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(Baltimore, Md.)—Tulkoff Food Products has removed partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), trans fats and gluten from all Tulkoff Original Garlic Spreads. The company describes the changes as following necessary trends due to Food & Drug Administration regulations and consumer demands. “FDA regulations have been clear on the removal of PHOs and trans fats for products like our Original Garlic Spread. Our removal of gluten is a response to increasing customer demands for products without wheat,” says Phil Tulkoff, President of Tulkoff Food Products.


(Pennsauken, N.J.) –J&J Snack Foods Corp. has acquired Hill & Valley, a Rock Island, Ill.-based premium bakery with annual sales of more than $45 million. Hill & Valley makes a variety of pre-baked cakes, cookies, pies, muffins and other desserts for retail in-store bakeries. “We are excited to add Hill & Valley to our team,” said Jerry Law, Senior Vice-President of J&J Snack Foods. “This acquisition rounds out our in-store bakery offerings by expanding our capabilities and customer base, and provides us a newly constructed facility that has ample capacity for growth and a nimble production process.” Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


(Austin, Minn.)—The Specialty Foods group of Hormel Foods is launching its new Commercial Retail team, formerly known as the Corporate Brands team. “The new Commercial Retail name really describes what this group is all about,” said Mark Nellermoe, General Manager of Specialty Products at Hormel Foods. “This team is a fantastic resource to help our partners grow their private label brand strategies. We have many iconic brands at Hormel Foods and our retail partners can profit from our knowledge and experience to help grow their sales.” The team is launching a new website at and can also be accessed at


(El Paso, Texas)—Mount  Franklin Foods, LLC, is adding a fifth food manufacturing plant and its first candy making facility to be located in the U.S.. Through an investment expected to total $10 million, the plant will be updated with state-of-the-art equipment, allowing the company to add vitamin gummies and other fortified products as well as organic and natural fruit snack items to its product portfolio. The facility, in Sumter, S.C., which belonged to the former Au’some Candy Company, is on track to be operational by the end of the second quarter of 2017.  Mount Franklin Foods is a North American manufacturer of confections and nut products serving major retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors.


(Hicksville, N.Y.)—Nassau Candy, a supplier of candy and chocolate, said it acquired certain assets of Los Angeles-based Hobbs and Dobbs Inc., a distributor in the specialty candy and novelty markets since 1978. “The acquisition is highly synergistic with many of our candy vendors, plus further expands our channels of distribution and product assortment,” said Randy Goldbaum, Nassau Candy’s Vice President of Confectionery Sales.


(Toronto)—Cott Corp. has entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement to acquire S&D Coffee & Tea, a coffee and tea manufacturer and supplier to restaurants and convenience stores, for a purchase price of approximately $355 million on a debt and cash free basis. S&D, based in Concord, N.C., will become a subsidiary of Cott and continue to operate under the S&D Coffee & Tea name. “The acquisition of S&D enables us to become a leading player in the coffee and tea categories due to their excellence as a manufacturer and their prominence as an elite supplier in the restaurant and convenience retail segments,” said Jerry Fowden, Chief Executive Officer of Cott.

Preparing for tomorrow's marketplace, PLMA sets the agenda for March conference

Store brands executives to meet in Tucson and plan scenarios for retailing's brave new world

NEW YORK - When PLMA holds its 2017 Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference, March 23-26 in Tucson, Arizona, the strategic choices that organizations will have to make in planning for an uncertain future will pervade every part of the program under the theme “Are You Ready for Tomorrow’s Marketplace?” To ensure store brands executives have access to the skills needed to detect how their business environment is going to change and to help them navigate the inevitable challenges to come, PLMA will offer a senior management workshop for scenario planning, to be led by Paul J.H. Schoemaker, Ph.D.

Please click here to download details for the workshop.

Senior fellow and research director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School of Business, Dr. Schoemaker is an internationally respected professor of strategic planning and decision-making. As the founder of Decision Strategies International, Schoemaker has also worked with some of the world’s biggest corporations – including many in the Fortune 100 – advising CEOs and senior executives across a range of industries.

Whether they know it or not, retailers and store brands are even now engaged in the marketplace of the future. Consumers’ digital lives are already penetrating the retailer’s physical environment with their increasingly networked world of new transactional platforms, devices and data, while transforming the stores as we know them and shoppers themselves.

Additional topics and speakers on the conference agenda include:

• Tomorrow’s Marketplace From big data and artificial intelligence to robots, drones and the internet of things, the impact that a new generation of internet enabled devices and connected consumers will have on physical stores is the topic to be navigated by Bill Gillispie, Retail and CPG Leader with IBM Global Business Services, and a former retailing executive whose resume includes over 20 years’ experience in grocery operations, merchandising, fresh, center store and pharmacy.

• Packaging for the Future Revolutionary concepts in packaging science and technology are emerging across product categories: packages that dissolve, edible packaging, nanomaterials, smart packaging, and more are challenging basic notions of what packaging is and opening fresh opportunities for retailers and their brands. Speaker Michael Vincent of The Sustainable Package, LLC, was group procurement manager and director, supply chain sustainability for Safeway. A former director for packaging development at Dreyer’s and Multifoods, he also holds six U.S. patents for packaging and food processing.

• Meet the Retailer A presentation by Jac Ross, senior director for product development, innovation and product integrity for Ahold USA will offer insights into the future of store brands at one of the largest supermarket operators in the eastern U.S., continuing a popular series of presentations by store brands executives from key retail companies at PLMA's annual conference. Prior to joining Ahold USA, Ross headed grocery product development and technology for Sainsbury’s in the United Kingdom.

PLMA’s Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference provides an opportunity for private label executives from manufacturing companies to come together with their industry peers and trading partners for the purpose of examining the latest trends and exploring strategies for achieving store brands success. The location for this year’s event will be Westin's La Paloma in Tucson. The conference is open to PLMA member manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, brokers and suppliers.

For additional information or to register, click here to download the conference brochure, or inquire by email to


PLMA drums up a Store Brands Jamboree to beat the band

Private label trade show for 2016 celebrated record size and attendance

CHICAGO - PLMA’s 2016 Private Label Trade Show is the one industry event where private label producers across every food and nonfoods category offer their manufacturing capabilities and expertise, exhibiting tens of thousands of products that will carry the retailer’s brand.

As store brands sales surpassed $118 billion annually according to latest industry data, the PLMA show presented an all-time record total of 2,820 exhibit booths from 1,409 companies, representing growth of about +6% in total exhibitors compared to last year’s event.

Joining manufacturers from across the U.S. on the trade show floor were seventeen international and two regional pavilions featuring exhibitors from Canada, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey and Vietnam among others. Over 56 countries overall were represented throughout the show floor.

In two major exhibition halls companies offered foods and beverages that range from shelf-stable and frozen to chilled and fresh prepared foods – including fresh deli, diary & bakery items. A third major exhibition hall was devoted entirely to nonfoods, including health and wellness products, beauty and personal care, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, pet care, kitchen and household, paper and plastic, and general merchandise.

The PLMA show year after year draws the largest attendance of store brands buyers in the Western Hemisphere, as the products continue to rack up sales records across the major retail channels. Total visitor registrations were about 5,250 according to show organizers. Their number included buyers and executives from virtually every major supermarket and drug chain, mass merchandiser, club, convenience and specialty retailer, foodservice distributor and wholesaler. Total show attendance exceeded 10,500.

For retailers seeking to expand their private brands to new categories and marketing concepts, PLMA offered special exhibits to help buyers navigate the enormous and diverse assortment of offerings on the trade show floor. PLMA’s New Product Expo put a spotlight on the newest submissions from exhibiting companies In addition, 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.

More than 1,000 attended an opening breakfast, which featured a keynote speech by Chris Wallace, the popular host and anchor of Fox News Sunday and moderator for the third and final presidential debate. Additional speakers and seminars focused attention on the most significant retail trends for 2107, as well as the latest consumer research and emerging store brands opportunities.


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

New PLMA Study: America's Eating Habits Are Changing

Millennials are changing the way America eats, and all-day snacking is just part of the story

NEW YORK – How can supermarkets attract the newest generation of grocery shoppers, the much-publicized millennials, and turn them into loyal customers? That’s probably the biggest strategic question facing retailers today and new research suggests that the answer may be found in the fresh departments along the store perimeter.

A nationwide survey of more than 1,800 shoppers by the Private Label Manufacturers Association reveals that millennials love food but want food done their way. Fresh and healthy foods are at the top of their shopping lists, while prepared and portable foods are also very popular.

These food choices reflect a distinctive way of eating. For millennials, eating is largely unscheduled. They incorporate food consumption—whether meals, snacks or bites—into a range of everyday activities, ranging from work and play to exercise and commuting, according to the research in PLMA’s latest report “How America’s Eating Habits Are Changing.”

This new way of eating offers a significant opportunity for the supermarket’s dairy, deli and bakery departments. While millennials purchase from many different sources, they frequently shop at supermarkets. And once inside the store they often head to these three departments. The study found that three-quarters of shoppers buy deli items in the supermarket where they do their regular grocery shopping, 77% buy dairy items and 59% buy bakery items.

Reflecting their on-the-go eating habits, one third “always or frequently” purchase heat-and-eat food from the supermarket, 29% pick up prepared or ready-to-eat food, and 27% buy grab-and-go prepared food items from a source such as a supermarket or convenience store. Millennials are a generation of nibblers and experimenters, so in-store sampling and demonstrations are popular.

Home or away, meals or snacks, this age group is drawn to all things fresh. On occasions when they eat at home, including meals and snacks, 57% of them “always or frequently” opt for fresh fruits, 35% for fresh baked bread products, 30% for fresh prepared meals and 30% for fresh and chilled deli salads.

The PLMA study indicates there is likely to be a big payoff for supermarkets who successfully adapt to the new eating habits of the millennials. Contrary to expectations, these shoppers are more loyal to their favorite stores than their parents. Nine of 10 do their regular grocery shopping in only one or two stores. This represents a dramatic departure from recent PLMA studies that saw consumers spreading their shopping among a multiplicity of stores.

This loyalty has important implications for store brands. As they select products, millennials are well informed about brands, including store brands, and where foods come from. Nine of 10 say they are aware of the ingredients in the food products they eat and three of four read the nutritional labels on products. Their awareness of store brands and national brands is virtually the same at 84% vs. 86%.

Commenting on these findings, Brian Sharoff, President of PLMA, said, “Store brands remain the retailer’s most potent weapon in developing strategies for this age group. It offers flexibility and opportunities to be creative with product assortment and concept without waiting for national brands. But it requires an understanding of what this age group likes and will buy.”

PLMA commissioned Surveylab to conduct a comprehensive, nationwide online survey of 1,839 shoppers (931 women, 908 men) between the ages of 20 and 29, primarily the core group of the Millennial generation. This demographic group represents upwards of 50 million Americans, or about 15% of the total population. In number of participants, this is the largest survey PLMA has ever commissioned in the U.S.


PLMA’s International Salute to Excellence recognizes the best store brands wines

Lidl and Aldi win 5 awards each. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart win among U.S wines

NEW YORK - With wine sales worldwide reaching more than $125 billion, supermarkets now account for approximately 25% market share and retailers’ own private label has surged to over 50% in major countries like Germany, France, UK, Spain and Italy. While the U.S market still represents a fraction of that penetration, the question is which retailers are offering consumers the best quality and best value.

The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) decided to find out and opened its annual Salute to Excellence Awards to a competition of reds, whites, roses and sparkling wines. The results were eye-openers, too, for those who believe that only expensive wines please the palate.

More than 250 wines from retailers in 16 countries were tasted and tested. Discounters Lidl and Aldi, two of the most successful retailers in Europe, won five awards apiece. Traditional supermarkets like Carrefour in France and Tesco in the UK also received recognition in popular wine categories. Among U.S retailers, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart were honored.

The top vote getter for quality was Aldi from the United Kingdom for Freeman’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2015 and for value, the top vote getter was Mercadona from Spain for its Arteso Crianza 2013 Rioja DOC.

The winning U. S wines were TJ’s Grand Reserve Chardonnay Chalk Hill Sonoma County 2014 (best quality in the Chardonnay category); Whole Foods’ Criterian Chianti Classico 2011 (best quality in Chianti category); and Wal-Mart’s Oak Leaf Shiraz (best value in the Shiraz category).

Wines were judged on the basis of traditional criteria such as appearance, taste, smell, and general impression. Points were also awarded for packaging and shelf appeal. Wines were divided into the following categories. Red wines were: Merlot, Côtes du Rhône, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Chianti, Barolo, Rioja, and Shiraz. Whites were Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Grigio, Chablis and Rosé. Sparkling were Champagne and Prosecco.

Judges for the awards were selected from professionals in the wine industry as well as retail industry specialists. Each panel was led by a Wine Master. Panel 1 was led by Cees van Casteren of The Netherlands who has written ten books and more than 500 articles on wine and food. Panel 2 was led by Sarah Abbott of the U.K., who has been active in the wine trade for more than 20 years and serves as a judge in several wine competitions. Michel Polderman, formerly in charge of wine purchasing at Albert Heijn, author and wine competition organizer, supervised the workings of both panels.

Other judges included Jose Luis Murcia Garcia of Spain, Jakub Prybil of Czech Republic, Helmut Knall of Austria, Alma Torretta of Italy, Sigi Hiss of Germany, Beverly Blanning of the U.K., Jean-Pierre Bonvallet of France, Wojciech Bonkowski of Poland, Rene van Heusden of The Netherlands, and Alain Bloeykens of Belgium. American judges included Phil Russo, Edward Salzano, and Laurence Markowitz.

The wine panels were part of PLMA’s annual International Salute to Excellence Awards, in which retailers submit new and innovative private label products for industry recognition. More than 370 food, home and health products from 63 retailers in 23 countries were considered for awards in addition to the wine competition.

PLMA’s Salute to Excellence Awards were established in 2006. The International Awards were started in 2014. Wines selected for the judging were purchased off the shelves of retailers as would be available to typical consumers. Judging took place in Amsterdam on April 6-7.

(Click here for the complete listing of wine categories and winning retailers for quality and value)

Commenting on the wine competition, Brian Sharoff, president of PLMA, said: “The role of supermarkets in the marketing of wine is growing more important as shoppers seek good quality and good price. The retailer’s private label has given consumers the confidence that they can select top wines without paying a premium for branding. This year’s Salute to Excellence gives recognition to those retailers who are doing an excellence job with their wines and encourages other retailers to match or exceed those standards.”



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