Industry and Government News
Walmart Debuts First Private Brand Analog Insulin

Walmart has introduced the first private brand analog insulin product, which, according to the company, is a first in diabetes care, and will provide a significant cost savings. The product is called ReliOn NovoLog, and it is sold under Walmart’s private label brand ReliOn.

ReliOn NovoLog will also provide customers with analog insulin vials and FlexPens with savings between 58% to 75% off the price of branded analog insulin products.   The prices are based on out-of-pocket costs that patients pay for insulin without a prescription drug insurance. ReliOn NovoLog Insulin (insulin aspart), manufactured by Novo Nordisk, is now available in Walmart pharmacies and will begin being sold at Sam’s Club pharmacies in mid-July across the United States.

According to the Center for Disease Control, over 34 million Americans, or 10% of the population, have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 88 million are classified as prediabetic.
Watch Jim Hertel’s exclusive presentation of “The Retail Landscape"

Jim Hertel, Senior Vice President of Inmar Intelligence, spoke last month at PLMA's Executive Education virtual event last month about "The Retail Landscape: Turbulent Times Mandate a Transformation.”  Click here to view a highlight of the presentation. The full 30-minute presentation is exclusively for PLMA's members. Login for full access to the presentation, which is posted under the Executive Education and Training section of: members.plma.comTo join PLMA click here

Amazon Private Labels Face congressional scrutiny

A new bill introduced in Congress could result in dramatic changes to Amazon’s private brands program. The bill is called the “Ending Platform Monopolies Act.” It is one of five bills Congress has introduced targeting Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple.

If the bipartisan bill becomes law, Amazon may have to split in two or shed their private label products, according to published reports. The bill could make Amazon separate into two websites, one for its third-party marketplace and a second devoted to its 185,000 private brand products.

If approved, and if Amazon does not create this separation, the company could be asked to remove its private label products altogether. The bill could also impact Amazon’s Alexa, Fire, Ring, and Kindle divisions as well.

Presently the Amazon bill, as well as the other 4 bills, are being reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee.

Target Plans to Strengthen Store Brand Sustainability Efforts

Target Corp. has announced a far-reaching sustainability strategy for both its private label products and for the company “puts its business to use to positively impact both people and the planet.”

Called “Target Forward,” the plan will focus on designing and elevating sustainable brands and discover innovations to eliminate waste over the next two decades.

According to the company, Target plans to have 100% of its private-brand products “designed for a circular future” by 2040. This means Target will focus on eliminating waste, using more regenerative and recycled materials, and sourcing responsibly.

The hope is that Target Forward creates products that are durable and that can be easily repaired or recycled.
Specialty Food Sales Reach $170 billion in 2020

 Specialty food sales exceeded $170 billion dollars in 2020, according to the Specialty Foods Association (SFA). That represents a growth of 19.4% over 2019 sales. The SFA also reported specialty food retail sales grew 24% over the past two years.

Products used for baking and cooking at home were especially popular. Baking mixes, pasta, sauces, frozen and refrigerated foods, meat, poultry, and seafood showed the largest sales growth. Plant-based cheese, desserts, chips, pretzels, and snacks were also popular specialty categories.

Some other products showing growth included pasta and pizza sauces, seasonings, frozen fruit and vegetables, and plant-based meat alternatives, among others.
NielsenIQ Identifies Fast-Growing Categories

NielsenIQ has named the products and categories whose sales might continue to grow beyond the pandemic.
The company studied millions of brick-and-mortar and online shopping trips over 14 four-week periods during the pandemic. It found that multipurpose cleaners and bathroom cleaners showed the most consistent sale increases, with sales up 32% and 29%, respectively. 

Other categories that continued to have steady sales included seafood, plant-based meat alternatives, fresh herbs, and marinades. Products for eating breakfast at home also showed consistent strength of sales. Breakfast foods rose 28% and coffee climbed 27% for the 14 weeks ending April 13.

In non-food, beauty products had online orders increase for the categories of nail grooming (up 144%) and hair removal (up 158%). However, cosmetics and fragrances showed declining sales, according to NielsenIQ.
Kroger launches 253 new store brand products

Kroger has launched 253 new private label products during the first quarter of the year. The increase in private brands is a continuation of its “leading with fresh” program as well as products for summer cooking.

During an earnings call announcing first quarter results, Kroger said its internal research found that consumers are still enjoying cooking at home as much as, or even more, than during the pandemic. Its expansion of fresh private label and cooking products, especially for the summer months, are hoping to meet this demand.

Kroger has a wide selection of over 10,000 private label items and feature the private brands Simple Truth, Private Select, Home Chef, Comforts, and Hemisfares, among others.
Independent Supermarkets drive 33% of grocery sales

Independent grocers now account for 33% of overall U.S. grocery sales, an increase from 25% a decade ago, according to the National Grocers Association (NGA).

Research by the NGA found sales by the independent supermarket sector reached $253 billion in 2020. That is an increase of almost 94% from $131 billion in 2012 when the association last conducted an economic impact study. During the same period total grocery sales in the U.S. climbed to $772 billion, a 47% increase from $524 billion in sales in 2012, according to NielsenIQ.

The independent grocery sector now encompasses 21,574 stores nationwide, according to NGA. 
Store Brand OTC Sales are on the Rise

Data from Catalina shows large year-over-year gains for private label products in some over-the-counter product categories, according to a report published in Store Brands magazine. This included a startling 559% increase in sales of private label children’s cough/cold medicine. 

Catalina shared their findings exclusively with Store Brands magazine and focused on growth for private label OTC sales in categories such as analgesics, lozenges, and other categories. The data came from sales during the four weeks following May 13 vs. last year and the year before.

The largest growth was found in the cough and cold medicines for children (not including cough drops) category, where private label sales grew 559% compared with a year ago, and up 10% compared with 2019. Other data published in Store Brands Catalina showed increased in sales of private label analgesics (for both adults and children), chest rubs, allergy and sinus products, and cough drops and lozenges.
Amazon Reports Private label Success on Prime Day

Amazon has another successful Prime Day, especially with its private label products. Amazon-branded products accounted for 63% of Smart Home Device purchases, 41% of Household Essentials, 39% of Consumer Electronics, 35% of Apparel & Shoes, and 33% of Grocery purchases, according to an analysis by Numerator, who live-tracked Prime Day sales.

The top five items sold during Prime Day were all Amazon brands, according to Numerator’s preliminary results. They included Amazon Photos Project, Amazon Gift Card Reload, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Echo Dot 4th Generation, and Amazon Fire Tablet.
Grocery shopping was also popular as 16% of Prime shoppers reportedly bought groceries during the two-day event.
Albertsons Kicks off DoorDash deliveries

Albertsons Cos. has tapped DoorDash to provide last-mile grocery delivery from almost 2,000 of its stores. Under the partnership, Albertsons will sell more than 40,000 products eligible for delivery through the DoorDash online site as well as its app. Products will include grocery, convenience items, fresh and prepared foods, among others.

In some markets, customers will be able to order groceries for same-day delivery through their local Albertsons Cos. store’s website. Products will be delivered through DoorDash Drive.

Albertsons Cos. operates over 2,200 stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under 20 retail banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, and Kings Food Markets. 
Post Holdings Buys Cereal Business from Treehouse

Post Holdings has agreed to purchase TreeHouse Foods’ cereal business for $85 million. The sale was originally attempted in 2019 but was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission.

At the time, the FTC said the move would give Post more than a 60% share of the market and would create unfair competition. The two food manufacturers cancelled the sale shortly after the FTC action. No hurdles to the sale are expected this time.

TreeHouse Foods originally acquired the ready-to-eat cereal business from Conagra Brands in 2016.
Warehouse Rents Surging in Wake of High Demand

The real estate group CBRE is reporting bidding wars for warehouse rents are increasing as retailers and logistics companies try to find coveted sites for goods, especially for the e-commerce industry.

According to CBRE, rents rose an average of 7.9% in the first half of 2021, which is faster than the 7.1% growth during the same period in 2020.

Demand is especially high in high commerce areas with large populations such as Southern California and Northern New Jersey. Businesses are in competition to deliver online orders faster to the homes of digital shoppers who continue to spend more on online orders for both food and non-food products. 
PLMA Live!
Emerging Product Trends at PLMA Trade Show

PLMA’s Private Label Trade Show is the place to discover the latest innovations in foodservice, beauty, health & wellness, pet care, and more. Carol Angrisani has the full list of categories that will be in the spotlight at the show, November 14-16 in Chicago. Plus, Maureen Donoghue reports on the pampered pet. Graham Leary analyzes the plant-based market. Click here to view video.

PLMA Live! Interview: Plant-Based Products and Predictions from Whole Foods

Alesandra Ponce, Whole Foods Market’s Global Category Merchant, discusses how the retailer differentiates its plant-based assortment from other retailers. Plus, hear what she says about Whole Foods’ plant-based trend predictions and how it caters to flexitarians. All this and more in this month’s PLMA Live! exclusive interview with host Carol Angrisani. Click here for video.

In the stores

Lidl's private brand wines were awarded 47 gold, silver, and bronze medals at the Sommeliers Choice Awards. 

Online pet products retailer Chewy is introducing fresh pet food under its Tylee’s private label brand. The company says special packaging will ensure freshness and quality during delivery.

7-Eleven has introduced a new private label wine called Plot + Point. It will be available in chardonnay and pinot grigio.

Walmart has announced a partnership with Sharon Chuter, founder of UOMA beauty, to sell the exclusive UOMA brand by Sharon C. skin care products in its stores.

Big Lots has debuted a new private brand of clothing called Weekend Soul. The line includes various summer tops and dresses.

Japanese retailer Muji is partnering with Airbnb on a new housewares kit. Called Airbnb Host Essentials, the collection will consist of 23 home essential products.

Stop & Shop is launching a limited-time assortment of food and beverage products under the Sol Tropical name. The products will include coconut cake mix, plantain chips drinks, and mango salsa.

Bed Bath & Beyond continues its private label new products rollout with three new brands; Our Table, Wild Sage and Squared Away.

Hy-Vee is partnering with Google to help enhance its online shopping experience. The new program will make online shopping trips faster and allow the chain to better personalize its service.

Market research
Consumers are Paying More Attention to Ingredients

Nearly two out of three consumers say that ingredients have at least a moderate influence on their food and beverage purchases, according to a study by The International Food Information Council (IFIC).

IFIC found 63% of consumers are paying more attention to food labels than in the past and those consumers are seeking clean or healthy ingredients. Front-of-packaging labeling was found to be especially popular.

The study also reported that three in 10 consumers strongly agree that they are paying more attention to ingredient lists than they did five years ago while 26% strongly agree that they are prioritizing clean label ingredients. 

Almost two-thirds of consumers say they try to choose foods made from clean ingredients. The highest percentages of popularity came from terms like “not artificial or synthetic”, “organic,” "fresh," “something they know is nutritious” and "natural." Almost half of consumers in the survey consider themselves as clean eaters, defining this as “eating foods that aren’t highly processed.”

Artificial ingredients seem to be falling out of favor according to the IFIC report. Roughly half of consumers surveyed say they avoid artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and preservatives at least some of the time. Twenty-five percent of consumers strongly agreed they are avoiding chemical-sounding ingredients in foods and beverages. 

The primary motivation for more than a quarter of respondents was avoiding chemical-sounding ingredients due to health concerns.
Consumers Seek Less Sugar in Food and Beverages

According to a FONA International report, consumers are using numerous ways to avoid sugar. Almost two-thirds are buying water instead of caloric beverages, while another 37% are eliminating certain foods high in sugar from their diets.

Seventy percent of consumers studied chose taste over a product’s sugar content yet 62% of consumers said price was more important to them than sugar content when they were purchasing food or drinks. One-third of those surveyed are not adding table sugar to their food and drinks.

When it comes to cutting sugar from their diet, 58% are shunning carbonated soft drinks while 54% are cutting candy and another 51% are reducing their intake of baked goods with sugar.

Among consumers aged 24 and older almost half are aiming to reduce their overall sugar intake, an increase of 8% from two years ago. Some of the younger consumers, age 18 to 23, do not seem as concerned with their sugar intake. In this age group only 31% are hoping to reduce their sugar intake while 38% of these consumers say they consume an appropriate amount of sugar.

Most of these answers are not new to manufacturers. Recently, many companies have reduced the amount of sugar in their products, or they have introduced sugar alternatives.

In recent years there have been a variety of low and no-sugar foods introduced into the market. According to the FONA study, there has been a 54% increase in products with sugar reduction labeling since 2017. About three-quarters of consumers listed no-sugar-added claims as important when shopping for products.
PLMA News
Peggy Davies Confirmed as PLMA President

Peggy Davies has been appointed to a three-year term as president of the organization. The announcement comes as PLMA prepares for the Private Label Trade Show’s return to Chicago November 14-16.

Davies was first named president on an interim basis in June 2020 after longtime president Brian Sharoff passed away the month before. 

While PLMA had to postpone in-person events last year, Davies helped the association by launching a week-long virtual event Private Label Week this past February. PLMA has unveiled a revamped website and introduced the Lunch & Learn program under her leadership.

“We recognized from day one that Peggy was well prepared to undertake the responsibilities of the position,” said Clay Dockery, board chair and division vice president of corporate brands at Massimo Zanetti Beverage. “It has been thanks to her deep experience and understanding of both the industry and the association that Peggy has proven the wisdom of that decision. She succeeded fully in not only honoring the legacy of her predecessor, but also in bringing new ideation and opportunities as well as to develop, promote and carry the association forward.”

 Davies has been part of the private brand industry for more than 40 years, previously serving as PLMA’s vice president of association relations. She also served for several years on the PLMA board representing Agrilink Foods and McCain Foods USA, including two terms as PLMA’s board chair.

“We are now emerging from a most challenging year, and recent events have only served to highlight the association’s value and importance in service to the private label industry,” Davies said.
Foodservice to be featured in Chicago

PLMA’s annual Private Label Trade Show, which will be held in-person November 14-16 in Chicago, will feature expanded participation by foodservice suppliers across all food, nonfood, and beverage categories.

According to PLMA’s Vice President Anthony Aloia, as the pandemic recedes, all signs are pointing to greater growth and success for private label in foodservice.

“Consumers have become more accustomed to finding freshly made, restaurant-style meals in supermarkets–whether prepared by in-store bakery, deli and meat departments, or brought in from a ghost kitchen or commissary –which are sold at extremely reasonable prices under the retailer’s own brands,” Aloia said.

Natural, organic, and minimally processed foods continue to be popular for foodservice, and more plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan options are taking their place alongside. There is also rising demand restaurant-quality menus featuring international cuisines, as well as regional and ethnic specialties that offer shoppers the restaurant experience in homes.

Foodservice is just one of the many trends and growing categories in the private label and retail industry which will be featured at the PLMA Trade Show this November. Overall, more than 2,000 exhibitors and over 5,000 visitors are expected to attend. For more information about exhibiting or attending, please contact exhibit@plma.com or telephone (212) 972-3131 or visit www.plma.com
PLMA prepares for virtual 2021 Washington Conference

For 30 years, PLMA’s Washington Conference has always shined spotlights on important issues to the private label industry and this year’s event, which will be held live and interactive on Zoom October 6 and 7, promises to do the same.

With a new administration in the White House and Democrats holding majorities in both houses of Congress, this year’s conference in Washington could be one of the most important in recent memory. President Biden has laid out an ambitious agenda for change and new legislation and ideas have been introduced that could deeply impact business for years to come.

For instance, the recent introduction of anti-trust legislation, which is targeting Amazon and how they sell their private label products, is one example of how the Democratic agenda is already attempting to make changes to America’s business landscape. Possible future decisions or regulations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or other government agencies are always a possibility as well.

The program this year will feature speakers on topics such as the relationship of private label and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, which has reached historic numbers for Americans who need assistance. Some of the other issues that will be addressed during the conference include supply chain challenges; President Biden’s new tax plan; trade relations, and more.

As of now, some of those speakers include Stevan Mitchell of the Department of Commerce; Helen Milby, the top Democratic fundraiser for New Democratic House members alliance; and Jon Gold of the National Retail Federation.

This year’s event will be held virtually on October 6-7. For more information about PLMA’s 2021 Washington Conference email conferences@plma.com.
PLMA is Open to New Membership

The Private Label Manufacturers Association is the only trade association devoted exclusively to the private label industry. Founded in 1979, PLMA currently has roughly 4,500 member companies. Membership is open to manufacturers, brokers, trade suppliers and other companies. PLMA members enjoy exclusive access and discounted pricing to PLMA events and services. For more information about membership, contact Barbara Cruz at (212) 972-3131, EXT. 1225 or bcruz@plma.com.

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