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TREEHOUSE FOODS TO ACQUIRE FLAGSTONE FOODS

(Oakbrook, Ill.)óTreeHouse 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, TreeHouseís 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.  
ďWe are extremely enthusiastic about the acquisition of Flagstone Foods,Ē said Sam K. Reed, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of TreeHouse.  ďFlagstone 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.Ē


ROCKLINE INDUSTRIES ACQUIRES ARKANSAS FACILITY

(Sheboygan, Wis.)óRockline Industries, one of the worldís 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. ďRocklineís purchase of the Russellville site will help our company better serve the needs of our customers and accommodate our companyís rapid growth in contract manufacturing and private label products,Ē 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


PERRIGO PARTNERS WITH KANPAK FOR NUTRITION DRINKS

(Allegan, Mich.)óPerrigo Company announced that its Nutritionals segment is partnering with KanPak LLC to manufacture store brand adult nutritional drinks. KanPak is a leading supplier of beverages and desserts using aseptic processing technology. Perrigo Chairman, President and CEO Joseph C. Papa stated, ďOur nutritionals team already supplies leading retailers with a range of nutritionals, from infant formula to adult vitamins, so this is a logical extension for our business. We made a significant investment into this partnership to bring quality, affordable healthcare products to retailers and the adult consumers they serve across the United States.Ē


MASTERS GALLERY FOODS RECEIVES AWARD

(Milwaukee, Wis.)óMasters Gallery Foods has been recognized as the 2013 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Grand Award winner in the large company category.  ďThis is a terrific honor for Masters and all our team members; they make the difference between us being merely good and being the best we can be,Ē said Jeff Gentine, Executive Vice President and Co-owner.   Jeff Giffin, President and CEO, added, ďThanks to the combined efforts of Masters Gallery Foodsí team members, this award recognizes the environment weíve createdóone that has extreme passion to succeed and a willingness to go the extra mile.  I could not be prouder of the teamís accomplishments and am honored to be part of the success.Ē  
The company services many of the nationís grocery chains, wholesalers, restaurants and distributors with a full line of cheese related products.  Masters Gallery Foods also specializes in the procurement, aging and distribution of bulk cheeses at a national level.  


EUROCAN INTRODUCES ALL-NATURAL PET ITEMS

(New Hamburg, Ontario)óEuroCan Pet Products has introduced a range of all-natural dog chews and treats. The initial wave of products consists of 20 beef, chicken and pork items, including several natural bones packed in gift box-like packaging. EuroCan also announced that its manufacturing facility has reached the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark under SQF-Level 2.


PARCHEM NAMES V.P. OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

(New Rochelle, N.Y.)óParchem-fine and specialty chemicals, has promoted Luigi Magliaro to the post of Vice President of Product Development. Prior to the promotion, Magliaro led Parchemís specialty chemicals division. Parchem is a leading global marketer of specialty raw materials servicing the cosmetics, nutrition, coatings, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals industries.




Value tops list of millennialsí shopping priorities, says new 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 countryís 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:

ē 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 todayís national brands will no longer be around.

ē 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.

ē 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.

ďMillennials have revolutionized the way we communicate,Ē says Brian Sharoff, PLMA president. ďThey have created a world of Ďlikesí and Ďfriendsí 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.Ē

To request a free copy of PLMAís new consumer research study, ďThe Millennials Are Coming,Ē email research@plma.com.

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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 PLMAís 2014 Annual Private Label Yearbook, itís 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 Ė shoppersí returning en masse to big brands Ė 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 Ė 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.

ďIn 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,Ē explained PLMA President Brian Sharoff. ďLooking ahead, store brand portfolios of leading retailers will likely accelerate their emphasis on consumer-focused positioning.Ē

In announcing the 2014 edition of PLMAís 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.Ē

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 PLMAís press representative at (212) 972-3131, or email dtwining@plma.com


Howard Kirschenbaum of Trinity Plastics Elected New PLMA Chairman

New Officers and Eight New Directors Also Elected at PLMA Annual Meeting

ORLANDO, FL - Howard Kirschenbaum, Vice President of Sales for Trinity Plastics, was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of PLMA. The election took place March 29 during the Association's Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference here. Kischenbaum has served since 2010 as a member of the Executive Committee of PLMA, and has chaired or served on various committees for the PLMA board since being elected as a director in 2008.

In acceptance remarks, Kirschenbaum urged private label manufacturers to be more engaged in product innovation and new item development, as retailers focus their strategies for growth on enhancing the shopper experience with store brands that are targeted to ever more individualized consumer needs.

To download the text of acceptance remarks, Click here).

Dean Erstad, Senior Vice President, Sales for Seneca Foods Corporation, was elected to the position of First Vice Chairman, while Bill Lucia, General Manger, Inter-American Products, Inc. was elected to the Second Vice Chairman post.

Five individuals were elected to the Board for three-year terms from 2014-2017. They are: Kevin Kollock, Frozen Specialties, Inc.; Linda Lee, C.H. Guenther & Son, Inc.; Tom Chaffee, Bay Valley Foods, LLC; Dan Muller, Merisant; and Lisa Manzoline, Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc.

In addition, there were three individuals elected to fill unexpired terms on the board ending in 2016: Chris Anderson, Energizer Private Brands Group; Gary Peterson, Red Gold, LLC; and Bill Bond, Willert Home Products.

Continuing members of the PLMA Board of Directors include: Clay Dockery, Massimo Zanetti Beverage, USA; Mark McCumby, The Smith Bros.; Charlotte Marsh, Windsor Foods; Larry Hamwey, The Jel Sert Company; John Schaeffer, Aspen Products, Inc.; Christian Strong, Perrigo Diabetes Care; and Charlotte Taylor, Schreiber Foods.

Mike Slattery of Slattery Sales & Marketing, continues to serve on the Board representing PLMA member brokers, while Deborah Ginsberg of Strategia Design represents PLMA member suppliers. Outgoing Chairman Greg Baskin of Hormel Foods continues to serve on the board ex-officio, and Arthur Handler of Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass, continues as General Counsel.

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New Market Basket Study: Consumers Could Save 38% Buying Store Brands

Savings were bright spot during harsh winter, PLMA pricing study found

NEW YORK - For much of the country, mother nature delivered an extra dose of cold winter misery this season. But at least consumers could take comfort by piling on savings at the supermarket with store brands while waiting for a break in the weather.

A recent study of supermarket prices by PLMA reveals shoppers on average could save 38% off their grocery bill by filling their winter shopping cart with the retailerís store brands instead of their national brand counterparts.

The research, conducted by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, tracked the pricing on 35 typical grocery and household items at a conventional supermarket. The study results indicate that by choosing the store brand version of the products on the list rather than the national brand, consumers could save $53.75 a week, or 38.4%, on average on their total market basket. When buying well-known national brands of the products selected, consumers would have spent $139.84 a week. This compares to the $86.09 they would have spent on average per week buying only the retailerís brands. The survey took place over a four week period in a northeast supermarket.

(Click here to download the complete chart of market basket products and prices)

The survey looked at products that consumers typically seek out during the cold winter months, including cough and cold products, hot chocolate, soup, instant oatmeal, pancake mix and table syrup, hand sanitizer and tissues, among others. Savings on individual products ranged from 61% for sinus spray to 18% for dry pasta.

For each category in the study, a leading national brand product was compared to a similar store brand product. Prices were adjusted to account for all known in-store promotions and discounts available for each of four shopping visits. The survey was repeated on a weekly basis during the 4-week period from January 18, 2014 through February 8, 2014 in a suburban supermarket located in the northeast.

The Private Label Manufacturers Association is the industry trade association devoted exclusively to store brands. Founded in 1979, PLMA today represents over 3,000 companies who are involved in the manufacture and distribution of store brand products. The products supplied by PLMA members include food, beverages, snacks, health and beauty aids, over-the-counter drugs, household cleaners and chemicals, outdoor and leisure products, auto aftercare and general merchandise.

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

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