HyVee is Bagging Up the Competition with Iowa’s Best Grocery Bagger

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Bagging groceries is an important step in any run to the supermarket. One Des Moines man is the master at bagging up groceries and took home first place at the State Fair bagging competition.

Dwayne Campbell walked away with $500 and a trip to San Diego in February for the national grocery bagging competition.

Campbell has worked at Hy-Vee for 13 years and has had a lot of practice leading up to the competition. He said he was surprised by how many people came to the State Fair competition.

“There were 300 people in the crowd, 15 competitors and we had to fill three bags with 40 identical groceries. You only have 50 seconds to distribute the weight evenly between the three bags,” Campbell said.

Campbell completed the competition in 49 seconds. He said the trick to bagging efficiently, is like building a house.

“You put all the boxes around the sides of the bag, those are the walls, then you put the heavy items like cans in the middle, those are the furniture, and then you top it off with the light groceries and those are the decorations,” Campbell said.

Dan Anderson, the store director at the Hy-Vee off 14th SE Street in Des Moines, he said each grocery chain can send 15 employees to the fair competition and the stores begin practicing early.

“They practice with re-usable bags because that is what they will use during the competition,” Anderson said. “the re-usable bags are sturdy and will hold more groceries than a plastic bag.”

Anderson said people bring in thousands of plastic bags a day to recycle, there are two recycling bins at the front of each store.

“We all have that plastic bag, within another plastic bag, within another plastic bag, so we make it easy to get rid of those without throwing them away,” Anderson said.