Industry and Government News
Grand French Fusion in the Making?

Casino and Les Mousquetaires (the Intermarche and Netto banners) are in exclusive talks to deepen and extend their strategic cooperation. The two groups want to extend the duration of their purchasing alliance, called Auxo, by two years to 2028. In addition, new partnerships are to be formed, amongst others, a purchasing alliance for private label food. The agreement equally foresees that points of sale of Casino could be sold to the Mousquetaires over a period of several years.

A few weeks ago, Casino had already agreed with Teract, a garden center, pet and food retailer, to enter exclusive discussions to merge. The latter merge would create two separate entities: one controlled by Casino, bringing together the retail activities in France. And a new one, named Teract Ferme France, which would be in charge of supplying local agricultural products through a short food supply chain.

Casino is troubled by high debts, around 3 billion euros of which will be maturing in 2024 and 2025. Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky has already made known that he wants to sign up for a capital increase

7-Eleven to Expand to Western Europe

Iconic convenience store chain 7-Eleven is preparing to expand into new parts of Europe and seeking franchisees in up to 10 countries. The chain, which operates over 83,000 stores in 19 countries worldwide, is known for its round-the-clock opening hours. It is considered the inventor of the convenience retail sector 96 years ago. The company was founded in Dallas, US, and is now owned by Japanese firm Seven & I Holdings.

The retailer is initially targeting Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Turkey, and the UK. Austria and Switzerland could also be considered, according to reports. The Benelux countries are not included in the plans. In Europe, 7-Eleven already has stores in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The CEO of 7-Eleven international said the company wants to become the one-stop-shop where people can quickly and conveniently get quality food and beverages despite their busy lives. The need for high-quality convenience food is also great in Europe. That’s why the European market is now a leading expansion area for the 7-Eleven brand.

7-Eleven isn’t the only convenience chain with its sights set on European expansion. Circle K’s parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard recently announced the acquisition of over 2,000 sites in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Albert Heijn Testing Higher 'True Price'

Dutch retail leader Albert Heijn is conducting a test with the true price on coffee in three of its To Go stores. Customers can choose whether they pay the regular price or the ‘fair’ price. The surcharge of the ‘fair’ price goes to the Rainforest Alliance.

With the true price, the retailer wants to provide insight into the real social and environmental costs of the product range. The company True Price calculated the amount of the surcharge for Albert Heijn, based on a method developed by Wageningen University. The surcharge, among other things, compensates for environmental damage caused by the production of coffee and dairy products, such as CO2 emissions, the use of water and raw materials. It also guarantees farmers and their employees a living income.

Coffee at true price at Albert Heijn can be up to 36 cents more expensive, this is the case for Latte. The surcharge is lowest for (black coffee) espresso, at 8 cents. After two test months, the company will evaluate and decide whether the project will be continued and rolled out across more stores.

The retailer is also targeting the highly regarded B Corp certification, which it wants to achieve this year. It would be a first for a Dutch grocery retailer.
Food Retailers Experience Big Decrease in Margins

A new report by McKinsey and Eurocommerce shows that because of cost inflation, lower volumes, and more price–sensitive customers, Europe’s food retailers saw the biggest drop in margins in five years.

Between 2019 and 2022, the average margin of European grocers decreased by three percentage points. The EBITDA margin decreased by one percentage point, while the EBIT margin stagnated. Adjusted for inflation, turnover dropped 7.1%, driven by intensified downtrading, consumers opted for cheaper products.

The analysts expect that consumer behaviour in 2023 will continue reflecting a cautious approach due to the knock-on effects of recent economic uncertainty. Retail volumes are likely to stay flat for the rest of 2023 due to the difficult economic climate. More than 53% of consumers plan to save more money on food.

Across Europe, consumer downtrading has led to substantial growth for private label. Compared with 2021, the value share of private label increased by 1.9 percentage points. However, only 0.8 percentage points of this increase can be explained by same store downtrading. The remaining part is caused by faster–than–average price increases for private label goods (0.8 percentage points) and above average growth of the discount channel, which has a higher private label share (0.3 percentage points). Pure online players grew faster than inflation in 2022 and some reached profitability.

Regarding channels, discounters gained 1.4 percent in market share in Europe relative to 2021. This was largely driven by a combination of aggressive footprint growth in recent years, recovery from the pandemic–related sales dip, price inflation faster than market average and an increase in price sensitivity in the market. Discounters grew at the expense of all other channels: traditional trade declined by 0.8 percentage points, hypermarkets by 0.2, online by 0.3, and supermarkets
by 0.1.

This is the third time McKinsey and EuroCommerce have launched a joint State of Grocery Retail report, which includes a survey of more than 12,000 consumers and almost 50 grocery executives and thought leaders.

Online Supermarket Picnic Launches 2000-SKU Private Label Range

Pure online grocer Picnic has officially launched its private label range, now comprising about 2000 SKUs. The first products entered the app-only supermarket three years ago and the range has steadily expanded and will continue to do so.

The design was to be bold, fun, not cheap looking, radiate quality, and be “instagrammable”. Since the products do not appear on the shelves, they were ‘designed for the home’. Picnic uses constant customer feedback to tweak products, recipes and packaging.

The retailer aims to double the number of private label products in the future. Drugstore, frozen, fresh and vegan products will be among the next categories. Picnic operates in the Netherlands, Germany and France and uses electric delivery vans, adapted to the requirements of inner-city traffic. 

PLMA Live!
Top Health & Beauty Trends at PLMA's Trade Show

Health and beauty - the supermarket’s largest non-food department – is one of the featured categories at PLMA’s “World of Private Label Trade Show,” 23-24 May. Judith Kolenburg shares the latest private label sales data, as well as trends and new products. Also, Hans Kraak provides an update on the plant-based protein market and tackles nutritional quality concerns regarding the segment.

In the stores

Lithuanian supermarket chain IKI has opened its second contactless convenience store in the capital Vilnius and plans to open a total of four contactless outlets by the end of the year.

Aldi is changing its strategy in the cosmetic products range. The discounter no longer relies on A brands but is strengthening its own brand Lacura and wants to align it globally.

Tesco has begun recycling used plastic food trays back into packaging in what it calls an “industry first”. The process creates a fully circular packaging solution for its range of core chilled ready meals. The change will see customer-recovered PET trays – collected via European kerbside waste – recycled and converted back into food-grade plastic trays.

Monoprix is launching eight fruit juice items in biosourced, aluminum-free packaging made of 90% plant-based materials. The cardboard from wood and plastic of plant origin from sugar cane are combined. This approach is quite new, especially for a private label.

Iceland has introduced a Local convenience format in the UK. It will stock goods from Iceland’s own label range, as well as its exclusive own-brand partnerships. The store is owned and managed by forecourt operator SGN Retail.

Portuguese retailer Continente has reformulated more than 538 private label products in the past three years, removing approximately 860 tons of sugar and 120 tons of salt. It has also removed palm oil from around 92 SKUs.

Spar in the Netherlands debuted new clothing for its supermarket employees. The aprons, shirts, blouses and jackets are made from organic cotton and recycled PET bottles.

Boots has launched what it describes as its No7 beauty own brand’s biggest ever cosmetic science innovation. The products contain a “world-first super-peptide blend” that Boots said is proven to harness the skin’s natural repair process and the renewal of over 50 key proteins in skin cells.

H&M Beauty launches OHH! (Oh Hey Hero), a collection of 10 everyday vegan essentials from a frictionless razor through to a body moisturizer for just about every body.

Sainsbury’s removed single-use plastic trays from its own-label By Sainsbury’s whole chicken range. The retailer said the new trayless packaging would use a minimum of 50% less plastic and will save 140 tons of plastic per year.

LIDL Portugal announced it is reinforcing its commitment to sustainability by digitizing its price labels. The switch will allow for significant paper savings and is to be completed in all stores by the end of 2024.

Holland & Barrett launched a range of at-home blood tests that promise customers results within 48 hours. The own label offer of 11 SKUs, marketed as Ivie, includes a General Health Blood Test, as well as a vitamin, iron, cholesterol, testosterone and diabetes blood test.


Market research
The NielsenIQ-GfK Merger is Postponed

NielsenIQ has notified the European Commission it would withdraw the current acquisition filing for German market research firm GfK, adding a new tie-up plan would be submitted "as soon as possible".

Supposedly, the tie-up was likely to face a full-scale EU antitrust investigation, with regulators demanding asset sales in return for clearing the deal. Because of the compressed time period to test any proposed remedies, the parties, in consultation with the Commission, determined that the best course of action is to refile for approval in the coming weeks.

NielsenIQ has operations in more than 90 markets, covering more than 90% of the world's population while GfK leads in market research on technology and durables in 67 countries.

Quick Deliverer Getir Publishes National Trends

Getir in Italy has taken stock of its 18 months presence in Italy. The best-selling categories are soft drinks and the fruit & veg segment, the top ten include bananas, courgettes, water, cherry tomatoes, kiwis, avocados and milk.

Getir's analyses shows that the evenings and weekends are the favorite times for consumers to place online orders. 46.5% of customers of the quick commerce app order groceries from Friday to Sunday. Timewise, there is a boom in deliveries scheduled between 5 and 9 pm, the slot chosen by half of consumers.

One-Fifth Growth in Plant-Based Food Recorded in Europe

Sales of plant-based foods in 13 European countries hit a record high of €5.7 billion last year, with a growth rate of 22 percent since 2020, according to a report by the Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe).

The GFI Europe report analyzed NielsenIQ data and found that plant-based meat sales grew to €2 billion in 2022, accounting for six percent of the pre-packaged meat market, while plant-based seafood and cheese categories saw double-digit growth.

The most developed category of plant-based foods was plant-based milk, which now accounts for 11 percent of the overall milk market. Although plant-based seafood was the fastest-growing category with unit sales expanding by over 300 percent between 2020 and 2022, it remains the least developed, with sales of just €43 million in 2022. The report also found that sales of plant-based yogurt grew by 16 percent between 2020 and 2022, while conventional yogurt sales decreased by four percent.

The analysis looked at sales data across Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.

'World of Private Label' Show Only Weeks Away

On May 23-24, the global private brand industry will once again meet at PLMA’s “World of Private Label” International Trade Show at the RAI Exhibition Centre, in Amsterdam.

For more than 35 years, PLMA’s annual “World of Private Label” International Trade Show has brought retailers and manufacturers together to help them find new products, make new contacts, and discover new ideas that will help their private label programs succeed and grow.

In the past year, private label has increased its position throughout nearly all national markets. The future looks to be bright for store brands as retailers expand internationally and take a larger role in marketing themselves and the products that they sell.

Some 25,000 professionals from more than 120 countries are expected to participate. Exhibitors will be joined by retailers, wholesalers, importers, and others, to examine products, strengthen partnerships, identify innovation in business practices and plan for profitable store brand growth.

Products on display will include fresh, frozen, and refrigerated foods, dry grocery, and beverages as well as non-food categories, including cosmetics, health and beauty, household and kitchen, auto aftercare, garden, and housewares & DIY. The show will also present more than 2,500 exhibiting companies including 50 national and regional pavilions.

For more information, click here.

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 over 4,000 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, please visit  or contact Barbara Cruz at (212) 972-3131, EXT. 1225 or