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COFFEE HOLDING ACQUIRES COMFORT FOODS

(New York, N.Y.)óCoffee Holding Co. has acquired Comfort Foods for $2.3 million.  Comfort Foods, North Andover, Mass., is a medium-sized regional roaster, manufacturing both private label branded coffee for retail and food service customers located predominantly in the northeast marketplace. The company had approximately $7.3 million in sales over the past 12 months. Andrew Gordon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Coffee Holding, said the acquisition ďwill increase our overall presence and subsequent economies of scale at many of these current retail accounts in the northeast.Ē


TULKOFF FOOD REMOVES PHOS, TRANS FATS AND GLUTEN

(Baltimore, Md.)óTulkoff 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. ďFDA 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,Ē says Phil Tulkoff, President of Tulkoff Food Products.


J&J SNACK FOODS ACQUIRES HILL & VALLEY

(Pennsauken, N.J.) ĖJ&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. ďWe are excited to add Hill & Valley to our team,Ē said Jerry Law, Senior Vice-President of J&J Snack Foods. ďThis 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.Ē Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


HORMEL LAUNCHES COMMERCIAL RETAIL TEAM

(Austin, Minn.)óThe Specialty Foods group of Hormel Foods is launching its new Commercial Retail team, formerly known as the Corporate Brands team. ďThe new Commercial Retail name really describes what this group is all about,Ē said Mark Nellermoe, General Manager of Specialty Products at Hormel Foods. ďThis 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.Ē The team is launching a new website at www.hormelcommercialretail.com and can also be accessed at www.hormelspecialtyproducts.com.


MOUNT FRANKLIN FOODS ADDS CANDY PLANT

(El Paso, Texas)óMount  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 Auísome 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.


NASSAU CANDY ACQUIRES HOBBS AND DOBBS ASSETS

(Hicksville, N.Y.)óNassau 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. ďThe acquisition is highly synergistic with many of our candy vendors, plus further expands our channels of distribution and product assortment,Ē said Randy Goldbaum, Nassau Candyís Vice President of Confectionery Sales.




Store brands gaining share in fast-growing U.S. retail channels

Latest Nielsen data show strong gains in Mass, Club, Dollar

NEW YORK - Nielsen has released its latest sales and market share statistics and it shows that store brands are gaining market share against the big national brands in Americaís fastest growing retail channels.

For the 52 week period that ended 12/24/2016, retailersí brands strongly outperformed the national brands in the rapidly-growing mass merchandisers segment of Nielsenís total outlets database, which includes national retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, as well as some warehouse clubs and dollar store chains.

Private label dollar volume in the mass merchandisers/club/ dollar store segment climbed +4.4% to $49.6 billion, resulting in a +0.5 point market share gain to 16.6%. A similar pattern emerged in regard to units, with private label advancing +4.2% compared to only +0.2% for the brands. As a result, private labelís market share moved up +0.6 of a point to 19.7%.

These gains are especially important because the total channel sales for mass merchandisers, clubs and dollar stores are climbing at a much greater rate than in the supermarket channel. Dollar volume sales for Nielsenís all retail outlets combined segment, which also includes drug chains, outpaced the supermarkets-only measure, increasing +0.8% compared to barely +0.1% growth for supermarkets.

Store brandsí market share declined in the slow-growth supermarket channel Ė measured at 18.4% dollar share and 22.3% unit share Ė as well as in Nielsenís all outlets combined sector, but the data clearly indicate that, separate from the adverse impact of supermarket numbers dragging down the overall private label results, market shares for retailer brands in the other outlets have experienced solid gains at the expense of national brands.

Private labelís success in mass merchandisers and other non-supermarket channels is also an important factor when estimating the total size of the private label market in the U.S.

While Nielsen reports total private label sales for 2016 at $118 billion, these results do not include sales from some of the biggest and best store brands retailers in the country, such as Costco, Aldi, and Trader Joeís. Estimates of their private label sales would add $35 billion to the total and push the total U.S. private label market to more than $150 billion.

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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


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 Ė How can supermarkets attract the newest generation of grocery shoppers, the much-publicized millennials, and turn them into loyal customers? Thatís 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 consumptionówhether meals, snacks or bitesóinto a range of everyday activities, ranging from work and play to exercise and commuting, according to the research in PLMAís latest report ďHow Americaís Eating Habits Are Changing.Ē

This new way of eating offers a significant opportunity for the supermarketís 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 ďalways or frequentlyĒ 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 ďalways or frequentlyĒ 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, ďStore brands remain the retailerís 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.Ē

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.

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