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RANIR ACQUIRES FRENCH SUPPLIER

(Grand Rapids, Mich.)—Ranir is growing its European footprint with the acquisition of France’s largest supplier of toothbrushes, Oralys Dental. The acquired company specializes in category management, quality and product design in the private label oral and personal care industry.  The acquisition gives Ranir direct access to well-known international retailers, which will expand its current market in northern and western Europe into southern Europe, including France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. “The addition of Oralys Dental is another significant step in our international strategy aimed at partnering with key retailers to grow both geographically and in our product assortment,” said Ranir CEO Christine Henisee.


QUALITY PASTA OPENS PACKAGING FACILITY

(Charleroi, Pa.) –Quality Pasta Company has opened a food packaging facility in Charleroi, Pa. The company has refurbished an existing building and “installed new state-of-the-art equipment,” said Paul A. DeStefano, President. The facility makes packaging for retail and food service side dishes. The facility will package side dishes and convenience foods, easy-to-make items that can be prepared in three to 10 minutes with microwave cups. The food products will come from different locations. “We are taking the packaging and the product and making them a finished product for retail sales,” he said.


PROLAMINA EXPANDS POUCHING CAPACITY

(Neenah, Wis.)—Prolamina Corp., a leading North American packaging company that serves the food, medical and specialty markets, took delivery of its newest piece of manufacturing equipment, a custom-built Totani  BH80. Housed in Prolamina’s facility here, this is Prolamina’s second facility to be tooled with Totanis. Matt Conlin, Vice President of Sales at Prolamina, states, “We capitalized on our experience with our existing Totani machines and partnered with Totani’s engineers to design a machine with high speed and versatility that will support our growth initiatives in the pouching market.”


PARAMOUNT COFFEE MAKES TWO APPOINTMENTS

(Lansing, Mich.)—Paramount Coffee has named Steven Weyhing general counsel and Jeff Kolk assistant plant/quality assurance manager for the company. Weyhing has served in both the public and private sectors, in regulatory litigation, environmental, liquor and agricultural law. Kolk was the director of operations at Eastside Deli Supply, Lansing, Mich., where he developed and led the quality assurance, human resources and facilities management departments for the company.


TREEHOUSE FOODS TO ACQUIRE FLAGSTONE FOODS

(Oakbrook, Ill.)—TreeHouse Foods will acquire Flagstone Foods, a St. Paul, Minn.-based supplier of private label healthy snacks.  TreeHouse has agreed to pay Gryphon Investors and other shareholders $860 million in cash for the business, subject to an adjustment for working capital.  Following the acquisition, TreeHouse’s pro forma annual sales are expected to approach $3.5 billion and adjusted EBITDA should exceed $450 million.  The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2014. Flagstone Foods reported sales of $697 million for the fiscal year ended December 28, 2013.  
“We are extremely enthusiastic about the acquisition of Flagstone Foods,” said Sam K. Reed, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of TreeHouse.  “Flagstone Foods is ideally situated at the intersection of health and wellness, snacking and the perimeter of the store, and represents an attractive new platform for TreeHouse to enter the on-trend, rapidly growing $7.1 billon healthy snacks category.”


ROCKLINE INDUSTRIES ACQUIRES ARKANSAS FACILITY

(Sheboygan, Wis.)—Rockline Industries, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of coffee filters and wet wipes. has acquired a nearly 240,000 sq. ft. facility, on a 30-acre site, in Russellville, Ark. “Rockline’s purchase of the Russellville site will help our company better serve the needs of our customers and accommodate our company’s rapid growth in contract manufacturing and private label products,” said Nick Santoleri, Vice President of Operations. Rockline currently operates four U.S. manufacturing plants in Arkansas, New Jersey and Wisconsin. In October, Rockline announced the opening of a state-of-the-art Innovation and Technical Center adjacent to its corporate headquarters in Sheboygan, Wis. That 18,000 sq. ft. facility will feature laboratories equipped with microbiological and analytical chemistry capabilities, and pilot line converting equipment. Product development teams working at the center will focus on wet wipe innovation, as well as product, packaging and test method developments



PLMA’s 2014 Private Label Trade Show is biggest ever

size and attendance reflects store brands reality of growth and expansion

CHICAGO - Private label buyers and sellers arrived here, Nov 16-18, for PLMA’s Store Brands Reality Trade Show, they were greeted by the largest show in the association’s 34-year history.

The show offered a total of 2,750 exhibit booths throughout three major halls at Chicago’s Rosemont Convention Center, as 1,335 exhibitors competed to get their store brands products in front of buyers and executives from America’s leading supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs, convenience and specialty retailers.

At the show opening, organizers were predicting another record year for attendance as well, with pre-registrations by retail buyers, wholesalers and other visitors exceeding 4,250, or nearly 10% ahead of last year’s numbers.

Store brands suppliers presented tens of thousands of products across virtually every food and beverage category – including prepared foods, frozen and refrigerated, ingredients, snacks, gourmet and specialty – while non-foods offerings included health and beauty care, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, vitamins & nutrition, household, kitchen and cleaning products, DIY and general merchandise.

Among the show’s special features, PLMA’s New Product Expo turned a spotlight on the newest products being offered by exhibitors on the trade show floor, while PLMA’s popular Idea Supermarket® showcased store brands programs, products and packaging from more than 50 leading retailers across North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Increasingly, the growth of store brands at America’s largest retail chains is attracting attention from international manufacturers, who seek to build a market for their products in the U.S. The Show floor presented international pavilions from Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, South Africa, Turkey, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Mauritius, as well as from Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina.

PLMA’s own World of Private Label pavilion and international exhibitors taking individual spaces extended global representation at the show to include Germany, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Israel, Thailand, India, Australia, Colombia, Chile and Brazil, among others.

Year after year across the U.S, private label’s growth continues to outpace the national brands, reaching new heights for consumer sales and retail market share. According the latest industry sales data compiled by The Nielsen Company, private label unit market share in supermarkets has reached 23.4% and dollar market share is now at 19.4%. Total private label sales in the U.S. last year surpassed $112 billion.

Store brands continue to grow in 2014. In the third quarter ending September 27, store brand sales increased +2.8% across all outlets combined – a rate of growth three times that of national brands, which were ahead +0.9%, per Nielsen.

Editors: To arrange an interview with PLMA President Brian Sharoff, contact PLMA’s press representative at (212) 972-3131.


Martha Stewart delivers opening keynote for record breaking PLMA show

Lifestyle icon and business leader headlines PLMA's 2014 speaker program

CHICAGO - One of the most successful and recognizable embodiments of a private brand in American Retailing, Martha Stewart presented the keynote address at PLMA's record setting 2014 private label trade show here at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare.

Introducing Stewart to a capacity audience of nearly 900 retail buyers and store brands manufacturing executives, PLMA President Brian Sharoff described her as "a remarkable businesswoman, innovator and icon in the realms of cooking, decorating, gardening, entertaining, publishing, and not least, of branding."

Stewart offered personal perspectives on how she was able to build, expand and manage a private brand that is currently represented by more than 8,500 unique products under her own name, which are distributed and sold via exclusive partnerships with retailers like Macy's, Home Depot, Michael's and PetSmart. Their success has expanded the concept of store brands, opening up new possibilities for the private label industry.

Among the keys to building a successful brand, according to Stewart, is an ability to build a relationship between your customer and the brand; one that is based on giving consumers what they want, what they need, and making sure that new products and new ideas are affordable.

At the keynote breakfast, opening remarks by PLMA Chairman Howard Kirschenbaum of Trinity Plastics also called on suppliers to listen more intently to customers, noting that “no one is closer to the consumer than the retailer, whose one-to-one interaction with shoppers on a day-to-day basis gives them the key that both retailer and supplier need to unlock the future of store brands.”

In addition to Stewart’s keynote on Monday, PLMA presented a speech by Stephen Mader of Kantar Retail on how disruptive digital platforms are leading to a convergence between traditional retailers Walmart and Tesco, and leading technology-based companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook.

In a presentation entitled “Store Brands for Everybody,” Christopher Durham, founder of the influential My Private Brand website, chronicled the multichannel growth and expansion of retailer-owned brands. The series of PLMA talks and seminars also included representatives from Walgreens, Sam’s Club, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Chain Drug Consortium, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, Valu Merchandisers, Sunopta and Bay Valley Foods, among others.

The thirty-fourth annual PLMA trade show presented a total of 2,750 exhibit booths throughout three major halls at Chicago’s Rosemont Convention Center, as 1,335 exhibitors competed to get their store brands products in front of buyers and executives from America’s leading supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs, convenience and specialty retailers. Show organizers were predicting another record year for attendance as well, with pre-registrations by retail buyers, wholesalers and other visitors exceeding 4,250, or nearly 10% ahead of last year’s numbers.


PLMA's 2014 Private Label Yearbook Now Available Online

Latest statistics show store brands growth continues, driving record shares across all outlets

NEW YORK - The annual sales statistics are in and they are impressive. With the release of PLMA’s 2014 Annual Private Label Yearbook, it’s indisputable that store brands have extended their multiyear period of growth, outpacing national brands in dollar and unit gains and setting new share records in all major U.S. retail channels.

The development that had been touted in some quarters as inevitable – shoppers’ returning en masse to big brands – failed to materialize for yet another year. Instead, it was business as usual according to data provided to PLMA by The Nielsen Company for the 52 weeks ending December 27, 2013 – national brands ceded precious market share as consumers continued to reach for quality and value in store brands.

In supermarkets, unit and dollar shares rose to 23.4% and 19.4%, respectively. In drug chains, unit market share advanced to 17.3% while dollar share increased to 16.4%. Across all outlets combined, which includes Wal-Mart, mass merchandisers, the club channel, dollar stores and military exchanges, shares moved up to 21.2% in units and 17.5% in dollars. All share marks are records.

The recent run up of store brand sales is remarkable. Since 2011, annual sales of store brands in supermarkets have increased +3%, or $1.6 billion, and in drug stores they have climbed +9%, or $700 million. In all outlets combined, annual sales have grown +5%, or $5.3 billion.

The performance comes as no surprise to executives in the store brands business, though some observers have been warning for years that store brands had their moment and recent share gains would hold steady or even decline as economically relieved consumers flocked back to brands.

But a funny thing happened on the way to what big CPG companies would consider marketplace normalcy: consumers balked. During financially pinched times many had turned to store brands and had come to like, even prefer, them. It became clear that a large segment of these shoppers were not going back to the big brands.

“In response to the trend, retailers across the country are freshening private label offerings and rolling out new products and whole new lines to their shelves,” explained PLMA President Brian Sharoff. “Looking ahead, store brand portfolios of leading retailers will likely accelerate their emphasis on consumer-focused positioning.”

In announcing the 2014 edition of PLMA’s Private Label Yearbook, Sharoff noted, "For the first time, our 22-year-old reference moves from print publication to an exclusively online resource, where store brands performance can more easily be examined and tracked category by category and quarter by quarter, across nine U.S. regional divisions and by channel.”

The annual compilation has become the benchmarking standard for retailers and suppliers, where Nielsen sales and market shares statistics are reported for more than 700 product categories.

Retailers and wholesalers can gain free access to the data and analysis, including new updates every quarter, by logging in at www.askplma.com and following the prompts for Private Label Yearbook. PLMA members can access the online yearbook via PLMA's member services website at www.plma.org.

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For additional information on the growth of store brands or to schedule an interview with PLMA President Brian Sharoff, contact PLMA’s press representative at (212) 972-3131, or email dtwining@plma.com


Value tops list of millennials’ shopping priorities, says PLMA study.

Consumer research looks at what moves America's newest primary shoppers

NEW YORK - A new nationwide study from PLMA for the first time casts significant light on the grocery shopping patterns of the Millennials, the 100 million Americans born between 1980 and 2000.

Millennials represent a multi-trillion dollar marketing opportunity. By 2016, they will become the country’s most powerful consumer bloc and, over time, will become the most economically impactful generation in U.S. history, outspending even the Baby Boomer generation. They already account for $1.3 trillion in overall direct annual spending and it is predicted they will buy $60 billion in consumer packaged goods over the next decade. But little is known of their shopping mindset and grocery retailers have generally ignored them.

Millennials like to describe themselves as unique in their attitudes and how they conduct their lives. While that may well be true in terms of their overwhelming use of smart phones, social networks and the internet, the first wide-ranging study of Millennials who identify themselves as primary grocery shoppers for their household reveals that, when it comes to buying food and non-food necessities, value is the key to their purchasing behavior.

According to the PLMA study, Millennials shop for groceries often and widely, and supermarkets are the most popular choice. Lead factors in what they choose to buy include previous experience with the product, their shopping list and coupons. Seven in ten belong to a loyalty program. In choosing a store or product, they seek out affordability, value and lowest price. They are also regular purchasers of store brands, think highly of the products, and give them high marks vs. national brands.

The PLMA study was conducted by Surveylab, a leading online opinion consultant. It consisted of more than sixty questions aimed at determining what moves Millennials. Completing the survey were nearly 1,600 men and women from 18 to 33 years old who identified themselves as the primary grocery shopper for their household.

Further highlights from the study include:

• Millennials overwhelmingly see their generation as different from previous ones and are optimistic about their future. But many express resignation about their status. Half say their generation is financially less well off than previous ones and one in five say their life is worse than that of their parents. They expect big changes in the future: Half believe say stores will look nothing like they do now and a third believe many of today’s national brands will no longer be around.

• Brand loyalty is not a major pull for Millennials. When a national brand they wish to buy is not available at the shelf, four in ten choose the store brand, one third pick a different national brand and one in eight look elsewhere for the national brand they initially wanted.

• Millennials are universally familiar with store brands and buy them regularly.Almost four in ten said they buy store brands frequently, the highest rate offeredin the study. Seventy-one percent said value is the main reason they purchase the store brand product as opposed to the national brand. Product quality improvements and a good prior experience will drive their future store brand purchase.

“Millennials have revolutionized the way we communicate,” says Brian Sharoff, PLMA president. “They have created a world of ‘likes’ and ‘friends’ larger than all television audiences combined. But who are they? For those who run supermarkets, drug chains and mass merchandisers, they are still enigmatic. Hopefully, this study will help clarify how they shop and what they want.”

To request a free copy of PLMA’s new consumer research study, “The Millennials Are Coming,” email research@plma.com.

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