PLMA Live! EU Interview: The Battle of Front-of-Pack Labels

From Nutri-Score to Eco-Score, front-of-pack labelling programs serve as nutritional and environmental guides for consumers. How can private label suppliers best prepare for the requirements? To find out, speaks with Sebastiaan Schreijen, senior analyst; and Cyrille Filott, global strategist for consumer foods, at international financial services provider Rabobank.

PLMA Live! EU News Desk: The New Product Expo at PLMA's “World of Private Label”

The New Product Expo is one of the highlights of PLMA’s “World of Private Label” international trade show. This is where hundreds of new and innovative products are showcased. News anchor Judith Kolenburg gives us a sneak peek at some of the trends you’ll see at this year’s New Product Expo. Plus, Pascal Kuipers highlights new ways to cater to sustainable shoppers, including use of the Eco-Score front-of-pack label. Available in English only.

Private Label Executive Education

PLMA’s annual Executive Education Programme, in conjunction with Nyenrode University, was held 26-27 October. Now in its 20th year, it continues to provide professional education to all players in the private label business. The curriculum is a blend of new and familiar topics, and teachers are drawn from university ranks as well as from all facets of industry. It was the second time the session was provided online.

The programme was attended by retailers and manufacturers from over 30 countries. It began with a session on how to develop a strong private label strategy, a simple objective but one that is a necessity for any retailer who seeks to build or enhance their own brand programme.

Another course gave students insights into the choices companies need to make in the level and direction of product innovation in order to turn their private labels into powerhouse brands. There was also a lively panel discussion among retailers and manufacturers on a wide range of today’s challenges -- including cost and price inflation and supply chain constraints -- and how a crisis can actually bring about the best innovations. The panel concluded that the strongest partnerships are the ones that evolve from transactional to cross-company collaborative relationships.

In addition, students learned about the challenges and opportunities brought about by the rise of e-commerce, which is bringing with it a host of new players, different marketing rules and new approaches to profit calculation.

A course on generational marketing revealed how consumers’ preferences and behavior are influenced by what they have experienced in their past. Tapping into that personal history is a key for any marketer in the grocery space. An interactive scenario planning workshop demonstrated how important long-term thinking is when dealing with uncertainties and preparing for the future.

The Private Label Event of the Year

Manufacturers and retailers are gearing up for PLMA’s “World of Private Label” International Trade Show to be held on 14 and 15 December at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam.

More than 1800 exhibitors will be present. Retailers from 80 countries have signed up and can't wait to discover new products that will enhance their private label programmes.

A.S. Watson, Action, Albert Heijn, Aldi, Alfa Beta Vassilopoulos, Auchan, Axfood, Billa, Carrefour, Colruyt, Coop, Costco, Dagrofa, Dia, Rossmann, Leclerc, Edeka, Etos, Eurospin, Carrefour, Hema, Jeronimo Martins, Jumbo, Kesko, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Maxima, MD, Mercadona, Metro, Musgrave, Norma, Penny Markt, Real, Rema, Rewe, Salling group, Sligro, Sonae, Spar, Unil, United Nordic, Waitrose, Walgreens, Morrisons and X5 are among the many retailers that have registered to attend the show.

“Retailers are eager to get inspired and meet suppliers again in person. Seeing, tasting, smelling and feeling the new products is exactly what happens on a trade show floor” says PLMA President Peggy Davies. “All players, including the new quick commerce companies, should attend this unique global private label trade show.”

Registration to attend the show is open via this link.

Five Favorite Italian Retailers

Dunnhumby’s retail preference index in Italy for 2021 revealed that chains Esselunga, Conad, Coop, Eurospin and Lidl were consumers’ preferred supermarkets.

Esselunga won in four values -- product variety, shopping experience, quality and relationship with the customer. In price perception, it was third after discounters Eurospin and Lidl.

Given the growth of e-commerce, Dunnhumby found that customers want quick and easy shopping, which translates into a flawless website with an effective search function, and a fast and hassle-free checkout.
Albert Heijn introduces Premium subscription programme

Dutch retail leader Albert Heijn has introduced a new omnichannel loyalty programme called My Albert Heijn Premium. For a fee of 12€ per year, customers get extra benefits in store and online. Participants receive a 10 percent discount on AH’s organic range, and they can select 10 instead of 5 personal Bonus Box offers per week on There is also a 10% discount on Albert Heijn's delivery bundles. According to the company, it is a first for the Dutch market and participants can save up to more than €100.

Marionnaud launches customable private label cosmetic

French cosmetics and perfumery specialist retailer Marionnaud has launched a private label offering called Skin Shades in selected stores in Italy. In order to respond to consumers’ demand for personalised products, the retailer teamed up with technology company Trigenex. The latter developed AI technology which analyzes customers’ skin type via a small lipstick-sized scanner run on parts of their face and neck. In combination with personal preferences with regard to coverage, moisture level, texture and finish, the system develops a personalised foundation formulation within seconds. Then, a compact blending machine in the stores, which has all the individual ingredients, creates the final product from scratch in less than four minutes.

In addition to the benefits of quickly providing an individual and unique product for its customers, the system also reduces waste, energy consumption and carbon footprint during shipments. Marionnaud plans to roll out Skin Shades to its stores in France later this year and to other markets in 2022.
Retailers turning to till-free stores

Intermarché is testing a smart shopping basket in one of its Relais stores in Paris. The basket was developed by French start-up Mo-Ka. When customers place items in the basket, cameras integrated in the handle automatically capture their image. The product is then identified by recognition algorithms thanks to a system combining image processing and artificial intelligence. Servers in the store communicate with the baskets through Wi-Fi and convert the images into a list of items. At the end of the shopping trip, customers can either automatically pay through Mo-Ka’s app or use the regular self-service or manual checkout.

In London, Tesco opened a checkout-free store called Tesco GetGo. The technology has been developed in partnership with Trigo. Customers access the store by scanning a QR code in the Tesco app. In the store, a series of cameras and weight-sensors track the shoppers’ movements and purchases. No basket or cart is needed, the customer can bag his items while shopping and simply walk out of the store when he is done. Within minutes, the receipt will pop up in the app and payment is deducted from the associated account.

German grocers Rewe, Aldi and Portuguese Sonae are among a number of other retailers that have opened scanning-free and cashier-free stores lately. While most are still in a test phase, it is clear that providing a frictionless shopping experience is high on the agenda of leading retailers across Europe.

Rossmann joins purchasing cooperation RTG

German retailer Rossmann is the first drugstore chain to become a member of the grocery retail organisation RTG Retail Trade Group. The group bundles the purchasing for merchandise, technical needs, eCommerce technologies and supply chain management of its members, among other tasks.

Rossmann is the tenth retailer to join the cooperation. Other members are German retail companies Real, Metro Germany, Globus, Bartels-Langness, Bünting, Netto ApS, Tegut, Klaas & Kock and Georg Jos. Cheese. RTG’s sales are estimated at 27 billion euros; after Rossmann joins, sales will grow to 33 billion euros.

Like other drugstore chains in Germany, Rossmann offers a steadily growing range of food products, including an extensive selection of organic items under its own brand EnerBio. The retailer expects to benefit from RTG’s joint purchasing and know-how, especially in groceries, in which it sees a lot of market potential. It has asked Germany’s Federal Cartel Office to assess the move under the antitrust law.

Wide-ranging plastic packaging ban for fruit & vegetables set in France

In a bid to reduce plastic waste, France will ban plastic packaging for nearly all fruit and vegetables beginning in January 2022. Implementing a February 2020 law, the government released a list of about 30 fruits and vegetables that have to be sold without plastic packaging. The list includes zucchinis, eggplants, tomatoes, and cucumbers, as well as apples, oranges and pears.

France’s government estimates 37% of all fruits and vegetables sold in the country have plastic packaging and it expects the measure will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic packaged items per year.

Cut fruits and a limited number of delicate fruits and vegetables -- such as peaches and red fruits -- can still be sold with plastic packaging but that will be phased out by end June 2026.