Issue #12 of 24
June 8, 2022

Industry and Government News
PLMA Announces Theme of 2022 Chicago Show

 “Consumers Are Back in Charge” is the theme of PLMA’s 2022 Private Label Trade Show, which will be held November 13-15 at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago.

“After a difficult two years, American consumers are back in charge. They are more discerning as they shop for new and innovative products that offer on-trend attributes, high quality, and great value. And that spells success for store brands. In fact, whether at brick-and-mortar stores or online, retailer brands are winning big so far this year at checkout,” PLMA President Peggy Davies said.

“It’s a great time to get back to a live show, and it’s a great time to be in the retailer brands business,” added Davies.

Store brand sales demonstrate how the industry is growing. Over the first five months of 2022, retailer brands have increased 7.8% in dollar sales vs. the same period a year ago, according to IRI. By comparison, national brands are up only 5%.

In May, dollar sales grew 8.7%; in April, +9.5%; March, +8.9%; in February, +6.8%; and in January, +5%. Store brands also outpaced national brands in terms of unit sales. 

During the month of May alone, 13 of the 17 food and non-food departments that IRI tracks for PLMA showed store brand dollar growth, with double-digit gains in Deli Prepared Foods, Beverages, Bakery, Produce, Liquor, Refrigerated and Deli Meat. Floral, General food, Frozen, Meat, General Merchandise and Health also advanced.

Overall grocery store sales are also rising. Consumers have maintained their ability to spend in the face of record-level inflation, supply chain issues and geopolitical unrest. They’re adapting and shopping smarter for themselves and their families, a “trend that always accrues to store brands’ favor,” suggested Davies.

This strong year-to-date performance comes on the heels of a record $200 billion in sales last year, when store brands accounted for one of every five products sold across all U.S. channels.

Davies also cited the overwhelming success of PLMA’s 2022 “World of Private Label” International Trade Show, which was held May 31- June 1 in Amsterdam, as an encouraging sign for the association’s Chicago event. “It was a record-setting show. We had about 4,300 exhibit stands and more than 15,000 visitors altogether, including some 4,000 retailers.”

“But more than the numbers,” she said, “the enthusiasm and the buzz generated on the trade show floor as colleagues were able to gather in-person for the first time in three years was very gratifying. I have every reason to believe that the same spirit will be present in November.” 

The Chicago Show is expected to attract more than 5,000 visitors from major supermarkets, supercenters, wholesale clubs, drug chains, mass merchandisers, specialty chains, dollar stores, e-commerce retailers, importers, exporters, and distributors, among other buyers.

The 2022 PLMA Show will put special emphasis on food and non-food areas where store brands innovation is exploding. These include plant-based and free-from; new flavors & ingredients; wines & spirits; fresh, frozen & refrigerated; restaurant-style cuisine at home; hemp-derived CBD; self-care; health & wellness; beauty & cosmetics; kitchenware essentials, tools & gadgets; pet care; food & non-food products with an international flair, and sustainable, clean label & packaging.

“Whether you are a small- or medium-sized independent company or part of a large, multi-national manufacturing organization, the PLMA Show can connect you with key retail executives who are responsible for their chain’s store brand purchasing,” said Davies. “Come to Chicago and build your business by finding great retail partners.”  

Health and wellness have become paramount concerns for post-pandemic consumers, who are more informed and better educated on what they buy due to changing needs and tastes, adherence to the latest diet and health regimens, and greater awareness of the effects of allergens and the impact of their behavior on the environment. As a result, product attributes, qualities and features have never been more important.

For more information about exhibiting please call us at +1 212 972-3131 or e-mail exhibit@plma.com. For information to attending, visit plma.com or email us at info@plma.com 

 

Executive Education Program set for June 21-22

PLMA’s Executive Education Program will be conducted live and in person on the campus of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia June 21-22 after two years as an online event.

The program, which is themed “Embrace the Change,” will focus on current industry challenges, such as supply chain delays, inflation, recession fears and others that may develop.

Presenters will include Jac Ross, Vice President for Own Brands at Sprouts Supermarkets, who will discuss innovations in products and packaging; John Evans, Director of Private Brands, GM, HBC, and Non-Foods at Weis Markets, who will examine the role of the retailer in the private label industry; and Kelly McGolrick, Vice President of Private Label Sales Development for Lassonde Pappas & Company, who will address the role of the manufacturer.

Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 2,000 men and women from all sectors of the industry have graduated. Classes are perfect for new hires, those who built their careers working for national brands, or any professional in the field who is looking to refresh their knowledge, broaden focus and sharpen the ability to think and interact strategically.

To register or receive more information about the program, visit PLMA.com or contact Julia Meehan at education@plma.com

 

Inflation is Impacting Beauty Product Sales

Retail data firm DataWeave has released a new report outlining how inflation has impacted the beauty sector and how retailers are adapting to retain customers.

The report, titled “Optimizing Online Beauty Sales in a Changing Business Environment,” was a comprehensive analysis of nearly 200,000 SKUs and examined how brands and retailers are adjusting their pricing on beauty items as inflation continues to impact the economy.

DataWeave’s survey found a strong online demand for beauty CPGs, with top brands offering more low and mid-tier priced products. The report also found a strengthening digital brand presence was a key element to improving sales.

DataWeave analysts predict that these trends are likely to continue as shoppers make choices in the months ahead on spending as price increases across consumer categories impact their budgets.

The skincare category in particular could be impacted positively especially if U.S. beauty shoppers choose skincare products over cosmetics, the report authors suggested that retailers prioritize their skincare inventory.

“Availability and affordability were buzzwords for top beauty brands, who maintained superior in-stock availability through 2021 and into 2022,” said Krishnan Thyagarajan, president and COO of DataWeave.

“Across the major beauty brands and retailers, we analyzed, the defining trends we identified are a shift toward producing more low and mid-tier items and an expansion of investments in tech-driven consumer marketing.”

 

Amazon Could Become Largest U.S. Retailer by 2024

CPG market researcher Edge by Ascential predicts Amazon will surpass Walmart as the largest U.S. retailer by 2024, as the online behemoth ramps up its share of overall retail sales dollars.

In its “2022 United States Retail Landscape and Go-to-Market Planning Report,” Edge by Ascential forecasts that between 2021 and 2026, Amazon stands to add more than $294 billion in U.S. sales and grow its U.S. retail market share from 10.8% to 14.9%, whereas Walmart’s share will shrink from 13.2% to 12.7%.

According to the report, in 2021 sales, Walmart, with $488 billion in sales, and Amazon, with $398.8 billion in sales, were the biggest U.S. chain retailers, followed by The Kroger Co. ($146.7 billion) and Costco Wholesale ($140.8 billion). Rounding out the top 10 were The Home Depot ($137.6 billion), Walgreens ($117.4 billion), Target ($107.5 billion), CVS Health ($105.5 billion), Lowe’s ($92.2 billion) and Albertsons Cos. ($74.6 billion). 

Of the top six retailers aside from Walmart and Amazon, companies projected to grow their share of chain retail sales over the next five years include Costco (from 3.8% to 4.4%) and Home Depot (from 3.7% to 3.9%), the study said. Walgreens’ share is expected to remain at 3.2% and Kroger’s to dip from 4% to 3.7%.

Edge by Ascential also reported the U.S. e-grocery market will increase by $34.7 billion from 2021 to 2026. Last year, online edible grocery sales totaled $54.8 billion, an increase of 117% from 2019, before the pandemic. Walmart, Target, Kroger, and Costco accounted for about half of U.S. online edible grocery penetration in 2021, which is expected to increase from to 8.8% from 6.5% by 2026. At the same time, online grocery’s five-year compound annual growth rate is forecast to drop from 38.9% in 2021 to 10.3% in 2026.

 

Walmart to Automate Regional Distribution Centers

Walmart has announced plans to automate all its regional distribution centers under an expanded partnership with artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics specialist Symbotic.

Walmart will deploy Symbotic’s robotics and software automation platform at all 42 of its regional distribution centers. This follows the announcement last July that Walmart would implement Symbotic’s technology in 25 regional distribution centers.

The system is a fleet of fully autonomous robots and AI-powered software that will cut the time it takes to unload, sort and stock freight in Walmart stores while also boosting warehouse capacity, according to Symbotic.

Other benefits include making the process simpler and safer and creating new, tech-enabled jobs which offer widely applicable skills in robotics and technology, Symbotic said.

According to the companies, the installation of the platform in all 42 sites is expected to be completed over the next eight years. Walmart said it has already begun embedding Symbotic’s technology in selected regional DCs throughout its network.

Walmart has been increasing its supply chain capacity, including the use of automation, to help meet rising demand, improve the customer experience, and raise productivity.

“The need for accuracy and speed in the supply chain has never been more visible, and we’re confident that now is the time to move even faster by scaling Symbotic’s technology to our entire regional distribution center network,” David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation at Walmart U.S. said in a statement. “Using high-speed robotics and intelligent software to organize and optimize inventory, the Symbotic System helps us get products to our customers quickly and seamlessly by revolutionizing how we receive and distribute products to stores.”

 

Kohl's To Open 100 Smaller Format Stores

Kohl’s has announced it will open about 100 smaller format stores in new markets over the next four years.

Presently, the average Kohl’s store is about 80,000 square feet but this can be too large for many small markets. By the introduction of smaller format stores, which average approximately 35,000 square feet in size, Kohl’s would gain the ability to enter new neighborhoods while also providing a localized experience to help meet the community’s needs, company officials said. The expansion of small format stores follows a successful test of more than 20 smaller stores over the past 18 months.

Kohl’s officials said the company is also working on modernizing stores to help provide convenient services such as store pick up, drive-up, self-pick up and Amazon returns to help make its stores an inviting experience for its customers.

Kohl’s will also introduce “dedicated zones,” designed to allow shoppers to discover new products and help find cross-category items and brands. The retailer is also making major investments in technology by rolling out self-serve buy online, pick up in store which will soon be available in all stores. Kohl’s is also continuing to evaluate self-serve returns, currently in more than 100 stores, with more planned throughout the next 18 months.

 

Amazon Global Consumer CEO Dave Clark Departing

Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer, Dave Clark, has resigned from the company and will leave as of July 1.

As worldwide consumer CEO Clark, a 23-year company veteran, oversaw Amazon’s global consumer businesses, including online stores, brick-and-mortar stores, the third-party seller Amazon Marketplace, and the Amazon Prime program. No replacement for Clark has been named as of the date of this publication.

“As we shared last week during our annual shareholder meeting, we still have more work in front of us to get to where we ultimately want to be in our consumer business,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in the memo. “To that end, we’re trying to be thoughtful in our plans for Dave’s succession and any changes we make. I expect to be ready with an update for you over the next few weeks.”

Clark has served as Amazon’s worldwide consumer CEO since January 2021 after spending over eight years as senior vice president of worldwide operations. He has also held the positions of director of the Amazon Customer Excellence System, regional vice president of North American operations and engineering, vice president of North American operations and vice president of global customer fulfillment.

 

Grocers Are Tops in Company Reputation Rankings

The grocery industry has emerged from the pandemic with its reputation intact, according to the 2022 Axios-Harris Poll 100 list.

The annual list, which dates to 1999, is a ranking of the reputations of the most visible U.S. companies. Grocery chains dominated this year, with Trader Joe's, H-E-B, and Wegmans in the top five, and Publix and Kroger among the top 25.

"As Americans move on from COVID, they are looking at corporate reputation through a more practical lens," John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, said in a release. "Companies delivering on time and keeping their promises despite supply-chain issues are being held in high regard. Businesses that also do their part to create a better world—whether through sustainability or taking a stand on authentic social issues—also are being rewarded.”

Trader Joe’s is a newcomer to the list this year and ranked first with a score of 82.4. H-E-B was not far behind, with a score of 82 to take the second spot. Wegmans came in at No. 5 with a score of 80.6.

Completing the top 5 were Patagonia and The Hershey Co. at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Publix was at No. 19 with a 78.8 score, while The Kroger Co. was No. 25 with a 78.4. Costco (No. 26), Target (No. 32) and Walmart (No. 77) also made the list.

The list is based on a survey of 34,000 Americans in a nationally representative sample conducted March 11-April 3.

 

Target, CVS Stores Testing Reusable Bag Rental Program

A new alternative for bagged groceries is being tested in select Target and CVS Pharmacy stores in New Jersey- a reusable bag rental system.

Consumers can take as many bags as they wish from an in-store kiosk and return the bags to the same store within 30 days. New Jersey recently placed a ban on single-use plastic bags and stores larger than 2,500 feet are not allowed to hand out plastic or paper bags.

Closed Loop Partners manage the reusable bag pilot program along with the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag. In 2021, the company Goatote and tech partner 99Bridges won the Consortium’s “Beyond the Bag Challenge,” which also includes founding partners Target Corp., CVS and Walmart, sector leads The Kroger Co. and Dollar General and supporting partners Albertsons Cos., Ahold Delhaize, and H-E-B, among others.

Amanda Nusz, SVP, corporate responsibility at Target, commended the project. "Our guests are feeling the growing burden of waste, and that includes single-use plastic retail bags," she remarked. "Thanks to Beyond the Bag pilot innovators like Goatote, and the collective efforts of this consortium, we're able to build circular capabilities in this space and bring our guests along with us, asking them to help co-create the sustainable and affordable solutions we know we need."

 

Albertsons Launches Online Product Reviews

Albertsons Cos. has started consumer-generated product ratings and reviews on websites of its 11 supermarket retail banners.

With the help of Chicago-based PowerReviews, for the first-time grocery websites such as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, and Shaw’s offer the ability for customers to browse and interact with authentic product ratings and reviews.

Research conducted by PowerReviews revealed that 81% of in-store grocery shoppers are at least somewhat interested in being able to access ratings and reviews content, and 29% will contact a friend or family member for their thoughts and opinions on products.

“Customer-generated ratings and reviews empower purchase decisions,” Jill Pavlovich, senior vice president of digital customer experience at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “We’re proud to be one of the first grocers to offer this authentic conversation with our shoppers about their favorite products.”

Albertsons is the nation’s second-largest supermarket company and operates 2,276 food and drug stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under the Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Kings Food Markets, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, and Balducci’s banners.

 

PLMA Live!
PLMA Readies for Chicago Trade Show, Nov. 13-15

PLMA’s 2022 Private Label Trade Show - themed “Consumers Are Back in Charge” - will be held in-person, November 13-15, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago. News anchor Jodi Daley shares all the details. Click here for video.

Club Stores Go Green: Costco, BJ’s & Sam’s Club

More consumers are seeking out eco-friendly retailers. Find out how warehouse club stores are responding in this exclusive report from Maureen Donoghue. Animal welfare, sustainable sourcing and food waste are among the areas explored. Click here for video.

In the stores

Walmart and Gap are expanding their partnership by releasing a new collaborative line. Walmart’s Gap Home kids’ line will include 200 products including bedding, bath, pillows, throws, rugs, and window treatments. Gap Home at Walmart was first introduced last summer and Gap Home Furniture was made available in the fall. Walmart says the customer response has been encouraging.

Home Depot is expanding its private label bedding and bath products with the launch of the StyleWell brand. The line is a collection of 65 items including cotton comforter sets, quilts, print sheets, shower curtains and bedroom and bathroom products. Home Depot plans to expand the line throughout the year with wall décor and other products.

Bed Bath & Beyond has launched a new private label line, Everhome. The line includes outdoor dining as well as outdoor furniture and garden products; bath towels, shower curtains, soap dishes; bedding products such as sheets and pillowcases to throws and decorative pillows. Everhome also has a wide range of indoor home décor, including decorative mirrors, frames, shelves, storage baskets, wall décor and lighting.

Williams Sonoma has added to its exclusive Greenpan premiere collection of cookware with the launch of the Premier multi grill, griddle, and waffle maker. The unit features nonstick coating and can be adjusted to make waffles, paninis, or other dishes. The new countertop kitchen electric is the latest product from Greenpan, which dates to its launch in late 2020 when the company teamed with chef Bobby Flay to debut an exclusive collection of cookware.

Convenience retailer United Dairy Farmers has launched Main Avenue Creamery, a new super-premium ice cream private brand. The ice cream comes in eight flavors including a blend of black raspberries and dark chocolate chips, and vanilla bean featuring a mix of several types of vanilla. This is the company’s first new brand in 40 years.

GNC is continuing its partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA with the introduction of a limited-time private brand collab, Girl Scout Lemon products. GNC Girl Scout Lemon products are available now at GNC retail locations and online at GNC.com and include GNC AMP Wheybolic Whey Protein, GNC Total Lean Layered Lean Bar, and GNC Total Lean Lean Shake 25.

HSN has announced the launch of their 14th private label brand – the Emryn House private label home collection. Emryn House includes products such as sheets, comforters, quilts, throw blankets, decorative pillows, bed skirts, faux plants, lanterns, wall hangings, flameless candles, furniture, wreaths, and mirror lamps. HSN has also announced plans for two more home brands before the end of the year.

Market research
Consumers Turn to Clean Eating to Battle Stress

The International Food Information Council’s (IFIC)17th annual Food and Health Survey has found that consumers are stressed out but trying to become healthier through cleaner eating and snacking much more often.

The top four eating patterns consumers say they are following are clean eating, mindful eating, calorie counting and plant-based products. Slightly more than half of all consumers say they are following a specific diet or eating pattern, an increase to 52% from 39% in 2021. More than one-third say they want to protect their long-term health, while about the same amount are interested in losing weight.

Stress is leading to more snacking by consumers. IFIC found a total of 73% of consumers snack at least once a day, which is an increase of 15 percentage points from 2021. Fifty-six percent of consumers reported feeling at least somewhat stressed during the last six months. Of those who have felt very stressed in the last six months, nearly 30% snack at least three times a day.

The report found stress is a major factor in what consumers are choosing to eat. IFIC found 54% of consumers who tried to alleviate stress through eating have made healthier food choices. But one in four said they always or often eat when they feel stressed. As consumers snack more now — and the survey found increases in snacking throughout the entire day — healthier snacks win out in the morning, with 43% of consumers picking up fruits. Later in the day, however, the snacks get less healthy. The most popular evening and late-night snacks include those that are salty or savory, candy or chocolate, and cookies, cake, or ice cream.

Consumers’ desire for cleaner labels is seen throughout the comprehensive survey. When IFIC asked those surveyed to define healthy foods, most consumers said they were fresh, low in sugar, good sources of protein and containing fruits and vegetables. Almost half said that a product described as having clean ingredients on its label would be healthier than one that had identical nutritional properties but no claim, and more than half felt that way about a product with an “all-natural” claim.

The online survey, which studied consumer attitudes and behavior toward food and shopping, was conducted among 1,005 Americans ages 18 to 80 between March 23 and April 4. Results were weighted by age, gender, education, race/ethnicity, and region to reflect the 2021 American Population Survey.

 

PLMA News
PLMA’s “World of Private Label” Trade Show Returns

For the first time since 2019, PLMA’s “World of Private Label” International Trade Show was held in Amsterdam on May 31 - June 1 and made a record-setting return. Over 15,000 people from 120 countries came to see the nearly 2,500 exhibiting companies for 70 countries at the show at the RAI Exhibition Center.

Speaking from the trade show floor, PLMA President Peggy Davies said “People are conducting business, networking, reacquainting themselves with people they haven’t seen in some time. We’re in this great environment where everyone is growing their business.” To see the full story on the “World of Private Label” International Trade Show click here.

In addition, PLMA’s Salute to Excellence winners were announced during the show and presentations on PLMA’s upcoming European consumer survey, the state of the grocery industry in Europe and a report on trends in the private label industry were also presented.

PLMA now prepares for its Chicago Trade Show to be held at the Rosemont Convention Center November 13-15. For more information about exhibiting please call us at +1 212 972-3131 or e-mail exhibit@plma.com. For information to attending, visit plma.com or email us at info@plma.com

Lunch & Learn Returns September 29

PLMA’s popular Lunch & Learn online speakers’ program will return on September 29 with its fourth session. Registration is free for PLMA members and retailers.

The previous three live Lunch & Learn sessions have explored a wide range of topics including presentations on packaging, product development, and the growing demand of consumers for store brands.

More details including scheduled speakers and registration will be revealed at a later date.

For more information regarding this session and other sessions of Lunch & Learn please contact Julia Meehan at education@plma.com

 

PLMA is Open to New Membership

The Private Label Manufacturers Association is the only trade association devoted exclusively to the private label industry. Founded in 1979, PLMA currently has some 3,500 member companies. Membership is open to manufacturers, brokers, trade suppliers and other companies. PLMA members enjoy exclusive access and discounted pricing to PLMA events and services. For more information about membership, please visit www.plma.com  or contact Barbara Cruz at (212) 972-3131, EXT. 1225 or bcruz@plma.com.

Events

PLMA's Executive Education program discusses what's at stake for retailer brands among unprecedented challenges these past two years, and suggests strategies for you to prosper going forward. Embrace the change.

Join your peers and retail partners, September 29 for 60 minutes at 12:30PM EDT, for the next installment of the Lunch & Learn speaker series. More information will be revealed closer to the event date.