Akbar Gbajabiamila to Emcee Best Bagger Championship at 2021 NGA Show

September 16, 2021

Washington, D.C. – The National Grocers Association (NGA) announced today that Akbar Gbajabiamila will emcee the Best Bagger Championship, sponsored by PepsiCo, on Sept. 20 during the 2021 NGA Show at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This is the third time Gbajabiamila will emcee the event.  

“NGA is excited to once again have Akbar Gbajabiamila emcee the Best Bagger Championship during The NGA Show in Las Vegas. His enthusiasm and personality are perfect for this event, which brings together the best baggers from across the country for an energetic and fun competition,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “We have not held this competition since the 2020 NGA show last February, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting the country, resulting in lockdowns and a drastic change in the way we live our lives. This change was even more significant for grocery stores, as they stayed open to keep communities fed. I see this year’s event not only as recognition of our skilled baggers, but also a celebration of what our members have endured over the last year and a half and their perseverance during these unprecedented times.”  

This is the 35th year that NGA will host the Best Bagger Championship, bringing together the best grocery baggers from across the country for a chance to compete for the grand prize of $10,000. Contestants are judged by speed of bagging, technique, weight distribution in the bag, and style.  

Akbar Gbajabiamila is the host of NBC’s multi-time Emmy Award-nominated “America Ninja Warrior” and Peacock’s “American Ninja Warrior JR”. He recently was named as a new permanent co-host for Season 12 of CBS’ daytime talk show, “The Talk.” 

Gbajabiamila is a Los Angeles native, growing up in the Crenshaw district with his six siblings and their mother and father, who were both born in Nigeria. His first name means “great” in Arabic; his last name means “big man come save me.” 

Gbajabiamila played five years in the NFL as a linebacker and defensive end with the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins. He is the author of “Everyone Can Be a Ninja: Find Your Inner Warrior and Achieve Your Dreams.”  

“PepsiCo is excited to support the annual Best Bagger Championship and celebrate the workers who have persevered the past 18 months. This is a fun and unique event that brings out the best of the grocery industry, which is crucially important to PepsiCo,” said Kent Montgomery, Head of PepsiCo Industry Relations. “With Akbar Gbajabiamila as the emcee again this year, we know this will be one of the more memorable competitions in recent years. I’d like to congratulate this year’s competitors and look forward to seeing who comes out on top.”  

Gbajabiamila currently serves as a board member for the Asomugha Foundation, which creates better educational opportunities for impoverished communities. He also serves on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which raises millions of dollars for Parkinson’s research. The cause is important to Gbajabiamila; his own father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the late 1990s.  

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Tropicana, and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. “Winning with Purpose” reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of our business strategy and brands.  For more information, visit www.pepsico.com. 

About NGA 

Washington, D.C.-based NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about NGA, visit www.nationalgrocers.org.