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(Hollywood, Ala.)—Great Western Products, a producer of popcorn and popcorn related products, cooking oils, seasonings, toppings, snow cone syrups, floss sugars and other products has become SQF Level II Certified. The Certification means that the company has implemented a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and ISO based food safety program that is recognized by the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative). It also communicates that the organization has a Quality Management System (QMS) which meets or exceeds food safety regulations.


(Kewaskum, Wis.)—Regal Ware is introducing its 1919 Cookware collection, designed especially for at home chefs to champion their kitchens with elegant products. The magnetic stainless steel exterior makes 1919 Cookware ideal for any cooking surface, including induction cooktops. The stainless steel handles stay cool during stovetop cooking and are permanently riveted to the pan. The pans are oven and dishwasher safe. The 1919 Cookware collection includes saucepans, sauté pans, skillets, stock pots and cookware sets. Innovative products will continue to be added to diversify the brand portfolio.


(Emporia, Kan.)—Simmons Pet Food is expanding its flexible packaging facility in Emporia, Kansas. The $38 million investment will increase operations by 200,000 sq. ft. The company expects to begin operations in 2019. The Emporia Flexible Packaging Facility expansion will increase the company’s capacity for flexible production and packaging for select wet pet food products. With demand for cup, tub, and pouch packaging formats projected to exceed the existing capabilities, this expansion will add substantial capacity. The expansion will increase yearly facility output to an estimated 12.4 million cases of wet pet food cups and 2.4 million cases of tubs when it reaches full capacity in 2022.


(Boise, Idaho)—Fresca Mexican Foods has broken ground on a state-of-the-art plant in Caldwell, Idaho. The 190,000 sq. ft. facility is expected to be completed by mid-2018. The new plant will double Fresca’s capacity compared to its current facility. It will also have new capabilities to make a variety of different flat breads. Tom Nist, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, said: “The new plant will add not only the ability to increase production volume right away, but also has room for expansion as our organization continues to grow.”


(Grand Rapids, Mich.)—Ranir, a supplier of consumer oral care products, has appointed Scott Huff, former executive vice president of consumables and health and wellness at Wal-Mart, and Richelle Parham, most recently the chief marketing officer for eBay, to the company’s board of directors. “I’m thrilled to welcome two executives to the board who have a wealth of healthcare, marketing and brand expertise,” said Rich Sorota, CEO of Ranir. “We continue to execute on the company’s mission to provide millions of healthy, affordable smiles across the globe, and we look forward to Richelle and Scott joining the team and playing a role in Ranir’s continued evolution.”

For latest industry news, information and insight, visit PLMA Live!

Lisa Manzoline of Reynolds Consumer Products
elected chairman of PLMA Board of Directors

Executive committee and seven others elected to PLMA board of directors at 2018 annual meeting

NEW YORK, NY - Lisa Manzoline, Director, National Accounts for Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc., was elected to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of PLMA. The election took place in March during the association's 2018 Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference in Bonita Springs, Florida.

In acceptance remarks [click link to download], Manzoline stressed the ways that the private label industry continues to change and proposed that retailers’ interests could best be served by suppliers who are prepared to offer something their customers have yet to see or experience in store brands.

Clay Dockery, Vice President Corporate Brands, Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, was elected First Vice Chairman, and John Schaefer, Vice President, Sales, Aspen Products, Inc. was elected to the Second Vice Chairman post.

Five individuals were elected to the Board for three-year terms from 2018-2021. They are: Dan Muller, Merisant; Kevin Kollach, Gehl Foods; Todd Mulane, Berner Food & Beverage; Marc Robinson, Global Tissue Group; and Kelly McGolrich, Shearer’s Foods. Elected to fill two vacancies on the Board, expiring 2020, were Troy Pelak, Perrigo Company, and Ron Hodges, McCain Foods USA, Inc. Linda Lee, C. H. Guenther & Son, Inc. was elected to fill a vacancy on the Board expiring 2019.

Continuing members of the PLMA Board of Directors include: Kevin O’Flaherty, ASO, LLC; Jo Osborn, Bay Valley Foods LLC; Mike Cunningham, Dakota Growers Pasta Co.; Doug Bausch, LNK International; Evan Dobkins, Old Dutch Mustard Co., Inc.; Steve Morris, Paramount Coffee Co.; and Bill McKee, Simmons Pet Foods.

Jim Shuster, The Shuster Group, continues to serve on the Board representing PLMA member brokers, while Bill McKay, Symrise, represents PLMA member suppliers.

Former Chairman Dean Erstad, Seneca Foods Corporation, continues to serve ex-officio as a member of the board, and Arthur Handler, Arthur M. Handler Law Offices, LLC, continues as General Counsel.


Five are inducted into Private Label Hall of Fame for 2018

The names Glass, Latta, Baskin, Stephens and Virmani
are added to annals of the industry's leading influencers

NEW YORK - Five new members have been elected into the Private Label Hall of Fame, which honors executives who have made a major contribution to the success of retailer brands. The induction ceremony was held at the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference, which took place in Bonita Springs, Fla. last month.

The Hall of Fame Awards “give recognition to the men and women who have contributed to the development and success of our industry,” Brian Sharoff, president of PLMA, said at the induction ceremony. “In the ten years since its founding, the Private Label Hall of Fame has honored more than 50 individuals. These have included industry pioneers and CEO’s whose contributions here and internationally are well-known. But it also includes men and women up and down the buying and selling process whose contributions were no less significant.”

The new members of the Hall of Fame are:

David Glass, who was chief executive at Walmart and made significant investments in store brands. Under Glass, Walmart introduced and established its premium Sam’s Choice brand and the national brand equivalent Great Value brand.

Lori Latta, who has had a 25 year career at Trader Joe’s and currently is vice president of innovation for the specialty retailer. She has assumed positions on increasing responsibility and travels around the world in search of new product ideas.

Greg Baskin, who for nearly two decades until his retirement in 2015 was the face of private label business at Hormel Foods. When he became Hormel’s private label sales manager in 1989, Baskin consolidated what had been a fragmented private brands program into one division and soon started strengthening and expanding the business.

Tom Stephens, who played an important role in the success of the groundbreaking President’s Choice brand at Loblaws, a Canadian retailer. He now has his own company, Brand Strategy Consultants and advises store brands retailers and manufacturers around the globe.

• Prem Virmani, who served as senior vice president of science and research at Cott Beverages until he retired in 2016. He helped create the formulas for several private brand colas, including Sam’s Choice and Dr. Thunder for Walmart and President’s Choice for Loblaws.

The Private Label Hall of Fame, which can be seen online via a link from the main menu at, is sponsored by PLMA and Store Brands magazine. Induction is based on nomination by representatives of the industry and determined by a selection committee with experience and knowledge of the history of private label growth and evolution.


Store brands in mass retail channel grew nearly +10% in 2017

Latest data show gains for mass, club, dollar are driven by store brands

A new report by Nielsen shows that store brand sales jumped by nearly ten percent last year in mass merchandisers, club stores and dollar stores, while the mass channel came closer than ever before to overtaking traditional supermarkets as the place where consumers buy their groceries. Total sales in the mass channel reached $305 billion vs. $324 in supermarkets.

Sales of store brands in the mass channel increased sharply in both dollars and units while national brands grappled with fractional declines, according to nationwide sales data collected by Nielsen. Dollar sales of private label were up by +9.3% while unit sales rose by +9.1%. In contrast, national brands slipped -0.3% in dollar volume and fell back a full -1% in unit volume.

Thanks entirely to store brands, overall sales in the mass channel during 2017 grew by +1.3% for dollars and +1% for units. Total store brand dollar sales were $54.9 billion, compared with $50.2 billion for the prior year, a run-up of nearly $5 billion. In unit volume, store brands rose to 17.9 billion from 16.4 billion. Total sales for both dollars and units are the highest on record.

As a result of their strong 52-week performance, store brands market shares in the mass channel soared. Dollar share saw a +1.3 percentage points gain to 18%; unit share advanced +1.6 points to 21.4%, also all-time highs.

The mass channel is an ongoing store brands success story. Since 2015 alone, annual store brand dollar sales in the sector have increased by $7.5 billion, a gain of +15.8%. Store brand annual unit volume over the same period has risen by 2.3 billion, an improvement of +14.6%.

The results in the mass channel for 2017 pushed Nielsen’s store brands figures to positive territory across all outlets combined, despite weak performances for private label in supermarkets and drug stores. For total outlets, dollar sales for store brands was up +2.7% and unit volume rose +1.4%. Correspondingly, store brand dollar market share in all outlets gained half a point: up to 18%, while unit share increased +0.6 points to 21.7%.

During 2017, store brand sales across all outlets measured by Nielsen came in at $122.3 billion, up from $119.1 billion, while units moved up to 44.6 billion from 43.9 billion.


EDITORS: To schedule an interview with PLMA President Brian Sharoff, or for additional information on the growth of store brands, contact PLMA’s press representative at (212) 972-3131, or email

PLMA March 2018 agenda explored what’s next for store brands

Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference took place March 22-25

NEW YORK - An expansion of online grocery options; imposing new competitors; the advent of voice-assisted shopping; mobile checkouts; and changes that are being driven by consumers themselves; are ushering in an extraordinary era of disruption and uncertainties for the future of the retail marketplace.

Whether it will all add up to boom or bust for private label, and what store brands can do to seize this historic moment, were the questions dominating the agenda when PLMA convened its 2018 Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference in Bonita Springs, Florida.

The conference speakers took on these challenges and others, providing an occasion to explore the leadership opportunities that accompany the topics, as well as potential pitfalls and impediments to success. The program included:

• Store Brands: Boom or Bust
     Don Stuart, Managing Partner Cadent Consulting Group

• Keeping Pace with Consumers
     John Gerzema, CEO, Harris Insights and Analytics

• How Can Store Brands Take Advantage of Online Shopping?
     Bill Bishop, Chief Architect, Brick Meets Click

• Meet Siri & Alexa
     Christopher Dancy, Mindful Cyborg

• Workshop: Crisis Management
     Ernest DelBuono, DelBuono & Co., Strategic Crisis Consultant

To download the full program & speaker profiles, click here.

The annual PLMA conference provides opportunities for executives from manufacturing companies to come together with their industry peers and trading partners to explore the strategic choices that organizations can make in support of retailers and their store brands. The conference is open to PLMA member manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, brokers and suppliers.

PLMA's next Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference March 21-24, 2019, will coincide with the association's 40th Anniversary Celebration at the Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, California.


PLMA's 2017 trade show set all-time records for size and attendance

Store brands industry anticipates a growth surge in response to realignments in U.S. retailing

CHICAGO – Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods Markets and the rollout of stores by German discounter Lidl are expected to set off far-reaching changes for grocery retailing across the U.S. One impact already seen was a boom in attendance for PLMA’s Private Label Trade Show last November and a surge of interest in the growth of store brands.

For two days, the private label industry’s biggest event in North America brought together buyers from all major retail channels and suppliers in every food and nonfoods product category. The PLMA show presented a total of 2,864 booths from 1,476 exhibiting companies, a gain of +5.1% over last year’s event. Among top contributors to this year’s growth were a +16% increase in booths by first-time exhibitors, a +18% booth increase for international food pavilions and a +20% booth gain in non-foods pavilions.

Trade show attendance was up as well: +3.7% as compared to 2016, driven in large part by a +6.3% increase in registrations by retailers and wholesalers. Buyer and visitor registrations for 2017 reached 5,400 and total trade show participation, including exhibitor personnel, surpassed 11,200.

Utilizing more than one-million square feet of total floor space at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago, PLMA’s trade show exhibitors demonstrated the vast private label capabilities of American manufacturers. Among the tens of thousands of products on exhibit were shelf stable, fresh, frozen and refrigerated food and beverages, grocery non-foods, housewares & kitchenware, health and beauty, personal care, OTC and more.

PLMA’s speakers and seminars at the show explored the impact of Amazon on the online and bricks-and-mortar retailing spheres and likely implications for traditional retailers. Also considered was a looming battle for retailing dominance from the value end of the market.

Headlining the speaker program was a keynote by Judith Spires, chairman & CEO of Kings Food Markets & Balducci’s, who addressed the important role the independent chains will continue to play in U.S. grocery retailing. A retail trends breakfast featured Mike Paglia, director of retail insights for Kantar and one of the industry’s leading experts on Lidl, Aldi and the discount sector.

New for this year, PLMA launched a special exhibition for private label housewares. The section showcased the increasingly wide range of kitchen and home products being offered by U.S. retailers under their own brands, and presented an unprecedented opportunity for manufacturers in these categories exhibit and meet a wide representation of private label buyers.

To download the complete full press kit from PLMA's 2017 trade show, click here.



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