here.)

That’s right: style. Any shopper who has wound up with a tomato crushed under a can of soup at the bottom of their bag or experienced the elation of perfectly interlocking boxes of cereal knows that there’s more to grocery bagging than meets the eye.

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“I would definitely say it’s more of a competition with yourself,” DeForest tells the Des Moines Register. “Really just being conscious about what you’re going to put in the sacks I’d say is where most of the competition is.”

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

My first job at 15 was as a grocery store bagger. I took pride in doing my job. I’d distribute weight differently for a little old lady versus a younger guy. Keep frozen and cold items together, never squish produce or delicate items, keep soap, detergents and perfumed items from the rest of the food.

Most of my grocery items now are bagged by someone who throws things into a bag until no more things fit into that bag. Then the bag is tossed back into my cart on top of the other bags.