CHICAGO — Sriracha ketchup, tandoori-style seasoning and pecan pie flavored coffee were among dozens of new store brand innovations honored at the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s annual trade show, held Nov. 13-15 in Chicago.
Featuring tens of thousands of products, including shelf-stable, fresh, frozen and refrigerated food and beverage products, the annual show underscores the dynamic growth of the private label category. Sales of U.S. store brands reached $118.4 billion in 2015, which was an all-time record and an increase of $2.2 billion over the prior year, according to the P.L.M.A. In the past two years, annual sales of store brands are up 5% in major retail channels.
This year’s show featured an all-time record total of 2,820 exhibit booths from 1,409 companies and drew more than 10,500 industry professionals.
Presented at the show, the P.L.M.A. Salute to Excellence Awards recognizes new store brand products that offer exceptional quality and value to consumers. This year’s winners ranged from national and regional grocery chains to wholesalers to deep discount and convenience stores.
More than 500 product nominations were submitted and evaluated by a panel of judges that included industry professionals and consumers. Many of the winning products represent a shift in eating habits uncovered in a recent report from the P.L.M.A. The study revealed millennials are leading the charge in a move toward foods perceived as fresh and healthy, signaling a significant opportunity for the supermarket’s deli, dairy and bakery departments.
“Store brands remain the retailer’s most potent weapon in developing strategies for this age group,” said Brian Sharoff, president of the P.L.M.A. “It offers flexibility and opportunities to be creative with product assortment and concept without waiting for national brands. But it requires an understanding of what this age group likes and will buy.”