PLMA Plans in-person Shows in Chicago and Amsterdam

PLMA’s Annual Private Label Trade Show, which will be held Nov. 14 to 16 in Chicago, will be an in-person event. And PLMA’s “World of Private Label” International Show, scheduled for Dec. 14 and 15 at the RAI convention center in Amsterdam, will also be an in-person event.

Government restrictions from the pandemic resulted in both shows going online in 2020. In December of 2020, the International show was held online, while PLMA hosted Private Label Week the first week of February 2021. The U.S. show is still open for business until the end of the month.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker has expressed confidence that live trade shows, with some restrictions, could happen as early as this summer. The RAI in Amsterdam also has live events planned for the fall. PLMA is working on plans to make the shows as safe as possible for all and to follow all government regulations.


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.

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.
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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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%.

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.