Battle of the Brands: The 2019 PLMA Show

Dec 6, 2019Beverages, Categories, Nutrition, Savory, Snacks, Sweet Goods & Dairy

A few weeks ago (seems a lifetime ago now that Black Friday has come and gone, right!?), the PLMA show took place in Chicago. You might ask:

  1. What is PLMA?
  2. Why does it matter to me?

PLMA stands for Private Label Manufacturers of America. And it matters because if you have ever purchased food at a grocery store, you have most likely invested in these brands.

More and more people are choosing private label products more than ever before. Private label analyst, Ali Dabadji, spoke at the show, discussing how much strength private brands and retailers have over CPGs these days and consumers are taking note. Retailers are now innovating in their own right and taking control of the shelf from CPGs.

No More Copycat-ing

Greg McCracken

Greg McCracken, a Givaudan Sales Director who has worked in the private label industry recently told me:  “These brands are showing lots of sophistication; more than I’ve ever seen.”

This is another key change in the industry. Private brands are leading innovation, instead of “copycat”-ing or “me too”-ing. Analysts now use the term ‘billion dollar brands’ when they refer to private label. The term used to be reserved only for brands from CPG powerhouses like Nestle, General Mills, and Procter & Gamble. Whether it’s new flavor or new format, these brands are now leading the charge in to the future.

Some stats to take note of (from Bernstein Alliance survey in 2019):

Back to the Show

Back on the show floor, we noted there was a lot of energy and every major retailer had a big presence (which makes a lot of sense noting the above statistics). Kroger, which is the largest grocer in the US, won an award for it’s jerky with its Private Selection brand. Talk about a flavor bomb!

Black Sesame & Ginger

Where’s the Growth?

But if you happen to be asking where the CPG’s like the aforementioned Nestles and General Mills of the world fall – well, they are trying to find growth online. Another stat:

  • Amazon driving 80% of growth for CPGs online

Stay tuned for more exciting news to come out of the Private Label industry. I am excited for a true ‘Battle of the Brands’. I think in this game, the consumer is the winner.

Until next time…
Yours in all things grocery.

– Mary




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