Industry and Government News
The French ‘Drive’ is growing in popularity

In France, the so-called “Drive,” or pick-up point, has become more popular than ever in the past year. Food retailers had a turnover of over 9 billion euros through a total of 4,162 drives locations throughout the country. Since Auchan started the concept two decades ago, all retailers have jumped in and opened drives, the majority of which are adjacent to a store, although some 13% are not attached. In addition to drives that can be accessed by cars, there has been a strong growth of pedestrian drives, especially in the city centres.

The drives mostly offer around 13,000 SKUs and private label products play an important role: More than 38% of the offer and over one third of the turnover of the drive is the retailer’s own brand. All major retailers, like Monoprix, Carrefour, Auchan and E. Leclerc, have indicated that they plan to expand collection points this year.

Food e-commerce in France has grown to 8.3% of the market share, and pick-up in drives has by far surpassed home delivery.

Market leader Edeka ups forecast

German market leader Edeka saw a sales increase of 9.5 percent to a net 61 billion euros in 2020. The retailer’s market share in the country, including the fully owned discount chain Netto, now stands at 29.1%.

While CEO Markus Mosa had expected a decline in sales for this current year, he has corrected the company’s forecast upwards and now aims at matching last year’s sales. At the same time, the investment budget will be increased from 1.9 to 2.3 billion euros in 2021.

Edeka recently presented its new vegan own brand "Vehappy" with which it wants to play into the flexitarian and vegan trend. The first handful of products have arrived on shelves and the range will soon be expanded. Attention was paid to the product’s origin, with most ingredients coming from Europe, and they were processed without chemicals or additives.

Unmanned mini stores

Rewe’s subsidiary Billa has launched the “Billa Box” in Austria. It is an unmanned, very small store with a sales area of eleven square meters. Billa Box carries a range of around 200 items and, for now, it is intended for consumers in rural areas that have few shopping opportunities nearby.

The concept is no frills: simple wooden shelves in a stripped-down container. The customer does not need an app to get access. The Billa Box is open during regular store hours and customers scan barcodes of products at the self-service terminal. Payment can be made in cash, by card and by smart phone. The focus is on products from regional and local suppliers. Other retailers in the country, like Tegut, Edeka Südwest and Migros, have also launched unmanned stores.

Retailer Billa saw a sales growth of almost 7% last year with 1,110 stores. It has a market share in Austria of 33%.

On-Pack Recycling Label in UK

New packaging labels have launched in the UK to persuade consumers to refill or return the products to the supermarket. The new labels are backed by all major supermarkets and suppliers and will be rolled out across food and non-food own label and branded products.

The recycling scheme was developed with the help of Sheffield University and aims to make a significant contribution to the war on plastics. There are three varieties of the label: “Return to refill”, “Refill in store” and “Refill at home.” The uniform labels are intended to make it easier for consumers to understand what to do with the packaging and make more conscious decisions on what they buy.

It is believed that refillables have a major role to play in the effort to reduce the impact of packaging.

Denmark’s Salling Group reports record numbers

Last year, Salling Group, the largest retailer in Denmark, achieved a turnover of more than 60 billion Danish kroner (± 8 billion euros) for the first time. The company has benefited substantially from the pandemic, it increased sales by more than 500 million euros and EBIT grew to 380 million euros.

Salling operates Føtex supermarkets, Bilka hypermarkets, the Netto discount chain and Salling department stores and is active in Denmark, Germany and Poland. Because of changed consumer behaviour, the company continues significant investments in food online. Early this year, Føtex home delivery went online. Banner Bilka expanded its digital presence with great growth on BilkaToGo, which in April 2021 launched its first click and collect solution.

The Group has entered into a strategic partnership with Danish Nordic Harvest to build one of the world’s largest vertical farms. On the farm in the city of Taastrup, crops are grown on 14 floors in water in a closed and controlled environment that gives the plants the optimal conditions for growth, taste and nutritional content. From seeds to supermarket, the salads and herbs have never been in contact with soil, human hands, bacteria, fungal spores or pests. And they therefore do not need to be rinsed, neither when packed nor before being used at home at the dining table.

New vertical farm products will be tested in the Salling Group’s Føtex and Bilka chains on an ongoing basis.

Albert Heijn expands international range

Dutch retailer AH is enlarging its range of international dishes with more than 125 new items. According to the market leader, customer interest for new dishes and spices from abroad is growing. Mexican, Thai, Arabic and Indian meals are among the fastest growing segments.

New products include fresh meal packages such as Tom Kha Kai, Lebanese pita, red curry and mild green curry, a poké bowl, beef teryiaki, shakshuka and Mexican wraps. In addition, new fresh herbs and fresh meals are included in the range.

Albert Heijn is also working to make existing products healthier and more sustainable. In 2020, more than 146 million less sugar cubes, 65,000 kilograms less salt and 366,000 kilograms less saturated fat was used in products. The number of kilos of used packaging was reduced by 3.6%. The retailer is expanding its “Better for Cow, Nature & Farmer” own brand programme with approximately 150 dairy farmers by the end of this year.

Horizon Purchasing Alliance Dissolved

In France, Auchan, Dia, Casino, Metro and Schiever are not renewing their cooperation agreement through the central purchasing agency Horizon. The alliance was created three years ago and coordinated purchases in both in France and abroad.

The French competition authorities had been investigating the alliance and the participating retailers had to limit the scope of their common private label negotiations by excluding many product categories.

Minutes after announcing the end of Horizon, Casino formed a five-year alliance with Intermarché. This alliance is to negotiate purchasing conditions on behalf of the two retailers of products of major branded supermarket products and it excludes own brands.

In food, the common structure will be managed by Intermarché, the non-food division by Casino. This distribution of power would be beneficial to both parties. The retailers will also cooperate on an international level and in the digital field.

Waitrose Launches Big Own Label Range

Waitrose has announced the launch of its first-ever combined own label range with John Lewis in the UK. The range includes almost 300 private label products from the Levant region, a Middle East area that includes Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey and Cyprus. 

It is called the Levantine Table and will include a wide spectrum of food products, from scratch cook ingredients to prepared meat and vegetable dishes, snacks and desserts from the region. In addition, there will be a selection of homeware and tabletop products.
DM’s new Pro Climate brand

Germany’s drugstore retailer dm has launched its first environmentally neutral product range under the sub-brand ‘Pro-Climate’. The range includes body care products, detergents, cleaning aids and hygiene items. All care products are certified natural cosmetics.

The environmental impact of the products was reduced in product manufacture by optimizing the processes, ingredients or packaging as much as possible. The remaining, unavoidable environmental impacts from the production and disposal of the products were sustainably compensated.
Lidl advances in Digital and Vegan

In the UK, Lidl has launched a new feature in its loyalty scheme app aimed at helping customers avoid crowds and easing shopper numbers throughout the day. The app shows a bar chart indicating how busy the shop is during each trading hour of that day and is updated in real time.

Lidl Poland is equipping its stores with Electronic Shelf Labels. The labels are being tested in one store and will soon be rolled out to all 700 stores.

Lidl uses its loyalty app to provide women in Ireland with free menstrual items every month. In this way, the discounter wants to tackle the issue of "Period Poverty."

In Portugal, Lidl has launched its first exclusive certified vegan wine, Indelével Tinto, from the Alentejo region.

Lidl Germany launched a new umbrella brand: Vemondo. The new own brand will combine around 450 items in the vegetarian and vegan segment.

PLMA Live!
Back to Business with "PLMA’s World of Private Label" in December

News anchor Judith Kolenburg provides details on PLMA's "World of Private Label"International Trade Show to be held in person December 14 and 15, 2021 at the RAI Exhibition Centre. Watch video here.

A Change of Pace for Private Label in China

David Zhang, Managing Director at Buyers Council in Beijing, discusses how private label seems to be entering a new phase of growth in the Chinese retail market. Watch video here.

In the stores

Albert Heijn has seen the use of self-scanning and the app triple during 2020.

Carrefour extends its partnership with Deliveroo and rolled out a 30-minute home shopping delivery in Paris. More French cities are to follow shortly.

Delhaize is changing its name to Belhaize in Belgium for one month. The move is aimed at highlighting Belgian products. Throughout May products will be prominently placed on shelves and some packaging will get a temporary Belhaize logo.

Despar Italy launched over 200 new products in 2020 and there was an investment in restyling across all 17 lines and 3,300 products. New launches this year will encompass the themes of sustainability, circular economy and territory. Private label has reached 387 million euros and the 2021 target is to exceed 400 million.

Coop Switzerland has introduced a new own brand called Yolo. The vegan line includes plant-based substitutes for meat, fish and cheese under the motto ‘Just plants – No kiddin'.

Aldi is testing certified natural cosmetics items in selected stores. The test includes body and hair care items and will be offered under Aldi’s private label.

Chinese ecommerce giant JD will open a new distribution centre in the Netherlands. The B2C online retailer will open a site that’s 18,000 square meters big.

Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins announced that first-quarter net profit jumped by two-thirds to 58 million euros. The company plans to increase investment to 700 million euros.

Aldi Nord and Süd have launched a new own brand for chocolate ‘Choco Changer.’ The retailer is the first discounter to work with Tony’s Open Chain that aims to contribute to overcoming modern slavery and illegal child labour in the cocoa industry by adhering to specific procurement principles.

Marks & Spencer is taking the next step in modernising its supply chain by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve availability while cutting food waste. The technology can automatically account for shelf space, promotions and adjustments based on weather forecasting.

Italian retail group Selex is aiming to reduce the quantity of packaging in its private label brands through the use of recycled materials by the end of 2022. The aim is to achieve a 9% reduction in plastic usage, while 30% of virgin plastic will be replaced by recycled plastic.

Morrisons has become the first UK supermarket to launch an own-brand range of shampoo and conditioner bars. The products can last up to thirty washes, they are vegan, 100 per cent plastic-free and packaged in fully recyclable cardboard cartons.

Coop has launched a new Swiss chocolate brand, Halba. It replaces the Qualité & Prix brand and the recipe has been revised. The range is set to increase.

Coop in the Netherlands has revamped its own brand packaging design. It has also changed the name from Top! From Coop to Proud from Coop. Coop customers contributed ideas about the new design of the own brands.

X5, Russia’s largest food retailer, has launched large-scale implementation of the Green Dot labelling system for monitoring product freshness in its Perekrestok supermarket chain. The Green Dot label contains smart sensors that let customers and employees see the freshness of a particular item in real-time and receive accurate information about its actual remaining shelf life.

Auchan plans to increase its organic private label offer with nearly one hundred new items in France.

Plus wants to double the turnover and growth of the organic private label in the next three years. To this end, Plus is introducing the new own brand Biologisch Plus [Organic Plus] and is also extending the organic range significantly.

Intermarché has reworked its price entry own brand, Top Budget. The project included new recipes with fewer controversial additives, discontinuation of some items and a global makeover of packaging.

Delhaize announced that all 763 stores in Belgium are CO2 neutral now.

Covirán plans to finalize the reformulation process of almost 200 private label products to reduce their sugar, salt and saturated fat content and help prevent diseases such as overweight and obesity at an early age, by this year.

All Dutch Aldi stores will undergo a large-scale renovation in the coming months. Appearance, layout and assortment will be reworked and a shelf plan will be implemented.

Market research
Changed Shopping Habits

New research from YouGov’s “International FMCG report 2021: Consumer goods in a Crisis” provides an analysis of consumers’ attitudes to fast-moving goods across 17 global markets. The report is based on more than 18,000 interviews and explores how the COVID-19 crisis has affected the FMCG/CPG sector worldwide across a range of categories.

One of the findings is that between 44% and 83% of consumers across all markets agree their shopping habits have changed as a result of the pandemic. With regard to product categories that have gained importance, frozen foods stand out. Three in ten global consumers say they’ve been buying more frozen foods than before the pandemic. Cosmetics have struggled, with a third (32%) of consumers saying they are buying these items less than before. Over half (54%) of consumers intend to buy more sustainable products once the pandemic subsides.
Ready-to-Eat is Popular in Spain

Spanish retail and manufacturer association Aecoc has found in its latest Shopperview barometer that convenience is a great trend in food consumption. Currently 10% of the population order meals at home to complete their weekly menu, while 60% take their prepared food to work, compared to 37% who did so last June.

The number of consumers of ready to eat has doubled since the beginning of the health crisis, going from 9.1% in April 2020 to 18.2% last February.

A report by Kantar Spain found that 47.5% of those surveyed order food at home regularly. Of these, half place orders at least once a week, and 31% spend more than before the crisis on this type of service.

Pandemic will Trigger Innovation

A new global survey by Accenture has found that changes in people’s lifestyle caused by the pandemic are likely to bring a wave of innovation by retailers and manufacturers.

Retailers have been quick to adapt to new needs and have implemented technology solutions such as AI to enhance online shopping. Manufacturers have shown agility and have shifted production lines to  make hand sanitizers, for example.

95% of the respondents of the survey said they made at least one change to their lifestyle that they expect will be permanent. Working from home, changing travel patterns and a growing desire to shop locally are some of the changes in consumer behaviour that might be long-term.

New Lunch & Learn Online Programme

PLMA International Council announces a new interactive online programme, called Lunch & Learn. The programme will launch on 10 & 17 June with two workshops devoted to private label partnership.

In the online 75 minutes lunchtime meetings, participants will get a comprehensive insight in strategic communications and value added negotiations to build successful partnerships in private label.

The sessions will be led by Blueprint Europe strategic consulting and are free for PLMA members, retailers and wholesalers.