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(Troy, Mich.)— Plex Systems today announced results of its sixth annual study, the State of Smart Manufacturing, conducted in collaboration with Hanover Research. 83% of manufacturers say the pandemic has made adopting smart manufacturing technologies and processes a priority. Last year’s survey indicated smart manufacturing was still in early stages of adoption but this year more than 60% of organizations that plan to adopt smart manufacturing intend to begin within the next 12 months. For full results, download the Plex 6th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing Report.


(Omaha, Neb.)—NuTek Food Science has introduced Beyond Himalayan pink salt that combines natural Himalayan pink salt and mineral salt in a single crystal. Beyond Himalayan is sold in retail and foodservice bottles for topical seasoning and in bulk as a 1:1 alternative for common salt in all foods and is a complete solution which means no reformulating.


(Farmingdale, N.Y.)—Pintail Coffee Inc. is introducing two coffee products. Divino is a coffee brand specifically designed for Spanish market and locations.  The coffee features custom blends that originate in Colombia, Mexico and Honduras. Packaging has full Spanish translations and distribution is expanding nationwide. The Superfood product line combines the energy of the coffee beans with the health benefits of added nutrients and organic ingredients. The Superfood Cardio Health Coffee is a Guatemalan coffee infused with caco, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger.  Superfood Energize Health Coffee is a fair-trade medium roast fortified with whole organic nutrients.


(Canton, Mass.)—Boyajian Inc., a specialty food manufacturer specializing in 100% all natural infused olive oils, dipping oils, fine vinegars, pure citrus flavors and extracts,  has received Organic Handler and Processor certification from Bay State Organic Certifiers. The company has introduced NEW infused extra virgin olive oils. The additions include organic garlic, organic basil and organic extra virgin lemon oil.


(Hartsville, S.C.)—Sonoco has introduced EnviroFlex PE recyclable polyethylene flexible packaging.  Designed to meet the needs of a variety of retail products, EnviroFlex PE is eligible to use the How2Recycle Store Drop-Off label, which means it can be dropped off (clean and dry) at local retail stores for recycling with grocery bags. Available in a range of barrier options and capable of incorporating zipper closures, EnviroFlex PE is suitable for a variety of products, including cookies and crackers, confections, dry/dehydrated foods, sweet and savory snacks, pet food and treats, personal care items and more. EnviroFlex PE laminates can be run on both vertical and horizontal form fill and seal machines and are also available as premade pouches.


(Pitt Meadows, British Columbia)—Rhema Health Products Limited has launched a line of plant-based protein solutions for private label. The lineup includes a blend of four plant-based proteins available in chocolate and vanilla flavors and an all-in-one shake (protein plus greens) available in chocolate. All formulas are free of dairy, soy, gluten and are manufactured with all non-GMO ingredients. “We have simplified the development process to help store brands get their products on shelf quickly and efficiently,” says Carmine DiGiovanni, vice president of sales and marketing.


(Dublin, Ireland)—Perrigo Company plc announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase privately-held Ranir Global Holdings LLC in a transaction valued at $750 million on a cash-free, debt-free basis. Ranir is the largest private label oral care company globally, with a portfolio of more than 300 oral care products including power toothbrush heads, power toothbrush handles, whitening strips, manual toothbrushes, floss, dentures and travel kits that it sells into over 50 countries. This transaction advances Perrigo’s transformation to a consumer-focused, self-care company. Perrigo CEO and President Murray S. Kessler commented, “The addition of Ranir to the Perrigo family illustrates a key component of our new strategy, accelerating growth by pursuing adjacent self-care categories.”


The Global Retailer and Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA) has published the new ANSI-accredited Audit Standards, officially known as NSF/ANSI 455 Standards. There are three standards: 455-2 for Dietary Supplements; 455-3 for Cosmetic/Personal Care Products, and 455-4 for OTC Drugs.

 The new standards are aimed at reducing the number of audits and the associated costs of auditing to multiple independent standards as retailers will accept this audit in place of all others. The new standards aim to help manufacturers centralize their efforts in continuous improvement and industry best practices while giving consumers greater confidence in the products they choose.

NSF International and UL as well as several other Certifying Bodies (CBs) are undergoing auditor training by the GRMA to become ANSI-accredited certifiers to these requirements, and are available to perform audits upon request.  

The GRMA retailers are encouraging suppliers to engage in the 455-standards, either with full certification or Phase I/Gap analysis (non-certified) audits to ensure compliance with the new scheme. Approved CBs are prepared to help suppliers adapt to the new standards and be in full compliance when mandated. While each retailer has their own timeline for full implementation, it is anticipated that the standards will be broadly applied and accepted throughout industry during this calendar year. 

 For more information on the GRMA and the standards, visit, or contact Randy Slikkers, CEO of the GRMA at or Alan Perlman, Business Development Director-Consumer Products & Retailer Services for NSF International, at

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

Brian Sharoff inducted into Private Label Hall of Fame

PLMA's longtime president honored in a class of one for 2021

NEW YORK—The Private Label Manufacturers Association announces the induction of longtime PLMA President Brian Sharoff into the Private Label Hall of Fame. Since 2006 the Hall of Fame has recognized more than 70 individuals, including retailers, manufacturers and marketing pioneers from all sectors of the private label industry for their career contributions to the growth and success of retailers’ brands in the U.S. and abroad.

Sharoff, who served as PLMA President since 1981, passed away unexpectedly in May of 2020. His induction on March 18, 2021, marks the first time in its history the Hall of Fame dedicates its entire annual celebration to a single individual.

In the words of Peggy Davies, who succeeded Sharoff as PLMA President: “Over the course of an extraordinary forty years, Brian Sharoff took PLMA from a relatively inconsequential group of fewer than 100 U.S. store brand manufacturers and suppliers to a thriving international trade organization with over 4,000 members on six continents, as well as organizer of two of the largest annual trade events in the world… [Sharoff] became the face of private label worldwide, driving a transformation of retailers’ store brands into a multi-billion-dollar global industry that altered the course of commercial history.”

While merchant names had been associated with their own branded products for hundreds of years, by the mid-twentieth century, mass media advertising in the U.S. and elsewhere had given rise to national brands that dominated the marketplace. The brief appearance of unbranded “generic” products in the 1970s had given many retailers a taste of private label’s potential, but consumers’ perception of the products’ quality was largely negative.

A son of Brooklyn shopkeepers, Brian was in his late 30s when he was recruited to lead a fledgling Private Label Manufacturers Association as president following three terms in the New York State legislature representing his Brooklyn neighbors, and then serving as executive vice president of a metropolitan merchant association for major department stores in New York City. Sharoff saw an opportunity to change the dynamics of private label by emphasizing two imperatives: higher quality and the retailers’ ownership of their brands. “If you use the word private label,” he observed, “consumers and the media would continue to ask, who makes it? But the term ‘store brands’ shifted the focus away from the manufacturer to the retailer.”

Sharoff, says Davies, “saw enormous potential for store brands evolution reaching far beyond lower-price alternatives or even mere equivalents to national brands. But he also brought to the industry unique mastery of the powers of information, communication, focus, and commitment to the buyer-seller relationships essential to building the bridges between what is and what could be.”

The Private Label Hall of Fame is sponsored jointly by PLMA and Store Brands magazine. The March 2021 issue of Store Brands includes a special feature dedicated to Sharoff and his induction to the Hall of Fame.


Private Label Week digital experience is live online through April

Retailers and pre-registered visitors enjoy all-access at through 4/30

NEW YORK—An entirely new approach to the virtual trade show experience, PLMA Live! Presents Private Label Week was premiered by PLMA February 1, 2021 for U.S. retailers and private label suppliers. A total of more than 800 exhibiting companies and nearly 1,500 retail buyers and visitors signed up to participate in a five-day online event that rolled out daily openings for four virtual show floors, each featuring its own group of food or nonfood categories.

The digital category trade shows are unprecedented, unique, and they continue to be available to retailers and pre-registered visitors through April 30, 2021. Their foundation, a proprietary platform that was developed and launched by PLMA exclusively for its members and their retailing customers. It combines secure, live video interaction, chat and information sharing between retailers and exhibitors—similar to Zoom or Microsoft Teams—with five days of original on-demand video programming (click link to view) featuring interviews, news and insights, product trends and private label strategies from leading retailers and industry experts.

“Retail buyers and executives, for a three-month period, are able to discover hundreds and hundreds of suppliers offering capabilities and expertise they are seeking to expand and enhance their own brands programs,” according to PLMA president Peggy Davies. “Exhibitors may be contacted directly online to schedule live face-to-face meeting and exchange information with the retailers about the products they make.”

Latest data industry data show retailers’ emphasis on store brands product development, innovation and expansion to new categories throughout the store are growing private label sales, and the products are increasingly popular with today’s shoppers. NielsenIQ reports private label sales gained +11.6% in 2020, totaling almost $159 billion, and market share in units exceeded 23% even as the pandemic brought extreme shifts in consumer behavior and purchasing across all major distribution channels.

Retailers and pre-registered visitors can access the entire PLMA trade show platform from any location or time zone 24/7 at It requires only a computer running the Google Chrome browser. There are no apps, extensions or software to install.

There are four virtual show floors available for home and household products, beverages and center store foods, health & beauty products and OTC pharmaceuticals, and fresh, frozen and refrigerated foods.


For additional information about PLMALive! presents Private Label Week or to schedule an interview with PLMA President Peggy Davies, contact PLMA’s press representative at (212) 972-3131 Ext 1224, or email

Leadership Conference offered deep dive into strategic partnerships

Retailer-supplier partnerships in a post-COVID world were focus for top speakers and industry panel

NEW YORK—With new market dynamics driving retailers and suppliers to innovate, reinvent, and forge more strategic relationships, PLMA’s Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference presented an online program of industry speakers and interactive sessions that addressed strategic imperatives and explored best practices for private label partnerships as the U.S. economy, retailers and manufacturers strive toward equilibrium in 2021.

Ken Harris, Managing Partner, Cadent Consulting Group opened a dialogue on the current health of private label partnerships, citing data that documented store brands importance to retailer profitability in a year marked by extraordinary challenges. Brenda Lord, Vice President, Private Brands & Quality Assurance, CVS Health, and store brands provide a retailer’s perspective on the present and future role of private brands and the private label partnership.

Afterwards, Ken Harris led an industry panel discussion featuring Lord, along with Don Davidson, Vice President, Strategic Sourcing for Albertsons Companies, Troy Pelak, Vice President Regional Sales for Perrigo Company, and Clay Dockery, Vice President - Corporate Brands, Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA.

PLMA’s Annual Meeting provided members and guests with important information on the state of the association and plans for its future. Following a report by PLMA President Peggy Davies, members voted to elect their Executive Committee leadership, as well as new members to the PLMA Board of Directors.

In the afternoon, Duncan Wardle, the former Vice President of Innovation and Creativity for The Walt Disney Company, led participants in interactive group sessions to show how questioning and imagination become tools that break down the barriers to problem solving. The program concluded with a special celebration to honor the induction of PLMA’s late President Brian Sharoff into the Private Label Hall of Fame, which is sponsored jointly by PLMA and Store Brands magazine.

For forty years, PLMA’s Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference has provided executives from manufacturing and retailing companies opportunities to come together with leading experts, colleagues, and industry peers to explore strategies that support the growth of store brands.

For information on future dates and registration for upcoming conferences, email



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