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.

Chicago's Rosemont Convention Center to Resume Hosting Shows in July


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May 4, 2021, 2:44PM

Rosemont, Ill., May 4, 2021 — The Donald E. Stephens Convention and Conference Center in Rosemont announced today that they will resume hosting trade shows and public events in July of this year. The announcement follows news that the Auto Show will return to Chicago this summer.

“The Stephens Convention Center is a major economic engine not only for our community but for the State of Illinois,” said Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens. “This one facility is responsible for $800 million in annual economic impact through everything from hotel stays and restaurant receipts to retail and even gasoline sales.”

The Donald E. Stephens Convention and Conference Center is among the largest such facilities in the United States. Staff and management are prepared to reopen with the health and safety of attendees at the top of mind. The Convention Center will be accredited by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) by the time shows resume. Considered the gold standard in the industry, GBAC accreditation is given to facilities that have established certain cleaning and disinfecting protocols that are carried out by highly trained professionals.

“The health and safety of our attendees is our highest priority,” said Convention Center Executive Director Chris Stephens. “We closely track and follow all best practices and guidance from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health.”

Approximately 30 trade shows and public events are tentatively scheduled between July and the end of the year. With close to 1 million square feet available for shows and events, there is ample space for a limited return to events.

Before the pandemic, the Donald E. Stephens Convention and Conference Center hosted around 70 trade shows and 250 meetings and social events per year. Those shows historically bring as many as 1.5 million people to the region.

“We’re excited to take another step towards normal,” said Mayor Brad Stephens. “It’s good for Rosemont and it’s good for Illinois.”

Clay Dockery of Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA to serve second term as PLMA board chair

NEW YORK, NY—On March 18, during the Private Label Manufacturers Association's annual meeting for 2021, Clay Dockery, Vice President Corporate Brands, Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, was re-elected to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of PLMA. In addition, Doug Bausch, Vice President Sales and Marketing, LNK International, Inc., was elected to the position of First Vice Chairman, and Kelly McGolrick, Vice President Private Label Sales Development, Lassonde Pappas was elected to serve as Second Vice Chair. '

Five individuals were elected to the Board of Directors for three-year terms from 2021-2024. They are: Ron Hodges, McCain Foods; Troy Pelak, Perrigo Company; Alex Chimens, Jel-Sert Company; Josh Sowell, SunTree Snack Foods, LLC; and Mark Cheney, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. Elected to fill a vacancy on the board extending until 2023 was Todd Graven of Huhtamaki.

Continuing members of the PLMA Board of Directors include: Howard Kirschenbaum, Trinity Plastics; Lou DeMent, Giovanni Food Co.; Mark Coleman, Catania Spagna Corp.; Darin Ciavarella, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate; Marc Robinson, Global Tissue Group; Kristal Sevcik, AmeriQual Group, LLC; Mark Mayer, Hormel Foods; Dean Erstad, Seneca Foods Corporation; Ashley Quaintance, TreeHouse Foods; Tim Marvin, Mizkan Americas, Inc.; Chris Anderson, Edgewell Personal Care; and Gil Wilson, T. Marzetti Company. 

Jerry McGill, Roehl Corporation, continues to serve on the Board representing PLMA member brokers, while Maria Dubuc, Marketing By Design, represents PLMA member suppliers. Former Chairman, Lisa Manzoline, Reynolds Consumer Products, continues to serve ex-officio as a member of the board.

Private Label Maintains Strong Position Across Europe

Retailer brands sustained their market share position above 30% in all but two of the eighteen European countries surveyed by Nielsen in 2020 for PLMA’s 2021 International Private Label Yearbook. Nearly half of the countries reached market shares above 40%, whereas the majority showed a positive market penetration.

According to Nielsen’s data, Fresh & Frozen, Dairy and Health & Beauty are the top 3 product categories registering highest growth among the 18 countries.

“While taking account of multiple interruptions and ambiguities amidst the pandemic,” commented PLMA President Peggy Davies “the statistics for 2020 are an affirmation of consumers’ continuing trust in retailer brands.”


Store Brands Appeal for U.S. Shoppers Was Unfazed by Effects of the Pandemic in 2020

Click here to view PLMA’s 2021 Private Label Yearbook. Summary and topline reports for store brands sales and market share by channel and region are based on NielsenIQ scan data for the 52 weeks ending 12/26/21.

NEW YORK—As the pandemic brought unparalleled volatility to U.S. grocery purchasing in 2020, consumers continued to favor store brands for about one of every four purchases across all major food and nonfood categories based on the industry’s latest annual sales data, says the Private Label Manufacturers Association.

According to PLMA’s 2021 Private Label Yearbook, retailers’ private brands accounted for 23.4% of all units sold last year in NielsenIQ’s calculation of all outlets combined, which includes total U.S. supermarkets, mass, club, and dollar channels, as   well as drug chains. About one out of every five dollars expended by shoppers in all outlets, or 19.5%, was for the retailer’s store brand. Both figures were unchanged from the market shares reported for the full year prior to the pandemic. The year 2020 saw COVID-related retail impacts that ranged from panic buying early on to the near doubling of online purchases over 2019 sales. Yet store brands sales saw an increase of +12% for the year, keeping pace with national brands and maintaining market share, despite a number of supply chain interruptions affecting high demand categories, and a major shift of purchasing from foodservice to grocery channels as consumers everywhere were forced to adjust their lifestyles around remote schooling and work, and many households were confronted with the loss of income or livelihood. 

The year underscored the importance of store brands in the major grocery channels as families learned to cope with the pandemic. Combining socially distanced shopping in stores with online purchases for curbside pickup and home delivery, consumers spent $16.5 billion more (+11.6%) on store brands and $86 billion more (+11.8%) on all brands in the country’s retail stores compared to the year prior. Contributing to the increase was the impact of traditional restaurant and other foodservice dollars that flowed into the grocery space, whether from outright closures of bars and restaurants, restrictions on dining out, cancelled vacations and travel, or the need to substitute in-home for daily commuter and office meals, as well as school lunches. The National Restaurant Association says restaurant and foodservice industry sales fell by $240 billion in 2020 from an expected level of $899 billion and that 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed for business—temporarily or permanently. Diverted foodservice dollars were welcomed by the grocery industry, but they also posed a massive challenge for its distribution systems, as did considerable stocking up by panicked shoppers, particularly in the first quarter of 2020. Such overbuying also contributed to the swelling of last year’s grocery sales total.

“Analysis needs to take these anomalies of the 2020 data into account,” cautioned PLMA president Peggy Davies, “but comparisons to pre-pandemic trends and projections notwithstanding, store brands maintained their well-established position in the marketplace, as retailers and private label manufactures succeeded in supplying the country with critical food and essential non-food products in the face of extreme volatility. The 2020 sales figures bear that out.

”NielsenIQ data show retailers’ store brands surged across all outlets for a record $158.8 billion in private label sales, even as sales for all brands reached a record $816 billion. Private label units also saw an increase of +7.2%, matching the growth of all brands. Private label’s market share for all outlets remained steady at 19.5% of sales volume and 23.4% of all units sold. In the mass channel, consisting of mass merchandisers, club and dollar stores, PLMA calculates store brands sales increased by $8.1 billion (+11.7%) to a total of $77.8 billion, and store brands unit volume was up +8.2%. Both measures outpaced the mass channel overall, where manufacturers brands saw gains of +8.5% in dollars and +4.9% in units. As a result, store brands shares increased to 21.5% (+0.5 percentage points) of total dollar sales and 25.5% (+0.6 percentage points) of all units sold.

In U.S. supermarkets, which for a number of years had only moderate, mostly inflationary sales growth and declining unit volumes, 2020 brought a reversal of trends and store brands factored significantly in the turnaround. Private label sales increased by $8.5 billion to a record $27.3 billion (+13.2%), while units were up +7.1%. Manufacturers brands fared somewhat better however, as the channel overall captured a +16% sales increase to a record $403.6 billion overall in tandem with a unit volume gain of +9.4%. Private label had lower annual shares in the channel as a whole, at 18.1% of dollars (-0.4 percentage points) and 22.3% of units (-0.5 percentage points).

The drug channel fared less well than others, reporting $130 million lower store brands sales (- 1.7%) against a loss of more than -6% unit volume for all brands sold in the channel vs a year ago. National brands sales increased +0.8%—an indication that price inflation may have been a factor as private label market share for units remained unchanged at 15.7%, while dollar share declined -0.3 percentage points to 15.9%.

NielsenIQ’s Kara Sheesley, vice president retail engagement and U.S. industry relations, cited household panel data for 2020 as proof that purchasing private label is ingrained in U.S. consumers’ behavior: “Fully 99% of households told us they bought private label last year.” Of note, the panel research data placed store brands market share for 2020 at 23% of all grocery dollars and 25% of units, by taking account of sales at retailers not counted within the point-of sale scan data universe. The figure includes additional private label sales of approximately $40 billion annually from consumer purchases at leading club, discount retailers and others with extensive private brand programs.

Brian Sharoff Honored at PLMA’s Leadership Conference

The Private Label Manufacturers Association held its annual Leadership Conference virtually last month. The program focused on improving the relationships between suppliers and retailers. It included presentations from Brenda Lord, VP of private brands and quality assurance for CVS Health; Ken Harris of Cadent Consulting Group, and Duncan Wardle, founder of iD8 and innov8. Wardle’s workshop looked at techniques for better business communication.

Harris also moderated a panel discussion with Clay Dockery, vice president of corporate brands, Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA; Troy Pelak, vice president of regional sales for Perrigo; Brenda Lord of CVS Health; and Don Davidson, vice president, strategic sourcing, Albertsons. The panel discussed issues and challenges both manufacturers and retailers faced during the pandemic and how companies worked together to help solve their mutual problems during the crisis.

Peggy Davies, president of PLMA, said during her president’s report that PLMA will unveil a new site in the coming weeks. In other news from the conference, the World of Private Label trade show in December and the Private Label Trade Show in November are both expected to be in-person events. PLMA’s other events this year, including its St. Joseph’s Education Program in June and its annual Washington Conference in October, will be held online.

Clay Dockery of Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA was elected to serve a second term as board chair.

The conference ended with a tribute to former PLMA President Brian Sharoff, with his induction into the Private Label Hall of Fame. Industry veterans, co-workers and friends paid tribute to Brian during an online Hall of Fame ceremony. Brian is the first person inducted into the Hall of Fame as the sole inductee.


PLMA’s “World of Private Label” to take place on 14-15 December in Amsterdam

PLMA has announced that the 2021 “World of Private Label” international trade show, which was originally scheduled for May this year, will now take place on 14-15 December at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam.

“We are very excited to return to holding an in-person trade show in 2021, even if it is later than originally planned”, said Peggy Davies, president of PLMA. “The PLMA team and its partners are fully motivated and eager to welcome the trade back to business in Amsterdam.”

The show’s physical configuration and safety policies are being organised as consistent with all COVID-19 government regulations and protocols: Extra-wide aisles, hygiene toolkits on stands, safe catering and stand design setups, are some of the measures to be expected.

“The show floor will be adapted to the new social distancing rules whilst maximising all available space to provide the best possible in-person experience”, explained Peggy Davies.


Brian Sharoff, PLMA President 1981-2020, inducted into Private Label Hall of Fame

Brian Sharoff

NEW YORK, NY – 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 Partnerships in a Post-COVID World Were Focus of PLMA Virtual Conference, March 18

NEW YORK, NY ―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 


PLMA announces Lunch and Learn

New from PLMA. Lunch and Learn launches online this April with a three-fold path to strategic communication & sustainable partnerships for private brands.

Powered in partnership with leading industry advisors Julien LeBlanc of Blueprint North America and Dan Mack of Mack Elevation, three live and interactive lunchtime meetings have what you need right now to power your professional development, help you future-proof your private brands business, and ensure success for years to come.