Will Europeans Ever Shop the Same?

International ReportWill Europeans ever shop the same?
Are consumers buying more private label?
Which product attributes are highly valued?
Is online grocery shopping going to last?
PLMA has commissioned a survey of more than 50 questions among 6,500 consumers across 8 European countries. The report of the results, PLMA’s 2022 International Consumer Study “Will Europeans Ever Shop the Same – Assessing consumers’ post-pandemic behaviour”, is now available. Please contact membership@plma.nl

The Industry Regathered at PLMA’s “World of Private Label”

The world’s largest private label exhibition PLMA’s “World of Private Label” International Trade Show that took place on 31 May and 1 June at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam attracted more than 15,000 buyers and visitors from 120 countries as well as some 2,500 exhibitors.

The turnout confirmed the importance of Connect. Source. Grow., which was the theme of the show. Back in full force, the buzz of business talks, the shaking hands, the quest for innovation and new products and strengthening of relationships was widely seen. “We are proud to support the industry with the platform for sourcing and intelligence,” said Peggy Davies, president of PLMA.

Global Grocery E-Commerce Grows

The annual Omnichannel report from Kantar reveals that online grocery sales grew more than 15% in 2021, in a global grocery market, which grew 2.1%. The total market growth of 2.1% is in line with the average pre-pandemic growth, and means the market held on to the double-digit growth gains it made in the 2020 phase of the pandemic.

The Western Europe market declined 0.2% as purchase patterns began to normalise with fewer lockdowns.

Supermarkets/hypermarkets remain the dominant channel for FMCG sales globally, however with growth of just 0.1% its share of sales fell to 51.4%, from 52.4% in 2020 and 53.1% in 2019.

E-commerce now accounts for a 7.2% share of global grocery spend. The growth is driven by Asia, which comprises 45% of all online FMCG sales; almost double that of the U.S.’s (4.8%) or Western Europe’s (6.9%) contribution to the overall share.

Coop Italia to Massively Build Out Own Brand Offer

Italian market leader Coop Italia is revolutionizing its private label assortment by expanding it with over 5,000 items within the next two years. The aim is to double Coop’s own brand market share in this period from 3 billion euros to a value of 6 billion euros. It is the largest ever own brand repositioning in the country.

To secure new products, the retailer is expanding its supplier base with an additional 250 private label manufacturers, eighty percent of whom are Italian SMEs. Initially, breakfast products were launched, next are soft drinks, pasta and other product categories with a special emphasis on gluten-free, free-from and organics.

Coop says it is rolling out this operation to keep consumption afloat without putting a strain on the budget of Italians. At the same time, the project forms the basis of the retailer’s future strategy towards a convenient, innovative and affordable offer that responds to the needs of consumers.

More Quick E-Commerce Players Jump into Private Label

Fast grocery deliverer Gorillas has announced the launch of its first four private label lines in eleven product categories. It will offer the new own brands in its key markets of Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK.

The new lines are brought to the market under the names of “Gorillas Daily”, for everyday products at entry-level prices, for example spreads, cheeses and cold cuts; “Gorillas Premium”, for high-quality products such as fresh pasta and sweet and savoury snacks; “Hot Damn”, for coffee, coffee grounds, recyclable pods, and oat drinks; and “start-up beer” for craft beers, a Bavarian light beer and a pale ale.

The products were developed on the basis of customer analysis and will offer high quality for a fair price. Gorillas emphasizes sustainability with its private label, as all products are made by companies that share its commitment to sustainability and transparency. On the occasion of the launch, CEO Kağan Sümer said the new private label is a central component of the company’s profitability strategy and should open up additional sources of income.

In the meantime, competitor quick e-commerce provider Flink is expanding its private label range. Under the name of “Flink’s Finest”, the company’s premium umbrella brand has welcomed the first fresh products, sliced and grated vegan cheese alternatives, fruit spreads and soups, including organics. The company emphasizes that the focus of the private label is on high quality products and ecological details. More additions are to follow soon.

The Flink’s Finest products are sourced by the company itself, independent from its food retail partner Rewe. Flink also carries Rewe’s own brands -- Rewe Beste Wahl and Rewe Bio -- in its range. Elsewhere, Flink just acquired French competitor Cajoo and therewith becomes Carrefour’s exclusive commercial partner in the country.

Online Grocer Rohlik Expands

Czech-based online food delivery company Rohlik is on a European expansion path. In addition to its existing markets in the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary, it launched in Germany last year under the name of Knuspr.de in Munich and Frankfurt and is expanding to more cities there.

Now the retailer is arriving in Spain under the Sezamo brand, starting in the Madrid metropolitan area and it will set up a technological hub in Barcelona. Rohlik plans to invest more than 50 million euros in its first years in Spain. Initially, the company will offer over 8,000 SKUs, including fresh. It offers home delivery in less than three hours.

The e-grocer has benefitted from the faster shift to online shopping during the pandemic and says that it has not seen a post-pandemic slowdown in growth. Rohlik posted a 53% year-on-year rise in net revenue to 490 million euros in the past year ending in April, with more than 1 million customers. Next on the company’s expansion agenda are Italy and Romania.

Price War in the UK

To tackle the cost-of-living crisis, major retailers in the UK have recently announced massive price cuts and investments in own brand value ranges. Asda is putting £73m in dropping and locking the prices of more than a hundred products. In addition, it invested £45m in developing a new private label budget range called Just Essentials by Asda. Morrisons launched one of the biggest price cuts of the company with the reduction of prices of over five hundred items.

The cuts include part of its entry-level own brand products under the Morrisons Savers, Morrisons Wonky and Morrisons Essentials label. In addition, it introduced a new price comparison mechanism to convince consumers to switch from brands to private label.

Health and beauty retailer Superdrug is freezing the prices of over one hundred everyday essentials in the personal care, beauty, and healthcare categories for at least one year. Upmarket grocer Marks & Spencer is investing heavily in its value range Remarksable, it lowered prices for everyday staples such as milk, pasta, bread and bananas.

To qualify as Re-Marks-able value, each featured product has been price benchmarked against key competitors and must also uphold M&S’ quality point of difference. It also launched a Family Dine In offer with regularly changing menus spanning a range of global-inspired cuisines. Finally, M&S introduced Bigger Pack Better Value choices for customers with on average a 10% saving across fridge essentials and cupboard family favorites.


Casino Converts 25% of its Hypermarkets

Casino has been transforming its loss-making hypermarket network. Ten years ago, it had 125 Géant Casino stores in France. A few months ago, only eighty stores remained and in the coming weeks, twenty of these are to switch and become Casino supermarkets.

For years, the retailer has been working on its hypermarkets, including disposals,  
reductions in surface area, or transfers. The chain has seen a decline in its hypermarket business and says it will focus more on convenience and e-commerce formats.


Goodbye Liquids, Hello Solids in Health and Beauty

Solid products are on the rise in the health and beauty market. Products include soap, shampoo, facial cleaners, conditioners, make-up removers and more. In response to growing consumers’ concern with sustainability and naturalness, more and more retailers are offering solid alternatives to liquid products.

Solid products have various advantages. First, they contain no water, are zero waste and replace plastic bottles and are, thus, a perfect fit for a more responsible beauty routine. In addition, they respond to the need of consumers for more natural and authentic products, and they are often vegan. Solid products are also practical, their fixed shape make them easy to take with you on-the-go or while travelling.

Carrefour recently launched its own range of solid products under the Carrefour Soft Green private label in Belgium. The range includes shampoos, soap and deodorants. One shampoo bar can be used for fifty to one hundred washes, the equivalent of two classic plastic bottles of liquid shampoo. The deodorants come in 100% recyclable packaging.

In France, Monoprix has developed a private label range of organic solid personal care products as part of wider efforts to expand its natural and responsible beauty offerings. Under the own brand BIO, the range features toothpaste, soaps, deodorants and shampoo. All products are Ecocert certified and carry the CosmeBio label, made with at least 98% ingredients of natural origin. In addition, the items are eco-packed in paper, cardboard or metal boxes, and are made in France.

While the market for solid products is still small, product ranges are rising, and with more bars on the shelf, visibility increases and sales of ‘Green beauty’ is expected to grow.


Pre-Trade Show Seminar Programme Announced

Prior to PLMA’s “World of Private Label international trade show, which will be held from 31 May-1 June at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam, there will be a special seminar programme on Monday 30 May from 14h–16h at the RAI’s Forum room.

Nielsen will give an overview of the latest private label, country-by-country market share data and trends. McKinsey will present new insights and perspectives that will likely shape European grocery retail in 2022 and beyond from its recent ‘State of Grocery Europe: Navigating the Market Headwinds’ report. The winners of PLMA’s Salute to Excellence awards will be announced and there will be a presentation of the findings of PLMA’s new international consumer survey ‘Will Europeans ever shop the same: assessing consumers’ post-pandemic behaviour’.